few called him bubba

The last picture I took of Wes

(My final blog for 2016 – although it is 2017 – and it’s the very hardest to write. I’ve been mulling this one in my head for a long time. I’ve thought of all the things I’ve wanted to say for over a year and yet the words don’t come easy. I pray that God gives me the story and the words and the healing my heart is needing by writing this letter.)

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whaz uuuuuuppppppppp???

Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do!

We’ve moved to job #3. We’re in the same area we have been for the past several years – just on different ground. We’re helping Ryan and Casey Graham for the time being. It seems like the weather just doesn’t want to cooperate for staying in a routine. The whole summer feels like this. 

Today, I’m looking forward to the arrival of Curt, Jamie, the kids and Callie. It sure will be fun to have them around for several days. I’m anxious to see how Eli likes being in the combine. He may not want to leave. 🙂

To get caught up on what we’ve been up to and where we’ve been, click here – it will take you to the High Plains Journal All Aboard Harvest website and blog. It seems that I just don’t have it in me to write two blogs. As soon as this project is complete, I’ll jump back over here and keep up with the “what’s up” with the Z Crew.

The heat is cranking up – BIG TIME – for the Midwest. This will make it tough on the truck drivers in the fields and anyone else not able to get in the air conditioning. Be safe and happy harvest!!
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.

One of the hottest days we’ve experienced and had to clean the combine. Not pretty.

Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.

For more pictures and “what’s up”, be sure to check out the All Aboard Harvest site.

the final months of 2015

Sometimes, it just doesn’t feel good to sit in front of the computer anymore.

It seems I’ve been in front of the computer screen on a daily basis the past 2 months. I think I’m ready to load up the Beast and head south again! Before the new year gets much further into January, I’ve got to update my pictures and print my blog for the year. So, with that, let me tell you a condensed version of what’s been going on. One day soon (I hope), I will get the want to sit down and write again…

So, let’s back up to September. We had great weather for the proso millet harvest. The pickup header took a little getting used to for me. Seems like just about the time I sorta felt like I may have it figured out, it was over. And those of you who know me, know that the end of harvest is NEVER easy for me. Even though I was anxious to get home to see the kids, the daily routine and excitement of harvest was over.

IMG_0115The millet had to be swathed before the combines could pick the rows up. This was usually done about a week before the combine followed.

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love in the shape of a red balloon

Throughout my many days of sitting behind the steering wheel of a combine, you see lots of “things” in the field…old machinery parts, oil buckets, seed bags, dead animals, deer antlers, swimming pools and even kids’ outdoor toys. Most of the machinery parts were lost during the working of the ground or planting of the crop. The rest can be attributed to the wind – except for the dead animals, of course.

I’ve seen a number of helium balloons. Some fields and locations within our harvest journey seem to collect more than usual. It’s almost as if those locations are on some sort of helium balloon jet stream. In my mind, I imagine that after balloons have been set free from the hands who have held them, they make their way into this helium balloon jet stream which carries them as far as it will allow. Then, the balloon that had been gracefully floating through the sky, hits some sort of cloud wall or turbulence, tumbles back to earth and lands in a field.

The fields we cut in Eastern Colorado must be in the direct balloons-falling-back-to-earth path. I used to get excited when I first saw a balloon here or there (I don’t know why). Sometimes I would stop to see what sort of celebration might have been happening at the time the balloon was allowed to enter the balloon jet stream. Birthdays and congratulations seem to make the top of the list.

On one particular September afternoon, while rolling through the millet field, a bouquet of red balloons caught my eye. “Interesting!”, I thought. “This is something you don’t see as often as the typical mylar balloon”. I kept going. Something entered my head, though, that made me back up, stop and get out of the Beast. I wanted to see what it was that made this find so different from the others.

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it’s not the same as being there

IMG_9235Spending a bit of time with these goofballs while we were home was the best!

I’m usually amazed at just how fast the days and weeks go while we’re on harvest. Not so much right now.

I think it’s a combination of a couple of things. I think the #1 reason it’s dragging is the fact that most of the family unit is at home. Well…sort of. Jenna is busy with farm shows (Farm Progress in Decatur, IL right now) and won’t be “home, home” for a while yet. The rest of the family keeps me informed of what’s going on with Snapchat, Twitter and a text here and there. It isn’t the same as being there! I don’t care how wonderful Facetime is…it’s just not the same as being there.

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final days of wheat harvest 2015

Most of these pictures don’t need any “splainin”.

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the end of wheat harvest 2015

Yep! You read that right. Just about as quickly as it began, it was over. Jim doesn’t agree with me when I said we’d only actually cut wheat for 3.5 weeks this summer. I didn’t write the dates down but I know it went awfully fast. It wasn’t supposed to be over this quickly. It happens, though, when the timing of jobs and weather come into play.

Normally, after we finish with our acres in Limon, we clean up, pack up, load up and head for Jordan, MT. (my most favorite place to be during the summer) Not this year. The weather dealt a rough hand for the Z Crew this year. The wheat in Limon was set back due to the late season freeze on Mother’s Day weekend. The wheat in Jordan was moved ahead of schedule because of heat and lack of rain. These two circumstances clashed and made our schedule unworkable.

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