we’ve got a starting point!

One of the many “prairie skyscrapers” we saw on our adventure. This one was in Perryton, TX. 

We decided at the very last minute to go. I had been asking if we would be attending the annual Safety Day in Colby, KS for quite some time. I know it’s difficult for Jim to make any commitments this time of year because of the work he has ahead of him. And if the weather is good, he’s got to focus on getting equipment ready for the harvest run. However, it’s been a bit chilly and rainy. So on Thursday morning, he decided we would go. 

The Safety Day starts Friday morning. “I have an afternoon bus route to do and won’t be home until approximately 5:30.” Because he wouldn’t commit, I had already told one of the regular route drivers I would help him out. 

When I arrived at the school, I told Callie what would be happening. She had no idea. But why would she? I told her we would be leaving that night but wouldn’t be home until Sunday night because dad wanted to take a drive to look at a possible job near Amarillo, TX. Surprise!

 Kent Braathen of Braathen Harvesting (Grand Forks, ND) had to make a trip to the area for business. It was a lot of fun getting to meet his 2016 crew. All of them made the trip to the USA from South Africa. Left to right…Greg, Kent, AJ, Zyn, Dan and Tiaan. What a GREAT group of guys!! And so interested in our low-budget operation. Hope to run into these guys again somewhere along the journey this year. 

It was a late night by the time we parked the pickup in the parking lot of the Colby Days Inn. And an early morning wake-up call. We had been invited to breakfast by Jim Deibert of JKD Harvesting. Jim is also the organizer of the Safety Day. For those of you familiar with The Great American Wheat Harvest movie, Jim and his crew were one of five crews featured in the story. (He’s the one with all the foreign employees and newer John Deere combines.)

Jim did a fine job of representing New Holland and Kan Equip while attending the meeting! 

We left the meeting before it was over to begin our adventure to Texas. We wanted to get to Amarillo before too much of the day was gone. We drove in rain all the way from Colby to Texas. Most farmers between these two points were probably pretty darn happy the rainmakers were back in town! We didn’t even need to drag the Beast with us! 

So…it was supper time by the time we got there. Jim knew exactly where he wanted to go. A place he had seen on tv and while passing through town in the past – The BIG Texan Steak Ranch. He said he wasn’t up to the 72oz steak. ūüėä (Maybe another time)

We ended up spending the night at the hotel that was just across the parking lot. As we opened the door, Jim said, “Now, THIS makes it feel like we’re on vacation!” And here is why:

The next morning, we made our way east of Amarillo to visit with a farmer about cutting his wheat. The best part of the job we have is dealing with really good people. A fellow harvester knew we were in trouble with the beginning of our 2016 run and suggested we make the contact. What we encountered was some of the flattest wheat acres we’ve ever seen and the opportunity to meet more good people! We were blessed all the way around. It looks like we have a place to start…thank God! The farmer said he thought we’d be in the field June 6. 

After our visit, the farmer suggested we take a quick trip to see the Palo Duro Canyon. All I could say was, WOW! This is the 2nd largest canyon in the United States. Want to guess what is first?

We finally saw some Texas sunshine and boy did it feel good! I have a feeling the next time we’re in this area, it won’t be quite as lovely (the Texas sun). 

And who couldn’t stop along the road and take advantage of a few pics of some real Texas Longhorns?

Our day ended by going back to Jim Deibert’s shop to partake in his annual cream can celebration. He had a large crowd of family, friends and employees gathered for a great time. I believe he estimated approximately 100 people in attendance. 

I finally got to meet the famous Jordan Taylor of J. Taylor Photography. If you have never seen his pictures (especially of the 2014 harvest), you’ve got to take the time to visit his Facebook page and also his website

The first time I sorta met Kelly and Warwick Denton was in Omaha at the 2016 USCHI annual convention. I was surprised to see them at the party and also to learn they will be joining JKD Harvesting on the wheat run. I think I heard that Warwick will be driving truck and Kelly has taken on the job of cook. And what a challenge that could be! She’ll be cooking for a crowd of about 20 every day. Kelly and Warwick are from New Zealand. Kelly has a Facebook page – Karen Denton (Kelly). I told her she should begin a blog and write about her adventures. If she does create one, I’ll share the link in another post. Their story is a fun one to hear!

We spent the night in Colby again and woke up to more rain. Rain..it’s a good thing…especially while wheat is “filling”. We “mosied” home at a turtle’s pace as there was no hurry. 

So glad to know we have one large stress eliminated…where to start. The reason this is even a cause of concern is because the job we usually start our season at (Shattuck, OK) turned their wheat acres into cow food. 100% of the acres we have cut in the past were being grazed. We saw quite a few fields with cattle in them on our trip. 

What now? Well, first we gotta get Callie graduated (5/14). And then…it’s crunch time!!! The Cottage will need to be packed, lots of hours and late nights of preparation, loading equipment and back to two trips to get everything to the first job. As you will recall, last year was the FIRST time (and will be the LAST time) we were able to get everything moved in one trip. It looks like it may be lining up to be just Jimbo and me this summer. 

Stay tuned…

the past six weeks in a nutshell

It’s been six weeks. ¬†Did you miss me?

The one true reason I started writing in the first place was to provide my family a written document of what has taken place at this time in history. I print my blogs from year to year so some day they will have something to look back on. I sort of blew it.

It actually feels a lot longer ago than just six weeks, to tell you the truth. We got home from Montana with the final load on September 23. And then it began…as though I had never left. The real world took over and the clock (and calendar) won out! My days have been full – too full! Could we just step back and jump into that harvest world again? No? You mean I really will have to wait for six more months to be back in my Cottage on Wheels?

What I’d really like to do is jump back into blogging beginning with today. Well, maybe a week ago would be better. However, my brain would never allow me to do that. You see, to begin now with the end-of-the-harvest story never really being told, well…that’s just not right. So, I’m going to step back to the point I left off and tell the story. I suppose, because sometimes I get long-winded, I may have to break this up for you. BUT, if I stop writing, I may never finish. So, I’ll keep writing and writing and when it becomes too long for one post, I will just continue it to the next day. Deal? Deal!

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condensing the journey

img_13812As the water swirled down the kitchen sink, I became aware that it was probably the last sink of dishes I will do in the Cottage in 2014. Suddenly everything I do tonight takes on a whole different feel.

Yep, the 2014 harvest journey is officially over. Tomorrow morning will be the first trip headed in the direction of home. The Beast will be waiting for our return in a few days.

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the northward trek – day 2

photo 1 (20) - CopyOur day started out foggy and cool. This is Scottsbluff minus the top half.

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nebraska to montana – montana to nebraska

In my previous post, scenes from j & t’s excellent adventure parts 3 & 4 (cont.), I left you with the arrival at “home, home”. ¬†This gets a little confusing with referring back to posts but if you need to be reminded where we are from this point with the pictures I posted, you can refer back to¬†scenes from j & t’s excellent adventure parts 3 & 4.¬†

After we got home, we TRIED to turn on the water, went through mail and whatnot. The next morning, we packed for a week and headed to Grand Island for Husker Harvest Days. We ran into all kinds of people we knew – including the Miseners.

IMG_4600Entering Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island, NE.

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scenes from j & t’s excellent adventure-parts 3 & 4 (cont.)

I’m not sure where this is going to lead but my intentions are to share with you some of the scenes of our travels from Montana to Nebraska, back to Montana and then, finally, back to Nebraska again.

We’ve been “home, home” for two weeks. ONLY two weeks. Harvest feels like a dream. Callie and I made a trip to Omaha on Saturday in search of the perfect Homecoming dress. We met Jenna very briefly at the mall and had lunch with her but basically the day was just a me-and-Cal-day. This doesn’t happen very often. ¬†Anyways, she and I had some fairly deep discussions that day; one being about harvest. She and I agreed that unless you’re involved with harvest, you just can’t explain the feelings this industry creates deep down in your soul. We discussed how sad we were that there are people out there who haven’t any idea what a wonderful place Jordan, Montana is because it’s not within their 10 mile radius. Did we find the perfect dress? We found “plan B” dress. “Plan A” dress is on it’s way in the mail.

Continue reading

scenes from j & t’s excellent adventure-parts 3 & 4 (cont.)

I’m not sure where this is going to lead but my intentions are to share with you some of the scenes of our travels from Montana to Nebraska, back to Montana and then, finally, back to Nebraska again.

We’ve been “home, home” for two weeks. ONLY two weeks. Harvest feels like a dream. Callie and I made a trip to Omaha on Saturday in search of the perfect Homecoming dress. We met Jenna very briefly at the mall and had lunch with her but basically the day was just a me-and-Cal-day. This doesn’t happen very often. ¬†Anyways, she and I had some fairly deep discussions that day; one being about harvest. She and I agreed that unless you’re involved with harvest, you just can’t explain the feelings this industry creates deep down in your soul. We discussed how sad we were that there are people out there who haven’t any idea what a wonderful place Jordan, Montana is because it’s not within their 10 mile radius. Did we find the perfect dress? We found “plan B” dress. “Plan A” dress is on it’s way in the mail. Continue reading