Harvest Time

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Harvest is the busiest time of year for farmers. Long hours are spent each day trying to get the crop into the warehouse before the weather turns bad. Sometimes Robert will work 16 hours, starting early in the morning to get everything ready until he decides to turn the combine off at night.

It takes quite a few people and different machines to make harvest go smoothly. There are combines, trucks, tractors, and grain wagons that need to be driven and serviced every day. Sometimes the equipment breaks down and needs to be fixed before harvest can proceed. Continue...

Dean, Logan, Andy and Robert take a break for a picture – the combine is on the right, a tractor with a grain wagon is on the left, a tractor with a disc is behind everyone – can you see any other types of equipment?
Golden grain goes from the combine into the grain wagon that Rhonda is driving.
Andy is standing on dried peas that will eventually find their way to Japan, China, or another Asian country.
Andy helped Robert open a field – opening a field means the combine makes the first cut into a field that has not been harvested – this field was opened along the edge of the Clearwater River.
Andy is looking at the Clearwater River from one of the Blair’s fields –Merriwether Lewis and William Clark traveled down the Clearwater River to the ocean with the Corp of Discovery in 1805 – Lewis and Clark came back up the river in 1806 from the pacific ocean on their way back to report to president Thomas Jefferson.
Breakdowns occur not only on the combine but on the grain wagon as well – a hydraulic hose broke so that the auger that is sticking up couldn’t move.
Maintenance of the equipment happens every day – all fluids are checked and parts are greased – dean is blowing out the radiator so the engine will remain cooler.
Overlooking the Clearwater River and cutting wheat – can you find the bridge?
Dillon is moving a branch that fell in the wheat – the branch had to be moved so that it wouldn’t damage the combine.
Dillon bringing the grain wagon to the combine after filling up the truck – the grain wagon holds about 800 bushels of wheat which would make about 50,000 loaves of bread – a bushel of wheat weighs 60 pounds and makes over 60 loaves.
The combine dumping wheat into a grain wagon.
After the combine fills the grain wagon the grain wagon will fill the truck so that the crop can be taken to the elevator and shipped all over the world.
Sometimes both the combine and grain wagon will unload crops into the truck – everyone needs to keep on their toes when this is going on.
Harvest is almost half way done – when the grain is cut we will start on peas and garbanzo beans.
This is a picture taken by an unmanned air system (UAS) and shows where the crop has been harvested and what is left – it also shows two structures called gully plugs that help control erosion – the Blair’s do many different things to stop erosion.
The Blair’s use a combine that has a leveler to help with the steep hills – a leveler leans the combine left or right depending upon the hillside it is cutting – this time the leveler unit was malfunctioning and leaned the combine all the way over to the left – this would have been dangerous if the combine had been full of wheat and was on a steep hillside, it could have tipped over.
As you can see peas are dirty to cut – the header rests on the ground and dirt comes into the combine – sometimes the dust makes it very hard to see.
When the truck goes to the elevator a gate is opened so the crop can come out and go into a pit – this picture shows the dirty peas being dumped.
Cody Cooper runs this elevator and is checking on the peas in the truck – since this is the last truck of the year, it will be cleaned out so it can be used for other things.
Dillon and Logan are standing on the pit that the peas will fall into – the truck bed needs to be lifted higher so the peas will fall into the pit – after the truck is dumped it will be the trailer’s turn to dump peas into the pit.
With the day almost done, Rhonda takes some time to watch the neighbors cutting wheat – Ed Lynch opened his field from the middle and will cut to the outside edges of the field.
Red versus green – the Blair’s use a red International combine and their neighbor ed lynch uses a green John Deere combine – now the race is on to see who can finish first.

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Everyone in the Blair family has a job: Robert drives the combine, Rhonda and Dillon drive the tractors with grain wagons behind them, Logan does chores around the farm, and their hired man Dean drives the truck to the grain elevator in town.

There is a lot of work that has to be done before harvest. The crops have to be fertilized and planted, machinery needs to be looked over in case something is wrong, and weeds and insects need to be taken care of so they do not hurt the crop.

Harvest is also a very scary time. Harvest takes place on the Blair farm usually at the end of July through the middle of September. During that time of year there is usually no rain and most of the plants have dried up. Since the plants are dry, they make good fuel for a fire. There is not much for fire protection, so tillage equipment, fire and water extinguishers, and water carrying vehicles are close by in case a fire does break out. Everything is also ready to help neighbors in case of fire.

Harvest is also a fun time and a time to reflect. Sitting on a combine and thinking about all of the hard work that was done just to raise a crop is very rewarding. Sometimes the weather is to hot or cold, or to wet or dry, and can hurt the yield of crops. Since farming is a family business, it is usually the only paycheck a farmer receives all year.

The Blair’s raise different crops and they are: Winter Wheat, Spring Wheat, Malt Barley, Peas, Lentils, Garbanzo Beans, and Alfalfa Seed. Just like people, each crop is different and ripens or matures at different times. If a rotation of crops is done properly and the weather cooperates, a farmer can start harvesting one crop without having to wait for another to ripen.


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