One of our favorite fall traditions is tagging along with my stepdad David while he harvests corn. The kids love it. E talked about farming all year, asking several times when we would be farmers again. That's saying something, because she was only 2 1/2 the last time we had done this. So it was definitely an experience that stuck in her memory. G loves the combine and tractor rides, too, but he also loves the time he gets to spend with Zach, who's 15. (Zach is not officially related to us. He's David's son, my sister's (half-sister, officially) half-brother. And if you want to get specific, David's not officially my stepdad anymore. Hasn't been for more than 20 years. But they're still family.) G really looks up to Zach and loves hanging out with him. This year, he had an extra-special treat he LOVED, so you'll have to check out the pictures below to see what he got to do! I know he'll be talking about this day for a long time. (These pics were taken yesterday, Saturday.)
This was one of the last pics taken, but it's a good overall pic, so it comes first. Inside the combine cab sits Zach (yes, 15 and driving a combine!), me and E.
Two of us could ride with either David or Zach in the cab at a time, while the other two of us rode with the other in the tractor that pulled the grain hopper and took the corn to the grain bin back at the farm. We split up — G and Chad with Zach in the tractor at first, and E and I with David in the combine.
After our first ride in the combine, David took us back to the farm to the grain bins, where he unloaded the hopper and showed E the ropes. It was LOUD, and E is super-shy, so she was completely mute at this point. But she was soaking it all in, and when the day ended, she recited to me everything that happened, from when the combine sucked in the stalks and stripped the corn, to when we dumped the corn from the combine into the hopper, to taking the hopper and the tractor to the grain bin, to unloading the grain in to the bins, to when we drove back to the field. For some reason, she loves this farming thing, and I love it that she does.
After our trip to the grain bins, David switched and rode with Chad and G, and E and I rode with Zach in the combine. Chad had the camera at this point, and I'm so glad he did. Look what he caught on film!
Yes, that's G driving a tractor! He had complete control of the steering wheel, while David controlled speed and the brakes (thankfully!). He drove the tractor from the grain bin, out the driveway, left onto the road, down a short shoot of road to the field and into the field. (You go, Buddy!) If you can see that tiny red speck close to the smoke stack up front, that's the truck in the field where we were working. This pic was taken shortly after he turned onto the road. So it wasn't a long way, but David was awfully trusting to let him do this! He had a fantastic time! He kept saying when we left, "I'm not even 16!" (No, Bud, you've still got 10 years to go before you can drive a car, but lucky you, you got a taste of driving already!)
As is our tradition, we got a family pic in front of the combine when our day was done. Memories captured. Love these days.
I hate that I didn't get ANY pics of Chad this time. NONE. What the heck? I know I didn't have the camera for long, and I didn't get many pics of anyone but E and David, but I thought I had gotten something. No such luck. Chad got lots of good pics, and I failed miserably. Sorry, hon. I'm glad you were there, though. The tradition wouldn't be the same without you.
Once the day was officially over, and Zach and David were back at work, E and I watched them take off back into the field. Her shyness kept her from talking at all when David was in our company (it's nothing personal, David…you just have that whole adult thing working against you!), and she talked a bit with Zach, but I know her. She was soaking everything in and enjoying every minute! And G…Chad was with G the whole time, but the way he talked about driving that tractor afterward says it all. He loved it, too.
Thanks, David and Zach, for a fun afternoon! We're looking forward to next year!