29 May OLD AGE?
“IF YOU CAN DREAM IT,
YOU CAN DO IT.”
It is getting toward the time of year that makes me bubble with excitement even when there is nothing I can do about it. I grew up on the seat of a tractor and so it is hard to ignore the feelings that I get just before wheat harvest.
The wheat just looked terrible all year long but as usual when the rains come it decides to grow and push those heads out. There is always a lot of speculation about the coming harvest and the markets jump up and down on a whim and it still does not make it to the cost of production.
But none of that matters when the machines start heading south to start the harvest down in Texas and work its way north. Soon those from the city that just happen to take a drive out into fly over country will start cussing the slow traffic of combines, grain carts, tractors, and trucks that blow off the doors as they pass everything in sight.
I always had the urge to buy a combine and cut wheat but manage to just run other peoples machines. Even though the checks were small I did not have to figure out how to pay for a machine and keep it running.
Now by most standards I am not old but if you go by how I feel it is a different scale. And I have out grown the urge to buy a combine because the new ones are close to one million dollars by the time you get everything you need.
In 1973 I had graduated from high school and was in my first year of college. My friend and mentor was a man by the name of KO Huff. There will be some that recognize that name for a lot of reasons. He was like an extra grandfather to me.
Kenny (K.O.) had a mind that never stopped thinking about how to do things better. He had built one of the first self propelled combines at Protection Kansas back in the 1920’s or 30’s. And he would take it to Oklahoma and start cutting wheat and work his way back home to do his own and others. A grandson still says he knows where that combine is setting in a tree row down in Oklahoma somewhere.
KO used to say that if you needed something and could not afford it or if it had not been invented you have to just do it yourself. He used to tell us about his inventions and his ideas while I was growing up.
In 1973 he was gathering a bunch of old combines and getting ready to go on the harvest with his grandsons. There was a dealership not far from where I was going to school and I would load my cutting torch bottles into my Scout and meet him after class to cut parts off of old combines that the dealer said he could have before they went to the scrap. As we were working on getting his parts he told me of a rotary combine he wanted to build when he got back from harvest and wanted me to help. This was five years before New Holland came out with the first rotary combine.
I watched videos of today’s new combines. The Fendt Ideal, Tribine, and the Deeres, Case/IH, Klass, and New Holland. Machines with no steering wheels, over 400 horsepower, and up to fifty foot headers. Makes the old IHC 403 that I used to cut with look like a toy.
I am looking forward to the reincarnation of the combine that was invented in the mind of a farmer from Little River Kansas that is being re-engineered and may come out and shake everything up in a couple of years.
All of this and still $4 dollar wheat.