Sunday, October 12, 2014

Is the Prairie in Southwest Minnesota . . .

. . .  about as far from the sea as a licensed USCG Master (aka, Captain**) can get?  The answer is no, at least not until he is snapped driving  a Combine and bringing in the beans:

Hey, did we get the Spring Lines tossed yet?

It is Harvest Time here in the land of the Jolly Green Giant, Little House on the Prairie and field after field of mostly corn or beans (Soybeans that is).  Last week the beans ripened up and all were 'in the fields' bringing in the crop. All the roads had a wild mixture of Semi's and "wagons" behind  tractors, plus a few smaller ones pulled by pickups, moving beans to either storage bins or the elevator.  (Don't be fooled - some of those tractor carts can hold the same amount of product as 2 or 3 semis!).  And 'Captain Al' ** helped out Dean on his farm by prepping the combine, and then mostly running the two carts between the field and the elevators as well as storing some on a neighbor's farm.  But I also logged a couple of hours behind the wheel, keeping the machine running while Dean was having Dinner, or doing another task on the farm.

Me  in Action!

Filling a wagon

Almost full!

This smallish cart still tipped the scales at almost 20,000lbs.  You should see some of the monster ones the 'combining teams' use!

Dean and I check-in while off-loading into the other cart.
This one had the 'nice' pickup pulling it!

Using the PTO auger to move the beans into a neighbor's bin
for storage.

In all it was a great experience to do.  And one that folks outside of true farmers likely would never get an opportunity at!  I am glad not only for the experience, but to be able to help Dean out during one of the busiest times of the year.  He does not have that many acres planted, sufficient for his use and some extra to sell, but it took a good part of the week for the two of us to bring the beans in.  And it did not go unnoted by all how I was in effect filling in for Maynard this year - even to the point of picking out stray bean stalks from the cutter head and dumping them into the hopper.  "Dad would be proud" Dean said, along with "This will be a year to remember".

Yes it will.

**  Captain:  Yes, I hold a USCG Masters Mariner ticket.   But one that I call a 'Baby License'.  Though more than one of the lowest grade 6-pack licences, as a 100-ton holder I do not try to pretend to stand next to the real 'Captains' who work day in and day out moving massive amounts of commerce on the waterways.

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