I have to give full credit of this picture to my husband, he took this picture a couple of years ago during wheat harvest and it turned out so amazing. I love venturing back through all my pictures and reliving each moment, good or bad, that took place during each photo.
To set the stage for this photo, it had been a hot July day and we had just moved to this 120-acre field to harvest the wheat. In order for us to get to this field, we have to travel along a dirt road, through a creek bottom, and up a steep hill. It is one of my least favorite fields because of the challenge to get to it with such massive equipment. As we got started harvesting this field we started to see clouds building up to the South of us. We don’t typically see storms move from South to North so it wasn’t too much to be concerned with, but as time passed we soon realized the storm was building quickly and was headed in our direction. Typically this wouldn’t be too much concern for us because if we get rained out, we get rained out, no big deal. However, this was a different situation for us because of where we were. Any rain was going to cause major issues in us getting equipment out (meaning back to the road). As the storm grew closer, the radio chatter picked up. My dad wanted to get the field cut in its entirety so we didn’t have to come back for a few acres, but at the same time, he wanted to make sure all the equipment and trucks got down the hill and through the creek before it got dangerous.
There is a sense of panic that starts to set in when you are in these situations. Storms are so unpredictable and one minute you think you have time and the next it is a downpour of rain. As the first few drops started to fall my dad decided it was time to wrap things up. We got the last of the trucks loaded and down the hill, they were the biggest concern and they had made it free and clear. Next up were the combines, and because of the steepness of the hill they had to descend they have to be empty with no grain on them. I am always in the tractor running the grain cart, so I was sitting at the end of the field, waiting for each combine to get empty, I would be the last piece of equipment out of the field.
As the combines emptied and made the way out of the field, the rain picked up and was now coming down in heavy sheets. It was now my turn to make my descent down the hill. Since all the combines had emptied, the grain cart was now holding around 840 bushels (50,400 pounds) of wheat on it. This was a big load to be taking down the hill, not something we typically would have done on a dry day, but because we were rushed and not really thinking anything other than getting the equipment out, it was a chance we took that day.
My husband had come out to take the drone pictures and brought both of my daughters with him. At some point, my oldest daughter had come and gotten in the tractor to ride with me. As we descended down the steep and now extremely muddy hill, all I could think was to look straight forward, take it easy and make sure both of us made it safely down the hill. My dad, uncle, and cousin had all loaded up in his pickup and were going to follow us down the hill to make sure we made it out. I was doing good, taking it slow and easy. I was halfway down the hill when I felt a major jolt come from the grain cart, enough it jerked the tractor. I had known there was a washout on the road, which was unavoidable to hit, and when the grain cart tire hit the washout, with all the weight on it, it started to slide. I never looked back in all of this, which was probably for the better because I never panicked. I honestly never even got freaked out until my dad got on the radio after I had everything straightened out, to inform me that at one point in time the grain cart was sliding and they all believed it was going to either tip over or slide around me.
In the end, we all made it out safely. We ended up having to leave around 20 acres, which we went back and cut a few days later after everything dried out. Seeing this picture will always bring back that memory to me. Just looking at it now, seeing the dark, stormy clouds, I feel the sense of urgency that we felt that day. Although it may not be the best memory, it is a memory I will always have, and in that memory, I have my family right there with me, and that is something I will always cherish.