Charging elephant tractors harvesting Soybeans~ Or, How far can your hose reach?

This past week I watched as a farmer harvest his soybean crop in the neighboring field. I grabbed my camera and took a video as he roared past me, kicking up the usual intense dust storm, which always comes out of a soybean harvest.


The grey heavy dust had me coughing and teary eyed, I made a fruitless attempt to blink away the haze and itch behind my eyelids.

As I watched, twigs and rocks spray back onto the shaved off field.  The harvester moved slowly, roaring past me. 

Holding the camera in my right hand I waved with my left and the farmer waved back. I could barely see him between the dust and the darkness inside the cab.


Vibrations from the massive John Deere Harvester rippled under my feet. The tractor’s size and close proximity, passing a few feet/meters in front of me- reminded me of a charging elephant in a Tarzan movie.   


Add in a sunset and lengthening shadows.  Then toss in a thick, grey swirling dust cloud that quickly encompassed the world. 

 I could feel the hair rise on my neck. This scene had an eerie feel…  

I kept thinking something bad was about to happen.


Guess I’ve been watching too many horror movies…? Too close to Halloween..?


Uriah kept rolling his eyes and pacing. Finally, he gave up trying to get me to move away from the fence and walked back to the house.  Smart dog!


From across the field, on the end of ‘Bob’s’ property, I saw a flicker of light.


I headed up on the deck to get a better view.  I saw flames shooting up illuminating an old Oak tree that sat at the backend of his property. Not quite on ‘Bob’s’  land. It belongs to the farmer. 


 I haven’t lit a fire for a couple of months.

This summer’s air may have water soaked, but the ground and foliage has been very, very dry.  Dangerously dry!


I watched the flames licking at the lower tree branches and then blazed higher. Orange, red and yellow flames reached up into the branches, so bright I could make out each limb.  I was positive that tree was toast! 


About fifty feet, to the north, is a cornfield.  A very dry, not yet harvested- cornfield.


The farmer’s tractor’s lights glowed white; I noticed a second tractor in that field. I have never seen a soybean field stripped that fast. I wondered, if they were worried that fire?


When I couldn’t stand on the deck and breathe, I headed inside.


By midnight the air had cleared.


The fire was out, it hadn’t spread. (Add sigh of relief here)

Still today I am wondering, “What was that guy thinking- lighting a fire when a field was being harvested?”


Any thoughts on this?


12 thoughts on “Charging elephant tractors harvesting Soybeans~ Or, How far can your hose reach?”

  1. The farmers were probably burning the debris from the harvest. Some farmers will mulch the vines, stalkes and straw back into the soil. But depending on the composition of the soil this may be costly so farmers will burn it instead. We both liked the video. We will have to show the kids tomorrow.

    1. Sharon & Dan,
      Farmers won’t light a fire while they are harvesting. The air is too dry and the engine on their tractors generates too much heat. They do burn weeds and branches later. This fire was set by someone who wasn’t thinking.

      When soybeans are harvested it is like no other harvest, the air is thick with debris. I never know when they are going to start; I always hope I will remember to close the windows immediately.

      Have you shown the boys the video of the deer? It’s on Youtube. If you can’t find it, just Google me, ‘Gerardine Baugh Youtube.’

  2. Wow that photo does put off a eerie vibe. I don’t like harvest time, the dust and pollen thatit throws into the air is murder on my allergies.

    I couldn’t tell ya what would ever possess someone to light a fire after the summer we have had. In our county we still have a burn ban in effect. Glad it was put out before it could spread and cause damage.

    1. Heather,
      After I wrote this I was talking to Michael, he pointed out, how tall the grass was around the burn pile. We haven’t burned branches or weeds since this past spring- due to this hot summer.

      I was really surprised; he said I should have just looked in the mirror. Funny man! I have to admit, when I do try and light a fire, I lose my eyebrows. I still have them…lol!

      For safety- I usually just allow the foliage to decompose back into the soil.

      It has been a bad year for allergies. My husband also has bad allergies and asthma.
      I hope you feel better!

  3. ah superb, seems like this monster of a machine detrimental to harvest can be daunting, loved the story and the video, u are becoming very experienced with that camera dear and we are reaping the benefits, well done xxx

    hope everyone is healthy and happy xx

    1. William,

      Thank you! I wore out that first camera after 8 months, this one I had exactly a month.. And its not working right, a line runs through it after I have it on for more than an hour.
      Back to the store tomorrow, they may close up when they see me hobbling in again. lol!

      I find it all a lot of fun. I hope you are doing well!
      Gerardine xx

    1. Lawrenceez,
      Thanks, it was really dusty; I kept taking pictures of the dust particles. After this was taken I took my camera in to get repaired, not from this dust, it never seemed to work right when I had it on longer than an hour. I am going through camera withdrawal. Hope you are well.

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