I like to think that I am a grain cart operator, not just a driver. Over the years, however, I can recall two incidents that probably would call my skills into question.
The first happened almost 10 years ago. We were harvesting a rolling farm and this was the first year we farmed it. I ran the grain cart all day and into the evening. It became a very dark night and we were in the last field, way in the back of the farm surrounded by trees and ponds.
I dumped the cart and went back to the spot where I thought I was to meet the combine again and waited, and waited, and waited, for what seemed like forever. Then the two-way radio carrying the voice of my father-in-law broke the silence. "Where are you," he said. "My hopper is full!"
Panic set in, and I replied, "Where are you? I thought I was waiting where you told me to!" Did I mention how dark it was? And how the land had so many rolling hills I couldn't see the lights on the combine?
Then, over the two-way radio in the pitch black for all the world to hear I said, "I really don't know where I am!" I might have cried just a little.
The second happened just last week. Turns out, after 20 years' experience under your belt you let your guard down!
Chris called me last Friday and asked if I could operate the cart. Happy to oblige I stopped any productive housework that I might have been doing, grabbed my iPad and headed out the door.
I fueled the tractor and headed to the field. My father-in-law was just taking off the end rows as I arrived. I pulled, up put the tractor in neutral and waited. After I saw him give the international sign for "Where's the grain cart" I put the tractor into gear and got in position. But I couldn't get my speed right and as I looked down I realized my problem.
As the combine hopper is still filling and close to overflowing I had to announce over the two-way: "Hey stop the corn! I forgot to shift down from road gear!"
This is what it is like to work with me. On a positive note, I don't spill corn and can top a semi with the best of them!
The opinions of Jennifer Campbell are not necessarily those of Indiana Prairie Farmer or the Penton Farm Progress Group.