Combining Wheat

[Pierre, South Dakota, July22, 1983]

In the coin laundry we met a young farmer also doing his washing. We struck up a conversation about farming, crops, weather and things farmers talk about. He had bought his own self-propelled combine and was doing custom thrashing all through the plains. He lived in Kansas and started out in early summer zig-zagged his way northward through Nebraska and the Dakotas combining for wheat farmers as their grain ripened. After he found out we were ex-farmers, he asked us how the wheat looked in western South Dakota as we came through. "Well", I said, "It looked like a good heavy crop, but not quite as ripe as it is here, near Pierre. In another week or so it probably would be just about right."

He said, " That's what I was figuring. So I think I'll move on in that direction next instead of turning north just yet".

After finding out we were heading north to Bismark, North Dakota, he told us to be sure to notice the great fields of flax. "It's the flax capital of the world", he said.

A flax field covered with the blue blossoms was something new to us. At a distance it could be mistaken for a deep blue lake. However, lakes are a scarce item in that part of the country.

In Bismark the capitol building stood out on the skyline from miles away, as it was the only tall building in the city. The interior was quite outstanding with its bronze pillars and walls of yellow and black polished marble. Seemed to be a real modern building.

After touring the building, since it was still early in the day, we went on to Fargo to spend the night.

Charles E. Page 2004