Pirouette in a John Deere Combine


Ever since the fall harvest of 2010, I’ve wanted to take one swoop of video of the four grain elevators visible from Section 24, Roosevelt Township, Pocahontas County in northwest Iowa.

CLICK on this map TO ENLARGE it. This map shows the location of the combine from which the video (below) was taken and the four grain elevators: Gilmore City, Rolfe, Havelock and Pocahontas. It also shows where I was raised, where my dad was born, and where he was raised.


On October 5, 2011, during soybean harvest, Dan Allen let me catch that video from inside his and his brother Roger’s combine. The day was quite windy and dusty. Otherwise I might have taken the video from outside of the combine cab. The quality of the video (below) is lousy and I learned to use different camera equipment if there is a “next time.” Still, I’m pleased I got all four grain elevators in this order: Gilmore City, Rolfe, Havelock and Pocahontas. The Rolfe and Pocahontas grain elevators are easy to see…Havelock not so easy. And, you might have to watch the first 20 seconds of the video two or three times to catch the grain elevator in Gilmore City.

To catch them all (anyway if your eyesight is like mine), play the video in full-screen mode. If you pause the video at about 12 seconds from the start, you’ll see on the horizon at the far right one large grouping of trees. To the left of that grouping is another large grouping of trees. There’s a little fuzzy area of whitish mass above that second grouping of trees. That is the Gilmore City grain elevator.

At about the 1:04 point, the Havelock grain elevator is pretty faint whitish/grayish on the horizon somewhat near the right edge of the video.

I’m thankful to Dan and Roger for humoring me by allowing me this (as Roger called it) “pirouette” in the combine. Next year during corn harvest I’ll try for better footage.

Remember…full-screen mode to catch all four elevators.


Mother painted grain elevators in three of these towns: Gilmore City, Rolfe and Pocahontas. The Gilmore City and Pocahontas grain elevators still stand. The Rolfe grain elevator in Mother’s watercolor was destroyed by fire in the fall of 1969.


"Railway Station and Grain Elevator" at Gilmore City, Iowa, painted in 1951. 17.25" W x 13.25" H limited edition prints are available, $35.


Pocahontas Grain Elevator II Prints are available in three sizes: Small (Limited Edition, ~10" W x ~12.3" H, $25), Grand (~ 17.9" W x 22" H, $50) and Largest ($70).


Rolfe grain elevator watercolor by Marion Gunderson, circa 1950. In 1969 this grain elevator was destroyed by fire.


The originals of these three grain elevator paintings will be on display at Art On the Prairie in Perry, Iowa, this weekend, November 12 and 13, 2011. Prints will also be available, with all profits going to the Rolfe Public Library.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)


7 Responses to “Pirouette in a John Deere Combine”

  1. jeff moore Says:

    Fun! Thanks!

  2. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    You are welcome, Jeff. When in the combine that day, I figured everything in the video would be plain as day. Now it is sort of confusing to me what is where. All the more reason for me to try again next year. Maybe you can be with me in the combine then!

  3. Clara Hoover Says:

    My initial thought when reading “pirouette in a John Deere combine” was that Dan was doing wheelies or perhaps something similar to the John Deere tractor square dancing. But then I remembered your talking about being in the combine and having Dan turn so you could see the four elevators. Really neat. I found them, but I knew where to look.

    When I’m out walking up the hill on the road west of Gunderland, I can actually see five elevators. Plover’s is the fifth. Not all at once because I think some trees hide the Gilmore City elevator for a while. So that’s your challenge next fall: Get all five elevators in your “pirouette.”

  4. Louise Gunderson Shimon Says:

    Oh boy, the pressure is on. I’m going to have to video from Section 24 AND Section 13! I hope I can get five grain elevators. That would be really fun. Thank you for the challenge, Clara! Hey, maybe next year you and I will be there together! That would be double the fun.

  5. Clara Hoover Says:

    I think Cornwell’s corner is the highest spot. I’m not sure if the Gilmore City elevator is visible from there, but we can certainly find out.

  6. Marti Says:

    When I saw the headline for your post, I immediately thought of the square dancing tractors you and I enjoyed in Perry. This was really interesting along with your explanation and map. Dan and Rog are so helpful. The mold was broken when they were made!

  7. Peg Moore Says:

    “Want me to come down an’ promenade with ya?” Clever. 🙂

    Ingenious idea, Louise! ❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: