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Combines finally get rolling

Eppich News: Organic oats and ‘The Bread wheat’ among the first harvested

Grandpa John poses with Joseph and James in the barley crop

The beginning of August found us trying to finish baling the hay before the rain. Gregory was working on the ditch bales while I worked on the two hayfields. We finished right as the storm started. The lightning was hitting the ground very close to us and the thunder rattled the truck. While Gregory and I were baling, John was working summerfallow and Barb was watching Joseph and James.

On Aug. 8 neighbours Leon and Audrey came over and helped us butcher a yearling bull. We were getting very short of meat and did not want to be out over harvest. We also moved the little mare raising two foals to a new patch of grass. She is our yard grazer as we are trying to get her the best feed to help her raise her colt and the orphan filly.

Right before harvest we found ourselves cleaning our organic oats for sale. The price was not the best but Gregory had a feeling that it was going to go down. After cleaning the wild oat seed out, the organic seed graded as 1CW, the top grade. Gregory was pretty happy about that.

Harvest officially started Aug. 15. Gregory swathed the five-acre patch of John’s wheat that he calls “The bread wheat.” It has never been sprayed before and when the crop is good and the weather co-operates, we harvest the wheat for our own use.

On Aug. 17 Gregory and John swathed John’s wheat on the home quarter and then they went out and worked three fields of summerfallow. It was a very long and tiring day, but a good one.

I also brought my mare and filly home from Danny and Shelia Roth’s little pasture. The grass has been so good that I actually had four mares and foals in the pasture earlier this summer, but with the hot, dry weather the grass dried up quickly. On Aug. 20 I was able to sneak down and bring home another mare and foal. I’m hoping that the pasture will hold the two mares and foals for a little while yet.

We cut up meat on Aug. 22. Leon wasn’t able to come, but Audrey came and Grandpa Barney also came over for the fun. Barb was watching the boys and John was helping her and trying to keep his injured hand clean — he’d cut it to the bone trying to work on the swather a few days before. We greatly appreciated the extra help and it went very smoothly.

Gregory got one combine going Aug. 24 and Joseph and I combined the Bread wheat field. It was good to be started and it felt very good to have wheat for our own use that had not been rained on.

On Aug. 27 it rained over half an inch. We’ve been a bit behind on getting all the machines and bins ready for harvest so it was a good time to get field-ready.

A few days later we took three combines out and harvested the home wheat. Gregory ran a combine and unloaded the trucks and Joseph got to ride with Grandpa, while James and I ran the third combine. It’s a pretty good feeling having three generations working on the home quarter, the quarter that Gregory’s grandpa bought and made the Eppich home.

About the author


Heather Eppich is a young former Idaho rancher building a new farm and family with her husband and young son, near Handel, Sask. Contact her at: [email protected]

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