Harvest awhile ago..

Harvest time is very stressful for all concerned. Your whole year as a farmer depends on the Harvest. This is true now, but when my folks were farming in the late 40’s thru theĀ  1960’s it was especially stressful. The yields and the prices were never that much and they couldn’t afford insurance to shield them from loss of a crop. My Dad hardly ever slept more than 4 hours during harvest time which just added to the stress. My ma bless her heart worked like a man in the fields and made sure we had something to eat too.

I started moving trucks around the field at 4 or 5, I had to sit on a pillow so I could see between the top of the steering wheel and the top of the dash when I started. I drove a loaded grain truck to town by the time I was 8 and was a combine operator by 10 or 11.

Russ Crites the Fordson tractor operator

Me on the old Fordson tractor

By the time I was 16 I thought I was the finest combine operator in all of Northern Montana. That particular fall we had purchased a new used combine which was equipped with a 18 foot header. It had a larger header on it before we bought it so it came with an auger that was alot longer than normal. Now a header is what cuts the grain in front and an auger is what unloads the grain out of the combine into the truck.

Harvest was long that particular year about 3 weeks or more and by the time we were done this over confident prideful 16 year old combine operator was hurrying too fast driving in the yard by our old farm house. My ma appeared in the yard waving her arms off. I was sure she was very glad to see me so I just waved back at her. She was trying to tell me that the too long auger was about to hit the roof of the old farm house. Yes it did and yes I tore a section of the roof right off and bent the end of the too long auger. So much for a successful finish to harvest.. They say Pride goes before the Fall.. surely that’s the way it happened.

Crites Homestead, Gildford, Montana

If you look closely at the left corner of the house the roof is missing…

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