Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Home for Harvest

Tim and I have spent the last four weeks on the family farm in Kansas helping with wheat harvest. 

Now I know how the astronauts felt when they were out of communication with Houston while they traveled around the dark side of the moon.  Not that Kansas is the dark side, but lately our lives have been too hectic to blog or participate in social media.  We've been out of touch.

In fact, wheat harvest is a lot like a tsunami.  It picks you up, pulls you under, and spits you out hopefully on shore once it's over.

Emily, Brad, Hanna, Mark, Julia and Matt

But before harvest began, there was a family wedding,

Tim, Cindy, Phyllis, Willard, Becky, Doug and Miles

a family reunion,

Mary, Matthew, Mom and I

and a trip to the zoo with my college friend Mary and her grandson Matthew.

Tim, Derek and Miles

Then it began!  Wheat harvest is a team effort.  It is an intense time when one eye is on the weather and the other on the steering wheel of whatever implement you are driving 

Nephew Miles

be it the combine, 

Nephew Derek
the grain cart, 


the semi trucks,


the tractor, 

Mom and I

the pickup pulling the fertilizer tank necessary to keep the irrigation systems supplied,  (Are these the right levers to turn, Jon?)  

or the ATV for the management to use.

Derek and Chet

Even the farm dog Chet got in on the action.

The goal is to get the wheat cut before a thunderstorm delivers hail that could wipe out the crop.  

We did have a hail storm that straphed a few fields but we were lucky.  The damage was minimal.

In point of fact, this harvest produced better than expected results.  Last fall my dad picked up a fist full of dirt and said he'd never seen it so dry.  It was nothing more than dust.  But this spring timely rains arrived just as the wheat heads were beginning to fill.  Astoundingly, one of our non-irrigated fields which typically produced 35 to 40 bushels, yielded 65 bushels to the acre.

Dad, Derek, Miles and Tim (Jon, not pictured)

On the morning after the hailstorm, a corporate meeting of McClure Farms employees occurred on the back porch.  I wish I could report that stockholders would receive a dividend this year, but that is still to be determined when fall harvest rolls around.


My 86-year-old father has driven the combine for 67 years now.  I don't think we could have kept him out of the cab even if we'd tried.  

Dad at the end of his shift

Miles took the helm whenever dad grew tired but my father still put in an eight-hour day.


Harvest ended last Monday, June 26th, but not knowing when the end would come, Tim and I factored in an extra week's stay.  I needed that time to decompress and set the farmhouse in order, doing tasks that my mother can no longer accomplish.

We left the farm this morning so I have no excuse for setting this blog aside any longer.

Goodbye, Kansas!


  1. It was so good to have you back in the community for a few weeks. I always enjoy your harvest blog, seeing how it's done south of Stafford! You captured some beautiful skies with your camera, too. That's definitely a fringe benefit to the frenetic pace. Safe travels to you and Tim.

    1. I always enjoy seeing you and Randy when we're home. I count you as special friends and appreciate all you do for UMC. As your photography attests, it's hard to beat the wide-open skies of Kansas for cloud-watching and sunsets. Sunrises, too, but I didn't rise in time to see any of those this visit. Maybe when we return in September! We'll see you then.

  2. Family unity on display here is so heart warming. Your Dad is Superman of the wheat harvest which I'm sure he appreciated all the support. Glad you all were able to help and spend time with family. God's blessings as your journey continues!
    Love you both๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜

    1. Thanks, Yas! There are lots of Kansas families whose members return to help with harvest. We are not exceptional, but it is rewarding to be together and work towards a common goal. Are you back in Virginia now after your road trip? I hope you had happy and safe travels.

  3. Did Tim climb up the silos again, or does he leave that to the younger crowd now Glad you had a successful harvest and family reunion! Safe travels.

    1. Thanks, Terry! Tim didn't scale the silos this year; he was content to offer his advice from below. As you know, he is good at that!