Hauling in the harvest


Kay Reminger, Leader Columnist

Since the sale of our herd of cows, we don’t have as many head to feed, so when we harvest our crops, we keep just what my husband figures we’d need to feed them for the year and sell the rest.

This year, we planted soybeans for the very first time. If we’re not sure of something, we have a number of acquaintances who we could pick their brain about this or that. My husband did some jawing with people he trusts with answers to particular questions regarding soybeans.

We planted soybeans.

All growing season long, as I’d mow the lawn that butted up to one of the fields of soybeans, I watched as they went from teeny little sprouts looking like four-leaf clover to bushy greenery to downright sick-looking brown shoots that, from what I gathered, was normal. Soon, after every bit of green left, finally, it was time for the combiner to come.

(At one point during the latter part of the season, I had torn open a pod and, peeling out a soybean, popped it in my mouth. It tasted like a peanut.)

For quite some time we had been throwing the idea back and forth about buying our own grain truck to haul our feed to the feed mill in. We were doing the numbers and figured if we could find a good, used, cheap truck we’d buy it, for in a couple of years it would pay for itself.

One day an ad popped up on Craigslist with a 1973 Ford F700 grain truck available in Sun Prairie. My husband got that look in his eye — that this-might-be-the-one look.

“Do you realize this truck was built two years before we graduated high school?” I was trying to get my husband to wrap his mind around just how old we were talking here.

“But look, it looks like it’s in good shape. I think I’ll call him.”

“It won’t hurt!”

He called. They talked tires, radiator, engine, body condition, miles, reason for sale. It was a good conversation. Then they talked prices. The guy came down. They set a date.

We were going on a little jaunt to Sun Prairie.

Asking our sister and brother-in-law along for the ride, we got to our destination. The fellas scrutinized the truck, popped the hood, looked at the tires, asked questions and finally, after an exchange of money and title, we were the proud owners of a darn nice looking, although older than Moses, grain truck!

The first load of soybeans went in just a few weeks ago, and I rode with my husband to the feed mill in the truck. Giggling, I had to try a couple times to hoist myself up in there. No radio or gas gauge, but the thing started like a charm, and we chug-chugged our way to the mill.

Getting there, we had to drive up to the weigh station, and when weighed, drive over to the place where the grain is emptied into their holding area. A guy with a cup took a sample of our produce where they tested it for moisture content.

Stopping at the office, my husband picked up the receipt for our goods, and we were on our way, our first load of grain delivered. I felt rather good, sort of self-reliant good. We got this. We are hauling our own soybeans!

Soon the gravity boxes were filled, the grain truck was full and my husband needed me to run a load in with him. He drove the grain truck pulling one gravity box and I was to follow him with our regular pick-up truck pulling my own full gravity box.

As soon as I got started down the road, I realized I could only drive 25 miles an hour before my gravity box started weaving back and forth, back and forth. Ahead of me, I could see a red speck, which was my husband and his gravity box. He could go faster than me!

Getting up to the feed mill, I was glad I had gone in with my husband the other day, for I knew sort of what to do. There was a lot of activity going on there — large semis full of grain, grain trucks like ours, farmers pulling gravity boxes behind tractors, guys everywhere and then me, bug-eyed and nervous. I just followed hubby; wherever he went, I went.

Waiting behind him, it was finally my turn to unload. There was a slight upgrade, and I spun my tires on the lime-based driveway. My gut clenched until I realized I should probably put the truck into four-wheel drive. I did and got right up there without a problem. The guy waiting looked at me with a half-grin sort of way like he was saying, “You’re doing just fine,” and that made me feel better.

Taking care of the business of harvesting is satisfying. All our hard work pays off at the end of the year, and I am always grateful. Especially so this year, hauling our feed in with our very own grain truck!

(“The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us.” Psalm 67:6)