Help at harvest: Neighbors aid Castle Rock farmer after he loses equipment in fire
When Jim Meyer's shed housing his tractors, wagons and combine went up in flames, his neighbors stepped in to make sure his harvest schedule barely missed a beat.
Meyer doesn't farm a huge amount of acres — about 100 acres total of corn and soybeans — but he had nearly a quarter of it left when the fire started.
With no equipment to bring in the crop himself, he knew he would need help.
"I knew somebody would help me, somewhere down the line," Meyer said. "And I'll tell them the same thing: When they're done (with their farms), don't drop anything."
His neighbors didn't exactly follow Meyer's instructions. The shed on his family farm burned down, taking with it his tractors, wagons and combine Nov. 14, and by Nov. 18, his neighbors had finished the harvest with him.
"Farms are getting bigger ... but (neighbors are) still willing to drop everything and help," Meyer said.
Jim Osmond, Meyer's neighbor of 50 years, said he and Meyer have been there to help each other before. They grew up together, joined 4-H together and played softball together, Osmond said, and if one is stuck in the field, the other is there to pull him out.
Neighbor Jim Perry and his son Matt stepped up to take out the beans.
"I still get phone calls from people wanting to help," Meyer said.
Now that harvest is over, Meyer will have to concentrate on cleaning up the remnants of the shed and what was once farm equipment outside of his full-time job with CenterPoint Energy.
He said the fire department could not determine the cause of the fire.
Meyer works the family farm that his father bought in the 1950s. He remembers building the 120-by-70 pole shed with his dad and three older brothers in the late 50s.
"I never thought it would burn," Meyer said.
Some of the equipment destroyed in the blaze was also his father's, including an Oliver 1655 tractor bought in the 1970s that he had been hoping to someday restore.
Meyer is considering renting out his land until he can rebuild the shed and rethink the future.
"If I do decide to get back into farming ... I think first I'll let the dust settle," he said.