Sunset by Judy Shire taken North of Prince Albert last Sunday night

The Greenwater Report for September 29, 2005

September 25th, 2005: Last Monday, Bryan phoned and I was combining canola by two PM. Surprisingly, it wasnít at all tough and we were able to blaze along about four MPH. It was a different combine than I usually drive, a twenty-year-old John Deere 8820. I found it very easy to get used to and quite enjoyed driving it. It had considerably more capacity than their regular combine, a John Deere 9510, both in terms of throughput and carrying capacity.

Bryan, in the meantime, was straight-cutting peas with the regular combine, and I wanted no part of that!

We worked for the best part of three days on that field of canola; by then the regular combine was in the field too. The 8820 blew a water pump so I wound up driving the 9510, which seemed like a sports car after the 8820!
We only worked six hours Monday, but the rest of the week we got in ten-hour days which with two combines means a lot of acres.

Friday was an exception; cold, dreary and miserable but not wet, so we had to try some canola. It was very slow going and I plugged up within an hour. Not the cylinder but the back beater, which got wrapped tightly with tough canola stalks, resulting in burning off two belts. It took a good four hours to get that machine going again, with help from Elmer Gudmundson. Lucky for me, my girth didnít allow me to crawl inside the combine on top of the straw walkers to cut the beater loose; we could hardly ask Elmer to do it, so Bryan got stuck with the job. Of course, I would have been glad to do it if it had been physically possible.

Besides Bryan, Dan and myself, Edward Chitty helps out. Also, Luke Gelech, Bryanís 18-year-old nephew, spends a lot of time here. He can run anything on the farm including the semi, and is very useful. They like to harrow a field as soon as possible after combining, and Luke gets that job. I think he enjoys tearing down the field at an alarming rate cracking the whip with about sixty feet of harrows!

One thing I noticed the first day was a lack of wildlife. Usually there are mice scampering off in all directions and lots of hawks just waiting for them. I donít think I saw a single hawk the first day, and not all that many since. Today there were a few around near Mozart ó not red-tailed or marsh hawks, possibly Swainsonís. I wonder if canola is not as habitable to mice and other small creatures as cereal grains? But then, we did some hard white wheat, and today some barley, and still not much life.

We did get a good look at a pair of whitetail deer and a coyote, but not in fields we were working, and I did see a lone sandhill crane in one field. Bears have been sighted in this area, in fact along a creek that we work beside, so it wouldnít be surprising to see one. Moose and elk are not uncommon, either. When a canola swath looks like it is tipped with snow, itís a good chance that wildlife has been wandering through it and thrashed some out.

Doreen came down too, and has been visiting and helping Laurie (Corrie) and Joyce. On Saturday, they brought out lunch in the motor home ó it was nice to sit down to a meal, though tail-gate lunches are nice too, if itís decent weather.

About three of our days ended because of rain ó never very much but enough to stop us. It seems to dry quickly though. The first day I was here, by about 8 PM I had a bright harvest moon to my right and a big, black cloud full of thunder and lightning on my left. Quite a light show! Luckily, that big black cloud moved north and we got very little moisture from it.

Grimsons got drawn for Supper in the Field, courtesy of the Wynyard Co-op, so on Thursday Christine Smale brought out steaks and baked potatoes. Joyce, Laurie and Doreen brought tables, chairs, and beverages and we enjoyed a steak supper right in the field. Fun! Christine also brought her dog, Tucker, who did very well on steak bones and scraps.

Iím sorry I donít have any photos for you this week. I brought my camera along, but by the time I get off the combine itís dark. Besides, harvest photos are like sunset photos ó the world just doesnít need any more! Speaking of which, we have had some lovely evening skies.
Doreen & Jerry Crawford
Box 1000, Porcupine Plain, SK, S0E 1H0
telephone (306) 278-2249
fax (306) 278-3423


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