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Harvest and haying are finally finished

Eppich News: Combining and last of the haying were a race against the weather

During the middle of October we were harvesting as much as we could. For the fields that were swathed we usually drove every grain truck and trailer out to the field in the morning, got the machines serviced, and then Gregory, John, and Joseph and I would drive the three combines.

On Oct. 16 we had a bit of trouble. Joseph and I were combining when the water pump went. Gregory started working on it while I took over running his machine and Joseph hopped in with Grandpa John. We combined for a little while when all of a sudden a terrible noise started up in the combine I was driving. Gregory went to work on it and discovered that the elevator chain needed to be replaced. He replaced a link and got it going again for the day. The next day he replaced the elevator chain while John ran to town to get a water pump for the other combine and a starter for his 9600, which had decided that morning that it too needed a little more TLC. Gregory just kept fixing until all three combines were happily working again.

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We made good progress over the next few days but the forecast was calling for snow on Oct. 22, so the day before we made the last big push to get the last of the mostly dry grain in the bin for the season. We called our neighbour, Leon Ochs, and he happily came out and ran Gregory’s machine while Gregory did the trucking. We had to finish one field of wheat before moving to the next. While Gregory was busy unloading trucks and moving trucks around, Leon was very helpful in keeping the third machine going. Joseph had a good time combining with Uncle Leon for quite a while that day. It was just shy of three o’clock in the morning, but we finally finished the field and brought the combines home.

On Oct. 25 we took John’s combine, the truck, baler and swather over to Landis to try to finish the barley there. The barley was beyond tough but the straw bales are going to be greatly needed this year so we worked at it until the straw was too tough to combine. It snowed the next day, so we brought the equipment home again.

On Oct. 27 we rounded up the heifers on the native pasture at Landis and hauled them over to our other pasture where we have the rest of the cows. Having all of the cows on one pasture will simplify our daily chores of breaking ice and make it easier to bring everybody home when the time comes.

We headed back out to Landis Oct. 31 to combine the barley. Again, we worked at it until the straw was just too tough. The next day, however, we were finally able to finish combining that field. John still has about 30 acres of crop out but he decided that it was too tough for us to handle and, being that it is swathed, it should go through the winter okay and they will combine it in the spring.

On Nov. 4 Gregory took the 12-foot haybine out and cut the last of our sloughs, while I followed behind with the baler. Every bale counts this year and we were quite happy with how many more bales we were able to get.

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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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