and baby makes three

If you’ve been following along with the All Aboard Wheat Harvest harvest blog updates, you’ll know that we’re home. Something that is unheard of for this time of year. The last time I was home in July was in 1989…Jamie was 4 and Jenna just a little more than a year. The weirdest part of the whole deal was thinking about how much work it took to get ready to go and then only being away for like 42 days. But, God had a different plan for us.

In November, when Jamie announced to us she was expecting, I immediately counted the months and was so disappointed when I realized that baby #3 was going to be born while we were somewhere in the middle of a wheat field. We SHOULD be in Colorado at that time. Maybe I can get a few days away and come home to help. Little did I know, God’s plan had us coming home at just the right time! We cut as many acres as we could and with the last few days of being away the anxiety started to set in. I was concerned about making it home on time. Baby was due July 17…we didn’t leave Chadron until July 19th. But God had every single, little detail perfectly orchestrated to allow us to be home at the exact moment.

Back to the land of corn and soybeans.

“Play with us Gramma!”

Just look at the height of that corn! I’m certain it’s the heat and HIGH humidity that grows corn like that. It’s so humid here, you can hardly breath. It’s like breathing a cloud!

Just look at that belly!

An Eastern Nebraska sunset…minus the combine.

Jamie had a doctor’s appointment on July 18. He said she didn’t look at all like she was ready to go into labor so when she told me that, it made things a little easier knowing we would, in fact, be home for the arrival. She made it to her NEXT appointment on Monday, July 24th. The kids spent the night with me in the trailer house so Curt just took her to Omaha. She had started some contractions throughout the night so knew something was happening. She called after the appointment to let us know they were going to do a stress test to make sure all was okay. The call following that test was to let me know she was progressing perfectly and she was just going to stay in Omaha – walk the malls or something to get labor to happen a bit faster (if she could). She ended up staying in Omaha all day and late in the afternoon, headed to the hospital. We were packed and ready to go (me and the kids) but the text we got about 7:00 said she wasn’t moving along very fast. So, we opted to just stick around the house for the night. I was certain she’d have the baby that night but just not sure how long it was going to take.

At 10:30, Jamie Facetimed me and Jim to let us know Ben Joseph had been born at 9:58 and she could tell he was a bigger baby than the other two. The nurses don’t weigh the babies and take vitals as soon after birth as they used to. Jamie said they leave the baby alone with mom for at least an hour before they do all that. So we waited to hear…9 lbs 1 oz and 22″ long. Ben came charging out like a linebacker breaking his collarbone on the way out.

(Photo credit – Taylor Josoff Photography)

(Photo credit – Taylor Josoff Photography)

(Photo credit – Taylor Josoff Photography)

Meeting their brother for the very first time.

(Photo credit – Taylor Josoff Photography)

(Photo credit – Taylor Josoff Photography)

(Photo credit – Taylor Josoff Photography)

(Photo credit – Taylor Josoff Photography)

(Photo credit – Taylor Josoff Photography)

(Photo credit – Taylor Josoff Photography)

(Photo credit – Taylor Josoff Photography)  Hey Ben…this is your Gaw. I think we’re gonna get along just fine!

This is where Nora instructed her mama to “put that baby in my hand”!

Sistas!

I literally clicked her in her car seat, walked to the driver’s side and turned around. She didn’t even make it out of the parking spot! It was a pretty big day for a little girl.

I’ve spent the last two days playing gramma with Eli and Nora. I know they’re anxious for mom’s return (later tonight) but in the meantime, I’m going to soak up all these special moments as long as I can. I won’t get to have much time with Ben until we return in October but being here for the time I have been has definitely been a blessing – one I would have never thought possible the day we left home last month.

The plan now is to leave tomorrow with the trailer house and head for Chester, Montana. We are going to work for a farmer there who has so graciously offered something for us to do during the month of August. We will be doing the wheat harvest but using his equipment. I’m hoping to get to drive a combine and Jim will drive truck. If I DO drive combine – it’s not one that I’m used to…it will be a Gleaner. I don’t know that I’ve even sat in the seat of a Gleaner combine before. 🙂 So the adventures of the 2017 wheat harvest continue…

time

Time…something that seems to run our lives and there’s NEVER enough of it!

I always think I’m going to take the time to write an update on my personal blog and it just doesn’t get done. It seems that I have sort of pushed my own blog aside to write for www.allaboardharvest.com. But that’s okay. I’m sure you remember me telling you that if you don’t see something on here for long periods of time, you should check that site.  So…go check it out! I’ve written several times on there already. You might even enjoy reading some of the other harvest updates from the other correspondents.

Just so you know, we did make it to our destination. It will be two weeks on Monday that we arrived. It was a bit slow around here for the next four days or so. And then…all heck broke loose. We started cutting wheat on Saturday (a week ago). Today (6/16) was our seventh consecutive day of cutting wheat. I think we may have broken some all-time record for the most acres cut in one week! 🙂 The temps have been near 100 degrees or more and we can expect one more day of the heat. On Father’s Day (just for Jim) it’s supposed to reach a high of only 85 degrees.

The yields have been fairly decent considering the lack of moisture here over the winter months. Our farmer told us the wheat was near death in January and then it rained. And he said it never does that. We’ve seen anything from 25 – 50 bushel averages in the fields. I suppose the overall average will be near 35. Test weights have been 57-62. We’ve been seeing weights a bit more on the heavier side than the lessor number.

If you’re really interested in what the heck we’re doing, be sure to check out the Combine Cam. Yep…we have the camera again this year and it seems to be really doing a good job of staying on. I wonder if it will be anything like the popularity of April the giraffe (I doubt it)? If you are curious, though, just check in once in a while and see what the heck is up. Who knows…you may see Jimbo in there. You may hear me singing. You may hear me talking to myself or you might catch an actual conversation between me and the truck driver. Sometimes he forgets that he’s live and says and does things he shouldn’t. I have a hard time keeping him in line. 🙂

The girls had a scary night tonight at home. A bad storm with either straight line winds or a tornado created a real mess. It was rather scary for me sitting in the cab of a combine reading the texts nearly 700 miles away and knowing there was nothing I could do – except pray for protection. Everyone was okay after it was all over and that’s the main thing! Tree limbs and buildings can be cleaned up and replaced.

And with that, I’m going to go take a shower and get a few hours of sleep before it’s time to get up and make more sandwiches so we don’t starve to death. (Go check out The All Aboard Wheat Harvest!) My flower garden.

Just a couple of harvesters – Jim and Roger Peters.

Blowing out the air filters – a daily chore. 

Visited by the New Holland Harvest Support (aka Monte and Carolyn Ahrens).

Two of my favorite things combined in one – cutting wheat and The Eagles:

concerned…yet hopeful

The yellow roseometer is telling us it’s about that time to load up and head south. 

Grandpa always said, “Wheat will die at least seven times before it is harvested”. Therefore, I am going to remain hopeful for the 2017 crop. Concerned…yet hopeful.

I’ve heard this quote often lately with the weather extremes that have been occurring in the wheat belt. So…it must be true to continue to be believed by the wheat community. The wheat in western Kansas and eastern Colorado is on its fourth or fifth death by now.

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whatever it takes

Taking some time NOW to enjoy these two whenever I can! Hanging out in the tower on their new “park”. 

One of many harvester’s mottos is, “Whatever It Takes”. The addition to our fleet could be the definition of this motto for the Z Crew for harvest 2017! I think after last summer with just the two of us loading and unloading the miscellaneous necessities from the back of Frank and my level of frustration with the whole process may have played into the reason we now have a longer car trailer. AND a new storage area for the miscellaneous stuff. THANK GOODNESS!

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a memory from a previous life

Why is it that when you have good intentions of doing something on this computer one thing leads to another and it tends to take way more time than you really wanted it to? I think that’s one of the biggest roadblocks I have when I think, “gee, I should write a blog”. And then, I can find all kinds of other things to do than to actually do what I intended to do. UGH!!! And, as usual, I sat down in front of this computer about an hour ago with intentions to write. And so it goes…

I have a feeling this could be a post where my mind just goes all over the place – so beware!!

There’s been quite a bit of time since my last posting. And it feels like the winter months just zoomed by. Maybe it’s just my aging brain and time is something that changes as the body ages. Maybe. But, if you ask Jim if something seems like it zoomed by, he’ll tell me, “No! It feels like that many years ago”. I sort of envy that. I sort of wish the last 30 years – let alone the last 60 days – seems like a long time ago. In my brain, it was just yesterday.

I had a reminder of this just a couple of days ago. Someone from a previous life of mine (well, not really) passed away. While growing up, we lived in a neighborhood much like the ones you would see on some of those old-time 60’s TV shows. The families got together, the kids played together while growing up, we all went to school together, etc. And then we grew up. We lose touch with the kids we grow up with (most times) but thanks to social media, you can reconnect but it’s not the same.

When I think about the old neighborhood, I think about the Thompson’s, the Reed’s, the Ruff’s and the Dobias’. It was our hood. As youngsters, we all played together – didn’t matter who was older or younger, we were just together. One of my favorite memories of growing up is camping with the Reed’s. They had a boat. And the parents trusted us to take that boat out to the middle of the lake and we fished or we skied – alone. Crazy, right? Either our parents were really trusting or really stupid – or both. 🙂 I would probably think twice about letting my kids do the things we did. But…life was different then. The world was different then.

Bill passed away this week. And I hesitated to attend the visitation at the funeral home. I don’t know why (I’m sure you were asking yourself that question). Anxiety of being with people who may not remember me? Was it because I didn’t want to accept the fact that I am so much older now? I honestly don’t know why I felt the way I did. I asked Jim if he’d go with me. He agreed to go. While we were talking about it, I “googled” Bill’s name to see if I could find out for sure what the times were. And then I saw the picture. Bill…as I remembered him – sitting in a boat, with his shirt off, exposing the all-familiar tattoos he surely got while serving in the Navy. And the tears came oh so easily. How could so many years have passed since then? Bill was always a large man – not heavy – just a BIG man. Maybe it was because I was little. And I loved him. Not like my dad or my grandpa but I loved him and who he was.

I was right. They didn’t remember me. I had to re-introduce myself to the kids I used to play with. We were all different. We were older and have lived life without each other’s presence for a lot of years. But, it was good to see them. To catch up on each other’s lives. To reconnect. To remember. To be in the same room. And the past felt like a different time…a different world…a different life. And it was. But it felt so good to be with those old memories once again.

You probably never knew this, Bill, but you were a pretty big deal to me and I appreciate the piece of who I became because of you.

So, I told you I had no idea where this was going to lead. I sat down with the intentions of sharing the past couple of months in pictures with you. That will have to be another post.

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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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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