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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Wheat Harvest is Finished!

Wheat harvest lasted 19 days start to finish here on our farm this year. I stated the other day that it is stressful, exhausting and rewarding all at the same time. The person I was speaking with didn’t quite understand. The lack of understanding made me take a step back and think for a little bit. The Farmer and I both grew up on farms, so did our parents, and our grandparents. Since I started this blog, we have noticed that there are a lot of things that we know that we take for granted and we think everyone else should know (it is like we were born knowing these thing-I don’t remember anyone telling me). My boys even know most of this-either from the constant questions we get at this age or from just being with us during harvest. Here are some thoughts I have looking back on wheat harvest and why it is stressful, exhausting and rewarding.

 1. We planted the wheat last fall. We had a lot of time and money invested in the crop by the time we get to harvest. Wheat harvest is one of our paydays. We don’t get a paycheck every month. We have to wait until the crops are ready to harvest or the cattle are ready to sale, which is often months apart.

 2. While rain is welcome this time of year, it also makes everyone very nervous. A hail storm can destroy an entire wheat field in minutes knocking the kernels and straw to the ground where it can’t be harvested.

3. Each time is rains, the test weight (and quality) of the grain goes down. This is the weight of each kernel meaning we sell less pounds of total grain to the processor.

4. We start cutting wheat as soon as the dew dries off the fields. The first week of harvest we were cutting by 9:00 am and stopping around 10:00 pm. That makes for some very tired (and sometimes grumpy) farmers . There were other chores that needed to be done as well as harvest. And soybean planting and childcare scheduling, etc.

5. 19 days of harvest meant 19 lunches and snacks packed in a cooler and taken to the field. I can wait a few days before I eat another ham sandwich.

6. My boys have been so happy to spend some time with mom since harvest is over. They are starting to think about working on 4-H projects and have a list of craft supplies form Hobby Lobby. 

7. This harvest was one of the best our area has seen in years. We have endured a 500 year flood, late freezes (that tried to kill the wheat) and droughts over the last 5 years and this good crop is making everyone feel a bit better about what we do for a living and a bit more optimistic.

8. 19 days of harvest means there is 19 days of mail and office work that did not get done by me. The babysitters will still be coming so I can get caught back up in the office. Hooray for 4-H girls that like to help my boys do chores, help them get ready for the fair and play with them!

9. I am excited that I will get to have a normal conversation with The Farmer. This time of year makes it hard to just chit chat. We both had a lot to focus on and we only talked when something needed to be discussed.

 10. The Farmer finished planting soybeans at 2:00 am just before a much needed inch of rain fell. In this part of the state, we plant soybeans in the wheat stubble after the wheat is cut. The soybean seeds were all put into good moisture to sprout thanks to the layer of straw that was left on the ground by the combine for mulch.

 I hope this helps you understand why I seem so stressed out during wheat harvest and why I don’t like to talk on the phone with my friends. I think I will be taking a nap after lunch for the next week just to let by body and mind rest. I wonder if the boys will allow that. LOL The boys and I have been checking cows and have noticed that we have another pasture with pinkeye problems, so it looks like we will be getting up super early next week to treat the calves eyes.

Follow me on Facebook at One of these days I will figure out how to put a link on the side bar to my page. I will try to put up daily updates on the farm activities.

 Have a great weekend everyone- A Kansas Farm Mom