Some of you may recall our post titled "The Farmer's Code" we published back in April of 2020. Well, three years later, I still have not been allowed into this secret society, but I am learning more and more about it by observing these famers in their natural habitat. I still catch Farmer, Chris and Dylan having secret meetings without me. I will walk into the shop to find them huddled together talking, as soon as I walk into the room, they will scatter like mice in different directions like nothing was going on. But I know. I know they are having a secret meeting talking about things like; What are we going to tell other farmers we are yielding this harvest? Or are we going to use a one finger or two finger wave this week when passing other vehicles. (If you unfamiliar with these waves, go back and click the link above for the original post to get up to speed.) Or are they going to use the ever controversial four finger wave? This is probably the toughest of waves and should only attempted by the most skilled drivers. While the one or two finger wave allows the driver to still hold the wheel with most of their fingers, the 4-finger wave requires the driver to simultaneously lift 4 fingers at once leaving only your thumb and palm of your hand to hold the steering wheel. Or perhaps, they are talking about what a great job I am doing and do not want me to be get a big head, so they stop talking when I enter the room. Yeah, that is probably it!
Other times I think they are strategizing on how to yank my chain. Like this.....I got a text saying "Can you grease the sprayer and change the sensor?", along with this picture.
A couple other things I've learned over the years is not to ask how many acres someone is farming. It's kinda like asking someone how much money they have in the bank. You need to find that information in a roundabout way.
There is a brotherhood about farmers, meaning they will pretty much drop everything they are doing to help out another farmer in need. At the end of a planting or harvesting season, Farmer, Dylan and Chris will more often than not help out other farmers who need it. That said, they are also competitors so although they share some things, they do not necessarily share everything. Like if someone is thinking of selling a section of land that they are interested in, they will not mention that Mildred is thinking of selling. That, they will keep to themselves. Talk at church or other get togethers will be more about wife, kids and family rather than how much they are yielding out of a particular field.
It is a good life indeed. Although it is hard work, it is very rewarding. So far, my body is holding up. Stiff and sore in the morning but doing well. We have been doing mostly wheat so far. Probably the most beautiful of crops but also my nemesis in my lungs and eyes. More than one morning I have had to peel my eyes open as my body tries to fight whatever the wheat does to me.
I arrived Monday afternoon and was in a semi hauling grain within an hour. A typical day starts at 7am and so far, have not had a night that ended before 9pm. Everyone has a role and when everything goes as it should, the operation runs very smoothly. So far, my job has been to cart and drive semi. Farmer and Chris operate the combines. Bob S. (Chris's dad) was here for the first few days, he drove the cart, while Dylan and I drove semi.
They did get a new semi tractor and trailer since I was last here. That is "Pete" in front. He has a tag axle on the tractor and triple axles and a tag on the trailer and can fit 10,000 more pounds of grain than "Wally" who is behind him. "Pete" is short for Peterbuilt, while "Wally" is short for Walmart which is where he spent most of his early days. Although I have driven Pete, I mainly drive Wally, as Pete is too new for me to touch yet.
An hour or so later, Dylan returned looking like an Oompa Loompa, all swelled up and red. We figured he probably should not be driving semi so we switched spots, and he jumped in the cart.
They are probably a little under 50% done and weather cooperating, everything should be in in a couple more weeks. They are very fortunate being a 3–5-man operation, allowing them to get things done relatively quickly. There are farmers out there doing all this with a one-man crew!
Although I have not gotten stuck or broken anything (yet), I did have one minor incident when I forgot to turn off the unloading auger after dumping the cart into the semi. I pulled up to Farmer and he started dumping into the cart which immediately unloaded through the shoot onto the ground. I caught it fairly quickly, not before ~600lbs of wheat was on the ground. Farmer said he was yelling at me but somehow I did not hear him from 20' away through two loud running pieces of machinery. We may as well have been miles apart. I told him next time he has to yell louder. I did not take any pictures so as the old saying goes, "If there are no pictures, it did not happen" applies here. It was our last dump of a long day. We had to go back to the farm and get a conveyor, but we had it cleaned up in no time.
I stand corrected, Farmer just texted me this picture.....
|It's blurry because we are working so fast!
So, we are working away here, she is out there having fun. Good for her!
I will continue my research on the inner life of the farmer. I hope you realize that I am putting my own safety in jeopardy even talking about the farmer's code. If they suspect anything I could be in serious trouble. You will know I crossed the line if I stop blogging and you happen to see a white dodge pickup with a camper on it in a line on an overgrown tree row next to a bunch of other vehicles and equipment of varying years and varying states of decomposition. I used to think these were old vehicles that just broke down and drug out to the far end of a field. I am now thinking those are the vehicles of those who talked too much. Never to be heard from again! Of course, they will wait until the end of harvest and my work is all done before they make that happen! For now, I gotta go. I just got a text asking me to put the winter air into the combine tires!