a few days ago

It feels like just a few days ago. But, in fact, it’s been over two weeks already that we left our Colorado “home” and traveled back to our Eastern Nebraska “home, home”.  The days just go too fast (and faster the older I get).

The last post I wrote for All Aboard will better explain what our last days in Colorado looked like. Head on over there by clicking here.

After the first trip home, home. Frank didn’t cause me a lick of problems. Besides the issue we had at the very start of the season, we got along just fine. 

Rollin on the floor with Papa. After we got home, we spent the night at Curt and Jamie’s house. We left the Cottage in Colorado for the second trip home. 

If Ben could talk, I’m sure he’d be saying, “What have I got myself into?”

After we made the first trip home with Frank/header trailer and the Pete/Shop trailer, we had to return to Colorado after the combine and the trailer house. We loaded the combine the afternoon we got back so we could be back on the road the next day.

Ready to hit the road the final time for the 2017 harvest season. 

There’s so much beauty in this country! Just look at all those colors (no filter)!

We watched this thunderstorm build east of us all afternoon. 

Jim – “I know I can make it under this underpass (Goodland, Kansas), but I’m going to take it really slow.”

Turning north just outside of Colby, Kansas.

We were hoping to make it as far as Norton, Kansas for the night. The sun set way sooner than Jim was figuring. We ended up parking in a rest area just shy of Norton, caught up to the storm and watched the BEST lightning storm we’d seen all summer. It was amazing!

The final turn of the season – back to the very farm we began our journey in June…we’d made a full circle!

High five to another successful season! We certainly had our trials this year…more than usual…and it seemed one new adventure after another. But, we made it back with no major health or equipment incidents. And for that…it WAS truly a success!!

We’ve seen more rain since we’ve been home than we saw all summer. Crazy amounts! Due to all of the moisture, the fall crops have barely been touched around here. Although there’s nothing we can do about the weather, it certainly causes unneeded stress for the farmers and harvesters. And time just keeps marching on.

Jim was able to get The Beast back in action. The ground had been so saturated, they started working on the corn – even though the soybeans are more than ready to be cut. He made the switch to soybeans two days ago. He came home after the first day exhausted because the header was constantly pushing mud and then he was having to dig it out of the header. There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to just do the job and can’t.

Soon after we got home, the kids came over to play and spend the night with me in the trailer house. So much fun!!!!!!!!!!

Before Papa had to leave, Eli said, “Gamma, take a picture of me and Ben and Papa.” Okay!

The week has held some warm temps so this is helping to dry out the ground. Unfortunately, yesterday’s problem had him reliving the Massey days. The air conditioner blower was dealing him a fit – no blower means the cab gets real hot, real fast. He said he dug out his little trucker fan to help move the air but it got pretty hot about 2:00 when the sun started getting low in the sky. He was hoping today would be a better day – and I do too as it’s supposed to be near 80 degrees again.

As I figured, harvest would feel like a dream after being back home for a few days. It seems like everything just sort of picked up where we left off in June. Besides the obvious emptying and cleaning of our Home of Wheels, there are spiders (LARGE) to kill in the house, cobwebs to clean, grass that needs mowed, weeds that need pulled and the clock to watch. Definitely not harvest routine.

We celebrated Callie with a family bonfire, hotdogs, s’mores and the annual DQ ice-cream cake (thanks to Wyatt). Happy 20th birthday, Cal!

I started cleaning out the largest of the flower beds first. I can now check that off my list. The next thing on my list was washing the outside of the trailer house. It hasn’t been done for several years and I knew it was necessary after this summer. I took the first warm day and washed the roof. Dawn detergent, water, a good brush and lots of elbow grease soon turned that brown roof to white. Yesterday was spent on the body of the trailer. Jim asked me this morning, before he left, “How long did it take you to wash the trailer?” My reply…ALL DAY! I don’t think he believed me but it did. I started late morning and took a break when it was half done but it was probably after 5:00 by the time I had all the hose, brushes and ladder put away. Talk about a great feeling! It was worth every sore muscle to see the shiny sides of that trailer house again. It’s now ready for its winter home. This year…we will be better about trying to prevent this spring’s fiasco – the mouse mess.

Today and tomorrow will be in upper 70’s, nearing 80 degrees again. More rain in the forecast for Saturday but after that – dry again. I believe this fall harvest just might last until Christmas!

(Picture credit: Joe Konen)

(Picture credit: Joe Konen)

(Video credit: Joe Konen)

 

using your words

 

Each of the kids showing off the gifts they picked out just for me. I LOVED THEM!

I celebrated a birthday on Saturday. Everyone has them and mine was no more special than anyone else’s. However, there were a few things that made this one stand out this year.

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birthdays and holidays

The past two months have been busy but not crazy, busy. Wait a minute…who am I kidding? It’s always crazy, busy trying to keep up with the family and all that’s going on.

Not only did we celebrate the big holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) but also a couple of birthdays, too.

Less than two weeks after Colten and Taylor’s wedding, we celebrated Thanksgiving. Our family gathering was near 100% that day…we were missing Jenna. (She made a trip to Colorado that weekend.)

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since returning “home, home”

img_5701Fall harvest near the Henry Doorly Zoo Safari Park – Mahoney/Ashland exit. (Picture credit goes to Wayne Skoda)

Sometimes, the hardest part about writing is just sitting down and making the fingers start moving!

The time since we got “home, home” has been a bit of a blur. Between emptying and cleaning the “Cottage on Wheels” and getting ready for Taylor’s wedding, not much time has been given to anything else. I’m not going to go into Taylor’s wedding with this post – it deserves its own spot in our book. So, what I will do is try to relive the last eight weeks, or so, without boring you (hopefully).

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We weren’t on the road nearly as long as other harvesters this year. We arrived home with the last load on the 119th day of our journey…the 29th of September. Jim was in the combine cutting soybeans the very next day. Fall harvest for me doesn’t exist. I didn’t even go out and ride in the combine once this fall. I like to make it out there at least one afternoon while the corn is being picked because I love to watch the corn dance in the header. Somehow, it just wasn’t something that was thought about. Both the beans and corn had amazing yields due to the 40+ inches of rain this part of the country received over the summer. Jim was worried about finding mud holes but the weather cooperated and his worries were needless. We just talked about rain and whether or not it occurred during harvest last night and he said there really was none to speak of. There was one afternoon that it showered on them while picking corn but they pushed through it (and made a mess of the Beast).

img_5702Picture credit goes to Wayne Skoda

img_5703Picture credit goes to Wayne Skoda

While Jim was in the combine, I was here at home. My first concern was getting the trailer house emptied and cleaned out. It’s always a pain to me and made even more challenging because it signifies the end of the harvest. Even though I was really ready to get home this year to see the kids and grandkids, it’s still difficult to accept the finality of it all. This year…even a bit more of a challenge for me because I kept waiting for Callie to come home (just as she had been doing prior to our leaving in the spring) and it didn’t happen. The house was quiet. It hasn’t been this quiet since we moved here (October 1985). Jamie was born two months after we moved and it never had much of a break from the noise (except over the summer months) since.

img_5142The joys of getting to babysit Eli – everything else stops and you go play!

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img_5159A Nebraska sunset from the top bleacher at the EM football game.

img_5163Callie passing the tiara to the newest EM Homecoming Queen.  

There was some bus driving but the majority of my time was spent focusing on things to sew or make for the wedding. I was thankful for the amount of time I had because I didn’t feel the stress of being pushed to get it all done. There were fur shawls to create, dresses to hem, mints to make and shopping (and more shopping) to do. I didn’t even have a dress bought for myself. The wedding was already over a week ago. And it was beautiful! As I said, more on that later.

img_5189Family campfire in honor of Callie’s 19th birthday.

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img_5218Besides the wedding preps, we celebrated Callie’s 19th birthday (October 8), made a Halloween costume for Nora (Indian Princess), had a bridal shower, attended Laramie Farris’ funeral in Goodland, Kansas and celebrated Taylor’s 22nd birthday (same day as Laramie’s funeral).

img_5171Walking through Hobby Lobby to find wedding goods. Taylor so willingly modeled what she wanted her fur shawls to look like. Had to have something to use as my pattern. 

img_5322Callie and I carved 50 of these to be used as a “vase” for mums…decorations for Taylor’s bridal shower.

img_5314The bridal shower was a success! Held in the comforts of Mark and Candi’s new machine shed. The only negative? It was hot!

unnamedThe Indian Princess.

img_5524And…the cowboy!

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img_5265I ventured to Sidney, NE for a couple of days to help Matt and Tina pack. They headed for a new adventure in Olympia, WA and I hope it’s the best thing that’s happened to both of them! (although I will certainly miss them)

Laramie…she was supposed to be at the wedding. Being in Goodland and sitting in a packed school gymnasium was not on our calendar! Jim and I had just spent time with her in September. We weren’t supposed to be standing around a gravesite trying to figure out the why’s and how come’s and now what’s. We weren’t prepared to let her go. Not yet.  But something I’ve realized through all these school gym funerals is that we’re never prepared to say goodbye. Especially to the young people in our lives. Laramie touched so many lives for only being 19 years old – probably more than a lot of us touch in a lifetime. The news article said it was a single car rollover crash caused by a “distraction” in the car. The next time you think you need to text and drive…think of Laramie and a beautiful life that was cut short. Something that stuck with me from the funeral was the comment by the Pastor about how we tend to remember all the first times. It’s the last times that are so easily forgotten. The last time your child sat in your lap, the last time they needed your help, the last time you tucked them in bed, etc. The last times…

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img_5570I love this picture of Taylor & Laramie! They were certainly two of a kind!!

img_5569I remember the last time I spoke with Laramie. She never knew a stranger and she always made you feel like you were the most important person in her life.  Her zest for life was refreshing and her smile made everything feel okay. The other thing I took away from her funeral was, “until next time”. We’ll get on with our lives because that’s what we’re supposed to do. There will be reminders of Laramie in so many ways and occurrences. And that will have to do – until next time. Until the next time we see her again. And I will hold onto that truth!

img_5545Those of us who understand harvest and what it’s like to love people from all over will understand this. This was something Laramie posted this summer to help people better understand how she felt about the people in her life.

img_5614Taylor’s 22nd birthday – and also the day of Laramie’s funeral. The girls wore their boots in her honor.

img_5621The Kansas sunset as we were leaving Goodland and heading back home again.

Jim finished fall harvest Friday before the wedding – November 11. Perfect timing! For the past two days, I have been helping him get the equipment tucked back into the shed for the winter. The years seriously go faster and faster. To the point, I just can’t wrap my mind around how fast the days slip by. We’re looking at Thanksgiving and soon, Christmas…again. Maybe this year, I will actually get Christmas cards mailed again.

unnamed-2I got to tag along to the kids’ dentist appointments. 🙂

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unnamed-4Jim is so darn good at backing things up and especially into tight quarters. This is the first of many necessary steps taken to get everything in “our” shed. This is also a test of trust. I stand behind the item being backed in giving him directions via the telephone until it’s placed right where he wants it. Sometimes…he jumps out of the vehicle to make sure I’m giving him the right directions. Usually, I have. 🙂

img_5893The Pete is unhooked from the grain trailer and driven out to make room for the trailer house. Once the trailer is in place and the combine trailer has found its winter home, the Pete returns and sits on the other side of the Cottage.

img_5894The space to the right of the Cottage has been reserved for the Pete.

unnamed-5Rest up Frank, Pete & The Beast…see ya next spring!!

And now…it’s time to go drive bus!

 

 

the past six weeks in a nutshell – part 2

The next days of being home meant unloading the Cottage. You have to remember that when we left in June, I had basically loaded everything I would need from our house into the Cottage. The house was closed up to everyone and everything EXCEPT the spiders. They apparently went to work overtime this summer in making our home their home. The first thing I needed to do was recapture my home and send those nasty little devils on a hike (thanks to the vacuum cleaner)! Cleaning the Cottage is so much easier!

On Saturday morning, we were up early with a destination of Boone, IA – we being Curt, Jamie, Eli, Jim and me. Earlier in the summer, Jamie and I had purchased tickets to ride the train knowing how obsessed Eli is with trains. It was going to be Eli’s day of “go go’s”. I couldn’t wait to see his reaction once we got to the depot and he would see the trains. The day was gorgeous! A bit of a summery heat but it was better than too chilly!

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a month of celebrations

10257003_668897244524_7164288574946730326_nApril has whizzed on past and has left me wondering where the time goes!

HAPPY MAY DAY – well, a little late.

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Wordless Wednesday – Sweet Sixteen

Callie turned 16 yesterday. Hmmm…she was just a baby yesterday – my last baby.  Someone told me a long time ago how fast the years go. I had no clue til they were gone.

IMG_3129The night before, Taylor and I decorated the kitchen (a birthday tradition) and her car.

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