Well,….Barb left me. Gone, just a cloud of dust down the gravel road.... Most of you are thinking; “It’s about time!”. It’s not like she has not done it before, but this time she took the truck, the rig and Daisy. She just left me with the Jeep, a pile of clothes and hopefully enough food to get me through a few weeks. She is on her very first solo trip to Rapid City where she is going to meet up with our daughter Jessica and two of our grandkids Dylan and Kendall. Jessica is flying into Rapid City then the four of them are going to spend a week in the Black Hills and traveling back to Salt Lake where I will HOPEFULLY meet up with her in a few weeks. I have heard from her a few times, it sounds like they are having fun and she has gotten good at setting up the rig all by herself. I told her to take lots of pictures so she can blog about her adventure.Meanwhile back at the ranch…… I have moved into a 5th wheel they have in their shed. By shed I mean airplane hangar, this thing is huge! You could probably fit a dozen of our rigs in here and both end walls lift up just like airplane hangars.
|My new home for the next couple of weeks
There are dozens of things to do around here at a given time. I have a lot of respect for these guys and what they do day in and day out, literally working from sunrise to sunset no days off. You can tell they have passion and love this lifestyle. I have been helping where I can. The other day we had 60+mph winds that knocked a bunch of trees into their fields so I spent a day on the tractor pushing them back into the woods.
On another day, I had a “harrowing” experience. Harrowing is a method of tilling up a harvested field. In this case I was harrowing and dumping flax stubble. When the flax is harvested, the combine separates the seed from the rest of the plant (stubble) and drops it back on the ground. Flax stubble is not used for anything else so once it is raked into rows it is burned so the field is ready for the next planting in the spring.
The harrow itself is 70’ wide and one thing I learned pretty quickly is that you have to watch the outside tires when you are turning corners. Many of the fields are bordered with trees and Bob’s parting words after he showed me what to do were; “Don’t hit a tree”…….Well you can probably guess what happened. About half way through my 3rd field, I was turning around….. I thought I had enough room, really I did….next thing I knew the outside wheel was sideways instead of facing forward! If you happened to hear a lot of screaming swear words in the wind last week, well that was me. I did not take any pictures as at the time it was not funny but after a few hours we had removed the wheel, welded the mount back to the harrow and I was back in business. Both Bob and Chris said that #hit happens and not to sweat it…..ya right.
We proved that analogy true again a few days later when we burned the stubble rows. We picked a nice quite day with no wind and everything was going great. There were about 24 rows approximately 1/4 mile each, we would light the rows in several places and they burned hot for 15-20 minutes then they settled down and you just had to watch the edges and put anything out that crept near the ditches or swamps. We had one area spread and was heading towards a ditch which took about 20 minutes to control when we were done with that we saw another area on the other end of the field had made its way into a cattail swamp. We rushed over there with the water truck but quickly ran out of water and the swamp was still a blazing! Luckily one side of the fire was heading to an area with water so we concentrated on the other end so it would not spread the other way. After about 45 minutes we had it under control but were covered with soot. No pictures of the actual fire as we were a little busy.
|This is what happens when the fire gets away from you.....
|Farm country moose!
|Another nice buck caught on camera
Life without Barb has been pretty lonely. There is no TV in the trailer so I have been reading a lot. A good friend of mine gave me a series of books by William Kent Krueger. He writes predominantly about crime mystery based in northern Minnesota and is very good. The problem is I only grabbed 4 books thinking I would read one a week but I am burning through one every other day. I did notice a 2016 Legacy Seed guide in the office, I might read that next!
With luck Barb will still be in Salt Lake when I get there. But if you happen to see a white GMC pulling a Cardinal 5th wheel with a beautiful woman driving and a funny looking puggle next to her anywhere south of Salt Lake please shoot me an email…..she is probably trying to ditch me!