Thursday, May 31, 2012

Amber Waves of Grain

Tornadoes, sunflowers, the Wizard of Oz, and wheat…all things the great state of Kansas is known for. This time of year we find ourselves dealing with two of the four things listed above; tornadoes and wheat. Thankfully, I have only had to go to the basement because of weather once this season and nothing touched down near us, but I’m not here to write about tornadoes or any bad weather. Wheat harvest is my subject of choice today.

Harvest is just getting ready to kick into high gear around Bucklin, but some farmers have been cutting here and there for about a week or so. My family is one of them. I mentioned in Sweet Summertime how much I love summer, but I failed to give you one of the biggest reasons why I love this season, which is harvest. It is one of my most favorite times of the year and it has been since I was little.

When I tell people this, I often get weird looks because they either don’t know what I’m talking about or because they think I’m crazy – for those involved in harvest, it’s a lot of work.

My love for this wheat harvest started when I was a little girl when my brothers, cousins, and myself would spend as much time as possible in the field. I would ride the combine with my Dad or Uncle Rick, watching the wheat passing into the header, being fascinated by how it all worked. Another favorite pastimes was to play in the back of the wheat truck; we would bury each others’ arms and legs and chew handfuls of wheat until they turned into gum. And lastly, we kids would love to ride into town with whomever was driving truck to get a pop or lemonade from the girls at the COOP.

Eating supper in the field with my Dad and brothers as a little girl
 As I grew a bit older, I would help Mom cook and deliver meals – I was always excited to get to climb the ladder of the combine and delivery the sandwiches to the guys; it made me feel important. When I got into high school, I enjoyed harvest for other reasons. Yes, I still helped deliver meals and move vehicles from field to field, but like every other boy-crazy teenage girl, harvest meant the custom cutters came to town. Truthfully, we didn’t socialize with them very much, but it provided us some different eye-candy and someone new to bat our eyelashes at.

No matter how old I get, I will always love wheat harvest for two reasons. The first reason being it is a true representation of the “American Dream.” For many farmers, their livelihood depends on this wheat crop. Seeing all of the combines in the fields, making decent yields, justifies all of the hard work and money put into raising such a crop. It truly is an incredible sight to see.

The second reason I love harvest so much is because it is a family affair. I understand that this may not be the case for every operation, but it is ours. Growing up, my Dad and Uncle Rick drove the combines, my mother drove truck, and she and my Aunt Sue fixed meals. As soon as my brothers got old enough, they worked themselves into the operation; and today, our family has grown and although some of the roles have changed, the dynamics have not.

Megan, Eli, Heather, and Jake 
It brings me nothing but joy to see how Karlee gets when she talks about harvest and how excited she is to ride the combine with her Dad and play in the back of the wheat truck. I have no doubt that as Jake and Eli get older, they too will enjoy this time of year as much as their fathers do and personally, I can’t wait to see it! 
Karlee & Jake playing in the wheat

3 Generations of Evans harvesters: Jason, Jake, Dad, Scott, and Eli

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