Farm life. It is home to me. You don’t have to hang around here long to know that I love farmers. Farm families. I grew up on a farm and never thought I would leave our little county. Ever. It was a tough adjustment when I did. I was taught in college that where I lived wasn’t considered rural anymore even though it always felt that way for me. It still does. I’ve realized that rural America may be the least appreciated thing by people who travel. They see the big stuff, the cities, the national parks, and if they really want to get dirty they go to a farmers’ market. Y’all. [I’m hollerin’ at you] I want to see people go to rural America where the tea is sweet, the corn is fresh, and the people become friends instantly. I could go on for days, but today is about wheat harvest and how I stalked it until I found it in rural Nebraska.The day started out like any day after a blow out would. We needed tires. I called a couple local shops and found one that seemed like a good fit. It was such a “good fit” that communication over the phone wasn’t working out so well so we decided to load up and head to town to visit and make plans. This type of “inconvenience” would have detoured others away. They would call the next commercial tire shop, buy over priced foreign tires and be left with shitty customer service. Our willingness to overlook miscommunication over the phone with an old man turned into us having the best day ever. Choices. We went to the shop, set up an appointment for the next day and got general directions to wheat harvest. He basically told me to drive north of Sidney and look for dust. The shop was swamped with fixing tractor tires for harvest which is the only reason I found out about it. We headed out and somehow without much effort came face to face with a convoy of combines. Austin put it in reverse and then we drove in front of them trying to guess at every turn which way they might go. We did pretty good. Eventually we made the wrong choice and the convoy turned away from us. That only meant one thing. I wasn’t going to have combines that close and not be able to get my grubby little hands on them to take a picture or 10. We turned around and proceeded to stalk the combines. They eventually pulled into a field and I had Austin park along side the road. I quickly got out so I could introduce myself, as the paparazzi of course. After a quick introduction and me begging on my knees (totally kidding) I was allowed to photograph their operation. I was ecstatic.
They got set up and I started snapping pictures. Then the inevitable happened. Something broke. I wasn’t phased. Farm life results in these circumstances often. After some clearing out of green wheat that wouldn’t allow the rotor to spin they were back in business. Then the weather. Weather and farming go together like… sometimes they go together like peanut butter and jelly and other days they go together like [insert gross food combination here]. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate. That is life. That is farming. So the crew was on the move. They decided to head to a different pasture that wasn’t directly in line with the storm (at least I think that is why they moved). They invited us along and invited us to ride in a combine. I. was. freaking. out. Huge combines have always been fascinating to me and I never would have thought this was the day I would get to ride in one. Yipee. We fell in line with the rest of the convoy and headed west.
When we got to the other field we were met by the farmer in his little pickup truck. He mentioned there was a two hump camel that might get a little curious and that he “better go get my wife before all her wheat is cut.” Farm life. Rural American. Love. I climbed up into the combine and suddenly I was sitting on top of the world looking down at beautiful golden wheat and could see nothing but dust, grain elevators, and storm clouds. It was magical. We were about 3/4 of the way into our first pass when a loud very pissed off beeping sound came from the computer. What happened? I’m still not sure. After trying a couple tricks my new friend realized he was in fact out of commission. Before I knew it the combine needed work done, it was after 8p.m. and it was time for us to go. So with a full heart and itchy eyes I thanked the crew as they gathered around the pickup bed for dinner in the field and went on my way. We headed for town as an orange sunset filled the landscape to the west. It was beautiful. Then a train passed by. Magical. Then we ended up finding a steakhouse still open for dinner. My favorite. Here’s to blow outs, old school tire shops, rural America, wheat harvest, good people, mother nature, and steak. Without them I wouldn’t have had the same great July 11th in 2016. God is good. #thankafarmer