This harvest has been a difficult one. We can’t seem to get going and put in full days. Some of that is due to the weather. It seems like we have had some uncommonly heavy dew in the morning and more than our share of rain. We haven’t been able to start very early most mornings and it seems like we only get to harvest four or five days in a row before the next rain. Throw that in with the usual breakdowns and it has been very trying.
We have not had very many breakdowns and they have not been very severe, until this week. However, I am reminded of the old Bobby Bare song, “The Winner”. I am sure some of you have not heard the song and this reference will be lost on you but most of you will know what I mean. The breakdowns we have had this year all could have been worse and I suppose we are lucky and you might even call us a winner.
For example, during corn harvest I was unloading when the gentleman in line behind me came up and brought to my attention that my inside dual was flat. I was in the process of unloading and only about three blocks from a place that I could get the tire fixed at (or replaced). It could have been far worse or more difficult if it had happened earlier and I had been on the road into town. So, we bought a couple of new tires, spent more money than the load of corn was worth and felt like we were winners.
We had to wait on the tires to come in but it rained and we had time to wait. I took the check for the tires in with the last load of corn we picked before the thunderstorm. When I got back into the truck to drive home it wouldn’t start. Luckily they replaced starters there too. It could have been much worse, we finished up right ahead of the thunderstorm that had dumped over three inches of rain on us. The starter had worked I had gotten it in the shed, later it worked and I got the load to town. Then it decided not to work in front of the garage. I guess that made me the winner.
Later, when we had finished corn harvest and moved on to soybeans we were harvesting the field next to Dad’s house. Rain was predicted for that night and it did rain. Dad finished cutting for the night, unloaded and the combine died and refused to start. We could pull the truck into the shed and saved a significant number of bushels of soybeans from getting wet. The combine was in the yard and easy for the mechanic to get too. Once again I guess that made us the winner.
The final proof of our winning was this past week. It was hot, still and the soybeans were unbelievably dirty. While unloading, Dad smelled smoke. Luckily he was right next to a farmstead, a hydrant with a working hose hooked up to it. We washed the combine down, thought the fire was out and thought we were lucky because we could not find any damage. The next morning, we came back to service the combine and immediately smelled smoke and burned rubber. Not a good sign.
Further inspection showed a smoldering fire deep inside the combine. Quite a surprise to us because Dad had come back after dark and checked the combine out and had found nothing. Using the hose that was already laid out we quickly put the fire out, but the combine had sustained some damage and we could not move it. However, the night had been still and no wind had gotten in to fan the flames and the combine, most likely, is repairable and still in one relatively uncharred piece. I guess that makes us the winner.
So, in a harvest that has taken several weeks longer than it should have, I have not been stranded along the road, we have not had any grain get wet on the truck or the combine, the combine has not broken down or burned up in the field and we have not had to call the fire department. Sure, we still have too many acres to harvest and a combine in the shop but all in all it could be worse.
Just like the punch drunk, broken, crippled up hulk of a man in the Bobby Bare song, we have come out much better than we might have otherwise, all be it at a heavy price. I guess in the end that makes us the winner.