Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Riding on the Combine

It's grass-seed harvest time in Oregon.
Emily got a job driving combine for a farmer a few miles away.  Today I went out and rode with her for a while.

When it comes to farming, we are not in Kansas any more.  So to speak.

Bear in mind that I used to work out in the fields on a Farmall M with a molded metal seat with holes in it for ventilation, and with very manual gears and clutches that had to be strong-armed into submission and who would snap back and hit a bare ankle occasionally, just for fun.

Emily sits on a padded seat in an lovely, airy little room at the front of a combine that is just. huge.  I am fumbling for comparisons here.  You could live comfortably in a house with that many cubic feet.  I Googled "How big is a New Holland combine?" hoping for actual dimensions, but all I got were glossy pdf ads for combines featuring 45-foot headers and this:

 Threshing cylinder
The New Holland
ter (750 mm) threshing drum
is the
largest-diameter drum in the industry
Using ten rasp bars to feed crop to the
concave area, this heavy cylinder acts
as a flywheel, generating high inertia to
smooth out peak loads. You can adjust
drum speed from 305 to 905 rpm from
the cab depending on the crop and

Yes.  Well.  So here we have our daughter, who gets frustrated with her physical weakness, operating this behemoth, and it obeys her meekly and submissively.Everything is automated, responding to a gentle touch on a lever.  Gentle beeps remind her of anything she's forgetting.

A computer screen shows her speed, pounds per acre, moisture level, and a lot more information that is not useful to her but is to the farmer, I'm sure.
And yet, old-fashioned or modern, farming is farming.  Big fields in the hot sun, anxious farmers, windrows waiting, dust blowing, and the seed falling into the hopper.


A phrase from the Bible kept running through my mind, so when I came home I looked it up.

Psalm 126:5,6 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.


  1. Yay for Emily finding something she can do! I too often am too weak to do a lot of things, so can understand how exciting it is to find something like that.

    (I've been in a combine, too, with a guy from church. He says that sometimes he brings a book into it with him and reads while harvesting. Wacky.)

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  3. Beautiful verses...I find it interesting that Jesus spoke in parables, and the longer I walk with Him today, the more He uses object lessons (or parables, if you will) to show me Himself everywhere, in everything. Even a dusty field in harvest. Thank you for sharing, this got my day off to a great start!

  4. When my husband was farming, I enjoyed riding in the combine. Ours was nowhere near as large as the one your daughter drives!

  5. Great verse! We toured a museum one time that had a collection of farming equipment--from the pioneer days to more modern times. It was fascinating!

  6. She must be a very responsible young woman. You might well be shocked by the price of that New Holland unit she is using. One of our young church members is an R&D engineer for the combine division at New Holland. He travels all over the world studying how to modify combines for local conditions. Very smart guy (and he is probably looking for a Mennonite smart young woman... chuckle...)

  7. Looks like fun! I wouldn't mind driving one of those rigs...:-)

  8. The past several weeks I've been thinking about those seven summers of Oregon harvest that I helped with and enjoyed. (It probably has something to do with two of our church guys being out there running combines.) The combines I drove were BIG but Emily's looks HUGE and I'm sure even more modern. Understandably, 20 years later. Good memories!!:)

  9. Marie--When I rode with Emily she asked if I'd ever ridden on a combine before. Brought back fun memories of riding with you.