Thursday, September 29, 2011

between wind and rain

between wind and rain
farmers hurry to harvest
fields of corn and beans

Farmers have been working in the gap in weather, combining and harrowing between bouts of wind and rain, sometimes working all night. It's late afternoon on a perfect weather day. A farmer in a green John Deere combine is harvesting a cornfield, working his way from the outside in. The combine fells the stalks, scoops them up and sends them into the bowels of the machine, where the corn is separated from the stalks, leaves, husks and cobs. When it's full, the combine spews the golden kernels out of a long spout into a red BRENT hopper. The combine-to-hopper exchange happens with both rigs moving side-by-side, the combine still combining and the white CASE tractor with the attached hopper keeping pace. When the hopper is full, the driver pulls alongside a red Ford grain dump truck and transfers the corn through the hopper's spout to the grain dump bed. When the dump truck is full, it moves off the field to transfer the corn to a silo. In a recently harvested field up the road, a yellow CAT tractor is turning up the dirt with a disc harrow, breaking up the dry remains of the soybean plants. The wind is starting to pick up, lifting twisted yellow corn leaves into the air. They hover above the corn tassels, then swoop down and scuttle along the road like something alive.

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