Sunday, August 23, 2009

Harvest Hoopla

After going strong for about a month, we are starting to wrap up our harvest. We started with a couple of different varieties of field peas, then lentils, winter wheat, and finally spring wheat. All in all, a pretty good crop for our country. We had plentiful rains in early spring and late summer which brought up lots of plants and then caused a little lower protein in the wheat than we're used to. One particular field, which was the bane of my dear farmer husband's existence in late May due to the boggy planting conditions, is causing a little bit of headache for him now as it is taking it's sweet time to get ripe. We were really hoping to finish up the entire crop on Saturday, but the crew ran into green wheat on Saturday evening about 6 p.m. I don't think it hurt the crew's feelings, as Terri Clark was making an appearance at the Southeast Montana Fair in Miles city, and most of them were hoping to go. More about that in a different post.

I love to watch the combines eating up the acres, especially as they work in their group of four. It's amazing how much they accomplish in a day, as long as they stay in working condition. We had pretty good luck with that this year too, except on Friday and Saturday as one machine decided to give us some fits, losing power especially going up hills. Turns out it was a bad wiring harness that was giving bad signals to the rest of the machine. Technology!
I really enjoy running the combine. At the beginning of harvest when I'm in the "cockpit" for the 1st time, everything seems to be running at lightning speed and I feel really overwhelmed, especially when it's time to unload the grain tank moving at 5 mph, next to a grain cart that is also moving about 5 mph. Doesn't seem that fast until you're trying to make sure you don't leave any grain outside the header, don't hit the tractor with your unloading auger, or hit the tractor tire with the side of your header! Last year I got to run the combine enough that I felt pretty confident. This year, I got to run for almost a day, but we had such a great crew, that I was more useful in the kitchen! That may change in the next week.

I'm finding benefits from being a teacher that I am realizing now, 6 years after being out of the field. Three of the guys in the crew were students of mine when I taught junior high English, and another is a friend from college, who moved here to teach the same year I did. It's fun to see them all again, and especially fun to see what great guys my students have grown into. They were good workers, great with the kids, fun to be around, and mainly full of it. We've had worse crews for sure! Now most of them are getting ready to head back to college for fall semester. With any luck, we'll be able to finish up the last little bit, as the weather has decided to heat up, at least into the upper 80s and low 90s, which feels like a real heat wave compared to what we've seen for most of the summer. Then all we have left is the dry land corn that we are trying for the 2nd year. It really is making the most of these late summer rains.

Enjoy the pictures!

Scott and his corn

Scott and Zane checking the hydraulics

Cutting Peas

Unloading into the truck

Alli in the truck with Daddy

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Load Em Up, Feed Em Out

Ben and "The Crew" Liam, Marshall and Zane

Alli eating Angel food Cake and Strawberries

Ben, showing off

So, it's been a little quiet lately from this corner of the blog-o-sphere, so I thought I'd give you a little insight in to what we've been up to. We are in the midst of harvesting, and we've been at it for about a month. We started combining peas and lentils, and then moved on to winter wheat. We have started on the spring wheat, but the weather hasn't exactly been cooperating. With any luck we'll finish sometime tomorrow, but it has to warm up and the wind has to blow. Normally, I'd say that I LOVE THE WEATHER. It's been cool and damp the whole month of August, which, as most of you know is usually hot and dry.

Anyway, while Scott and the crew are out in the field, I've been in the house, planning and preparing the evening meal, which I then pack up in coolers, tubs, and boxes and take out to the field. Truthfully, this year has been a little easier than past years, because on the days when the guys are starting late due to the damp grain, I have been given a reprieve. Eating is important, but at this stage in the game, getting the wheat in the bin is the MOST important.

Usually the routine goes something like this: First thing in the morning, get the jug of sun tea ready and set it on the deck. Then, I look through my list of probable meals and decide what I'm in the mood to cook. I usually try to get most of the baking done in the morning. This year I've made chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, creamy lemon raspberry bars, chocolate- peanut-butter gooey butter cake, peach crisp, peach coffee cake, blueberry coffee cake, angel food cake with strawberries, no-bake cherry cheese cake, and a few others that I can't remember.

Then I try to do a few household chores like laundry and dishes.... some things like mopping and dusting are an exercise in futility due to the dusty dirty boys (big and little) that come in at the end of the day. (I guess I'll have to have a full-out house cleaning week when we finally get done!)

Usually the kiddos and I have something kind of simple for lunch, like pbj sandwiches or corn dogs, and then while they nap, I get the rest of the meal ready. Some years, we have a two pan crew, but this year, it was about a 1.5 pan crew, so I've just been making a little bit extra and putting it in a bigger dish. I used to get a little crazy, but recently I've decided to maintain a little sanity and stick to things like sloppy joes, shredded beef, stuff like that. I also like a few stand-by casseroles: Mexican lasagna, spaghetti pizza, lasagna, wild rice and chicken, etc. When they were cutting really close to the house I BBQed burgers and they came to the house and ate on the deck. EASY CLEAN-UP! I also make some kind of a salad almost every day. Most of the time it is just a green salad with cukes and tomatoes and whatever I can find in the cupboard.... bacon bits, seeds or nuts, or pita bread chips.... Ranch dressing goes like it's on it's last breath, so I usually take about a quart of that along too. Sometimes I take fruit, which is always a big hit, but I don't always get to the store to get the fresh stuff, so fruit salad only makes a showing about twice/week. I always have to make a pistachio/pineapple/cool-whip salad, because that's a favorite too. I also usually have some kind of bread or buns. They really like garlic bread I'm finding.

Then, about 4:30, I start the loading process. I keep whatever is cooking in the oven until the last minute, to keep it hot and work on making lemonade and putting it and the sun tea into insulated beverage dispensers. I count cups, plates and cutlery to make sure I have enough, bring the ice up from the freezer and pack the cube cooler with all the cold stuff: butter, salad dressings, salads, etc. Then I wrap the hot stuff in tin-foil, put it in the pyrex "to-go" insulated carriers, and then load the whole mess into the back of the Suburban. Then I grab the two kids, and head for the field. Sometimes it's a 15 minute trip, sometimes it's a 45 minute trip depending on the location and how many trucks have been on the road that day!

My M-I-L (short for mother-in-law) has filled in a couple of times when I've been doctoring in Billings, doing Bible study in town, or running off to my brother's wedding. That's great because it gives me a little bit of a break. I really enjoy cooking, especially for an appreciative crowd, which our crew always is. They always are free with the compliments and thank-yous, and when it's been a really long day of cutting, I know they appreciate the opportunity to get out of their machine or truck, stretch, and listen to somebody besides Rush, KATL or Sirius radio.

The pictures are just to show you a little of the atmosphere of the feed in the field. Thank goodness we can see the end of this year's harvest!

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Catching UP

Hey everyone or anyone who reads the blog occasionally. I've been really behind with this thing. You'll be able to see why as you scroll through the posts I have put up today. Some I started a month ago and a couple I just put up today. I posted one about our trip to Big Fork, our camping trip to the tree, some pictures, and upcoming is the 4th of July post complete with some piping and dancing.

We're in the midst of cutting wheat, and due to a shower last night and the late start today, I don't have to cook a big meal for the crew, so instead I thought I'd catch my blog up to date... It sounded more fun than cleaning the bathrooms or vacuuming. I can't imagine why. But I always feel a little guilty when I'm entertaining myself as opposed to being productive, so I suppose I better shut it down for a little while. Maybe I'll have time for more later. Anyway, enjoy the updates and the photos!

4th of July Weekend

The 4th of July always signifies a travel weekend here at the Glasscock house. Scott's bagpipe band always plays in the Livingston Roundup Parade on the 2nd, and has played in various parades from Lander, WY to Ennis, MT. This year was no exception. Haley had been at basketball camp in Helena all week, so after the parade in Livingston and a night at Chico Hot Springs (which I highly recommend by the way) we headed to Helena to fetch Haley. After a long month! of work, Auntie Liz and Uncle Tim and Cousin Shawn arranged a picnic out on the Little Blackfoot river. After some good cooking by Uncle Tim and Safeway's deli, we had some chicken, rolls, salad and chocolate!!! Then the kids tried their hands at fishing in the river and Liz took a little alone time to do some fishing too. Then Scott pulled out the pipes and the kiddos had to try their hand at the fling as well. It was a riot! Haley's really good, but the other three.... let's just say they tried hard and had a good time. Thanks Moores for a great evening!

The next day we traveled to Ennis, MT for the big parade they have there. Scott performed with the band and Haley danced, and the rest of us were a little disappointed at the amount of candy we didn't get! Then we headed home to finish up haying. Great weekend!

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Random Photos

In anticipation of someday getting a Digital SLR camera, I borrowed a film SLR camera from The Farmer's Wife and have been fun taking pictures and experimenting. I still have lots to learn, but here are some of my attempts.

The Tree

Every year, we take a little camping trip about 3/4 mile up the creek to the one tree that hides there. We pack the hot dogs, the s'mores, the soda, the sleeping bags and the tent, and set out in the pick-up and two four-wheelers. We build a fire, set up a tent, and go exploring on the sand cliffs. It is just a great time for all of us, at least until it's time to sleep in the tent. Mommy has opted out, what with being pregnant and having a baby in the house. This year, she just chickened out and ended up back at the house. This year, Alli decided she was big enough to stay with the kids and Dad, so she did, but nobody except the boys slept much. I think that next year, I'll be a good sport and sleep out with the rest of them, but only if I get an air mattress!