My Job

I know, I know, I’ve been off the grid for a while and this is where I have been.  It is the scale house on the farm, where trucks from the field stop to be weighed and unloaded.

My job is to register the weight and record the moisture content before dumping the grain into pits where augers and legs will route it to the bins.

This is what it looks like from the outside.

My little red shack is on the left, the corn dryer is on the right and the scale is in between.

Here I am unloading corn.

I hate this trailer because it hates me.  I swear the roller bearings on the dump doors are square.  It takes all I have to turn that crank.  When it is near the end of a twelve hour day and well below freezing with a 40 mph wind roaring around the bins, it takes more than I have to open the doors.

Working on the farm reminds me of my days in the steel foundry.  There is a lot of big stuff in motion and all of it is looking for an opportunity to crush you, so no matter how tired you are or how cold or late the hour, you have to stay on your toes and trust nothing.

Today is a good day.  Snow has shut down the combines, so I get the first day off in a while.  Still, I would not have it any other way.

Here is a more peaceful shot from the bean harvest.


Author: Almost Iowa

55 thoughts on “My Job”

  1. Well, it seems like you have a terrific reason for being away! I can see why you enjoy that so much. It must be very rewarding and in many ways, relaxing..:)
    Have fun!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing a bit of your life, Greg. Harvest season must be just about over. Then it will be time for a long winter’s nap, or perhaps posting another blog or two. 🙂 –Curt

      1. Oh, poor Greg… But maybe you love it. It being so cold you can’t operate the latches doesn’t sound like much fun to me, however! Is this a late harvest or normal? –Curt

  3. That final shot of the bean harvest causes my heart to ache for missing the farm. Thank you for sharing that as well as the reality of just how hard farming can be. You are wise to remain alert at all times to the dangers that lurk, especially in the weariness of these days and nights.

    1. The average farm in Minnesota is 346 acres. My brother-in-law farms about ten times that many acres. The truth is that most small farms rent their land to larger operators. Around here, most people who farm small holdings, make their living off the farm.

  4. Welcome back! I was hoping you were just busy and not quitting the blog world. As for your job, it sounds tough but satisfying. When I lived in rural Kansas, one of my favorite times of the year was harvest. The farmers were harvesting winter wheat, and when it was ready, time was of the essence to get it to the town’s grain elevator. The elevator ran day and night, and so many people put so much effort into harvest, as in those days, the town’s economy was partially dependent on a good harvest. Glad to see that people are still working to make that happen…although I know that’s easy for me to say, since I’m not the one in the little red shack!

    1. time was of the essence to get it to the town’s grain elevator

      Planting and harvesting always comes first, it is not unusual to hear, “looks like a stretch of rain, maybe it is a good time to deliver that baby.”

    1. It does. I took a shot of the bin site against a soft pastel sunset. It was a perfect blend of industry superimposed on nature – but my phone refused to render it like it looked.

  5. Hey! Great to see your post. Your absence was noted – and I’m relieved to hear it was for non-medical or other troubling issues.

    I’ve always wondered what went on at those ginormous structures. Thanks for the overview.

    The closest I’ve come to the same process is one summer helping with the corn harvest on a small 100 acre farm. The gravity bins were brought to the barn and the auger carried the corn to the storage chamber – Was it a silo? I can’t recall. I could say it was the silo and you wouldn’t care one way or another, but I must be factual in my reveries.


    “My Job” was to ensure that the corn was constantly moving toward the auger – that it didn’t find the angle of repose and stop. I had a heck of an ache between the shoulder blades for a few days afterwards, but I had fun helping out.

    1. angle of repose

      Now you did it. [a trigger warning would have been nice] 😦

      You got me looking up the angle of repose for soy beans, corn and wheat. 🙂

  6. Holy moly – I didn’t realized you worked at anything besides writing content that kept all your readers on the edge of their inbox. Family farm? Now, that makes my pulse quicken because if I lived closer I’d volunteer to help you there. That’s my idea of retirement, well, except for those things that try to crush you. Glad to hear from you and know that you are busy but well. 🙂

  7. I, too, thought you were retired. Or living a life of humorous leisure. I am awed by the pictures and the descriptions. I guess grain just doesn’t magically appear. Actually, if I thought about it at all, it would take place on a large corporate farm where machines did everything at the push of a computer button. Is this a family farm?

      1. I don’t know a lot about farming, but what I know is from a neighbor/farmer. Where we live is fairly rural, but this is the closest farm in the region. It’s run by 3 generations and they struggle. Land is soooooooo valuable here for houses. I know they have sold off some. They definitely are making it, but I feel it is constant work and maybe constant worry for them.

  8. Glad to see you’re still around always learn and often laugh while reading your posts. Glad to know you’re so on your toes and staying safe, as well.

    1. Oh, I am still around – just busy with the harvest – except when it snows and rains, and it looks like it might be doing too much of that.

      1. Have you ever heard of Odebolt, Iowa? Are y’all close to that teeny tiny town? I have relatives there who are harvesting now too.

  9. Lots of good memories here, although by the time I finished reading, I felt the need to go find a sweater and some socks. Well, and maybe to sing a chorus of “Bringing In The Sheaves” — even though there aren’t any sheaves here. There’s nothing quite like coming home from work and thinking, “Dang. I did survive.”

    1. That photo of the bean harvest is classic. Not a great photo, not a lot of drama or natural beauty – but it captures the essence of the region during early harvest.

      1. Oh! Yeah, it’s been pretty bad & likely will be for another 3 years or so (maybe after). Absolutely extra work to delete the nasty comments & question what was meant for the subtler snide ones. 😦
        So, we all may not able to say we’ll always have Paris, but luckily we can say we’ve still got WordPress. 🙂

  10. Phew! Looks like a massive operation.
    Not so cold yet here in southern Ontario… up around 50 f. degrees but seems to be quickly dropping from the recent 70’s. Keep warm!

    1. We had a storm blow in on Thursday night. It shut us down for most of the weekend. The combines get plugged up when there is snow clinging to the corn – but we are starting again tomorrow morning.

  11. I guess I didn’t realize you worked harvest. Bet that is some tough times in that cold wind. It is really cold here. Love the harvest time.

    1. It would be more fun if the crop prices were higher. Everyone is losing money this year. It is one thing to work hard, it is another to lose money working hard.

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