Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Harvest Crew

A friend commented on the fact that we go home to help with harvest. A lot of families don't do that.... heck, some even hire help. Well.... it isn't like I learned this whole "cheapskate" thing on my own, is it?

And it takes a lot of pressure off when you realize they are getting exactly what they pay for....

So here's the crew, part-timers listed first:

My Brother & Sis-in-Law. SIL drove combine which just reinforces my belief they are the favorites..... because nothing says "I Love You" like air-conditioning. Also, ps, her cookies rocked.... I take back all that brown-noser comment I said. Brother spent most of his time in the shop fixing things, running the plasma cutter, and bathing in diesel. "I need 2 inches added to my ding-a-ling" was a request honored.

My Sister. Truck Driver. It's a dirty job but someone has to do it.

My Cousins. My cousin drove some truck, her husband drove a combine. Their kids ate their own weight in wheat and supervised. They were also responsible for most of the grocery shopping because they had to go back-and-forth a couple of times a week to check their horses at home.

My Uncle. Combine Driver. Often seen leaving the harvest field as clean as he arrived.... unless something breaks.

My Aunt. Grain Cart Operator. She drives the Cat tractor and runs the grain cart. This also makes her the field boss. It also means she's in charge of tracking the grain yield.... I think she will be asking for a laptop in the tractor next year... and not just for playing solitaire.

My Mom. Truck Driver. She likes the orange truck because it is easier to shift. Also, she bought a new hat and a new lunch cooler for next summer.

My Dad. Gofer. His job is to fix things as they break. He's the busiest guy in the field. He is also in charge of moving the auger from bin to bin because, trust me, you DO NOT want to see what happens when I try to move it.

My Grandpa. Grandpa races around a lot and complains because we all move to slow. Mostly we only move enough to get out of his way. He's a 1922 model and we are trying to get him to slow down but, well, he's stubborn.

My Grandma. You know Grandma is the one who taught me how to drive my first year in the field..... in Old Yeller. Grandma just watches over us now but, seriously, I think she protects us all from Grandpa.... it's the only explanation. I miss her often but I miss her most at harvest. I miss swinging by her house between trips to the field for push-ups (raspberry please), frozen lemonade and trashy paperbacks. I miss helping her take lunch to the field.... packed in boxes wrapped with those ugly orange & green terry tableclothes that came out every summer. I miss watering her driveway to try to cut down the dust and I miss hearing her on the radio, "99 Base, this is Mother Hen.... you guys ready to eat??"

So there you have it.... Crew 2008.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We call her Tinklebell

Let's pause in the picture frenzy for a very funny story about my mom.

First, this is my mom:

Here's the background to the story that you need to know to see it as funny: See behind mom in the picture? That's the hopper on the truck and it is dumping into the hopper on the auger. The blue thing is the auger. It runs on hydraulics from the tractor to make the wheat go up into the bin. Get it? Ok, so the auger has a hopper-walker. The hopper-walker is this nifty electronic deal that walks the hopper out. So it works like this:

You pull up next to the auger with your big, big truck and jump out and use the hopper-walker to walk the hopper under your truck's dumpy thingy (technical term, stay with me) and start the auger, well, augging (more on that danger later). Then you "let 'er rip, tater chip." (So, that means you open up the truck hopper and wheat dumps into the auger hopper and gets auggered up into the bin.) Got it?

It's all pretty sweet and will be sweeter when I figure out how to download a cool song to program into the hopper-walker... right now it just goes "beep, beep" while it walks out.

Ok, more background. This story isn't very funny so far, is it? The hopper-walker is operated by a toggle switch (I would say the toggle switch is operated by a dipstick but that would be rude and insulting) and runs off the battery of the tractor (for those of you with a tech or farming background... this means it can operate when the tractor is not running).

So you can use this switch or the keychain remote. Yes. A remote. The idea is you can get in the truck, start it, move it so the box isn't in the way of the hopper's path and move it with the remote so you don't have to get out of the truck again. Sweet, huh?

So mom has a remote. In her pocket. And she has to pee. What? How can I be delicate about that? It happens. It's all the gatorade. Remember, first, that the bins are in the middle of town. Ok, now remember town looks like this:

And that is why you can squat-n-pee in the middle of town. Which is what mom did, one fine summer day. With the remote in her pocket. Do you see where this is going? SHE. ACTIVATED. THE. REMOTE. And walked the auger out from under the truck while it was dumping.

How funny is that?

And, more importantly, how big a pile of wheat can you dump on the ground in the time it takes to tinkle and pull up your Wranglers?

About 10 feet in diameter apparently.

Truck Driver. This is Your Job.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

That's a big friggin steering unit

Sis again

She said to just label this one, "Harvest 2008"

G-Grandpa's Truck

Great-Grandpa's Truck, the Jimmy, has over a million miles on it. Great-Grandpa (my grandpa) has about a million on him as well. He's a 1922 model.

Slug, the orange fuel pickup, has no brakes.... ask me how I know this.....

Check out the skyline.... that is Flat.

Plain Old.... Not Bad.

So pretty. One of my favorite things. I wish I could make this post scratch-n-sniff... well.... so you could smell the ripe wheat.... not so you could smell the dust, diesel and sweat.


My sister.

Nice boots.
Nice glasses.
Nice.... surgical mask??

In Training

I guess I better point out the tiny little farmer-man sticking up there next to the stack.... That's my boy.... he's checkin' the wheat for Grandma....

Monday, August 04, 2008

Before the Wind and Grasshoppers

Please note

1. The tree in the background.... it's a juniper. We are thinking of cutting it down.
2. The diaper on the porch. We are classy like that.
3. Tuff's face after she smelled the wine. She then plugged her nose and said, "tinky, mama, tinky."

Friday, August 01, 2008