pickin up millet

So, from my last post, you know we had a Labor Day weekend excursion to the mountains while Taylor, Callie and Eli were here. I know they wanted to be in the field with us before they left for home but it didn’t pan out. We did, however, attempt to pick up a bit of millet on Monday. My memory isn’t as good as it used to be but I think that was a short day. We tried but it still needed more time in the sunshine.

This is proso millet prior to being swathed and laid in windrows. 

Millet windrow.

The Beast sporting it’s MacDon pickup header. 

Tuesday was the day! We got a good start and we harvested all day. No more waiting!

The days were all beginning to feel like the previous one (sort of like Groundhog Day) except today. Before we left the field last night, we had a very brief shower. We had already stopped for the night. Mostly because we had to. We ran out of trucks to fill and, unfortunately, I found a very green spot with long, stringy weed plants that hadn’t dried down very good. Yep, I plugged the rotor and sheered a concave bolt. Dang!! Before we got the slug loose enough to run it through the machine, the lightning and thunder was all around us. The others had already left the field by now.

This morning started just like any other morning until we got to the field. A cloud built up right over the top of us, it cooled down and a few rain drops fell. I was told if I wanted to head into Limon to catch up on laundry, I could. So, while I’m waiting for the clothes to dry, I wanted to catch up on our happenings. The cell service where we’re staying is pretty sketchy so I try to do what I can and if it doesn’t work I just wait til I can find better service. I don’t know why in today’s world there are still places in our rural communities that have no cell service!! You would think that’s where it is needed the very most.

So, I’ll get these pictures and videos of the past week posted and about then, the clothes should be dry and I’ll bet my computer battery will be nearly dead. 🙂  Enjoy!!

PS…the millet is doing very well! They had plenty of moisture when it was needed the most. I believe it could average 50 bu/acre and the test weight has been excellent – 51+ lbs.

South of Limon, there is a new “wind farm” in the process of being built. When we come back to this country next year, the horizon will look completely different. They’re in the process of building 190 wind turbines. I’m not a fan of these. I feel like they clutter the landscape and I wouldn’t want them in my backyard. So, it’s a good thing I don’t live here! They will be in some of the same fields we’ll be harvesting. Nothing new for some harvesters but it will be new to us.

One of 190 wind turbine bases. 

See it over there?

 

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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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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for the love of tractors!

3e676c9e-56bd-4ba0-8d71-72e560453a7cThe 2016 Gathering of the Green was held on March 16, 17, 18 & 19 in the RiverCenter facility located in Davenport, IA. This biennial nationwide conference is for John Deere collectors, restorers & enthusiasts. The next gathering will be in March 2018.

During the past two months, I have had the opportunity to speak at two tractor club events. The interest in the custom harvesting industry is amazing to me. It’s what we do so I don’t see it being anything more than that – what we do. However, the interest is incredibly huge and it energizes me when I’m given the chance to talk about it!

I was approached by the Elkhorn Valley Antique Power Association to speak at their January meeting.  This was held at the CLAAS of NA headquarters in Omaha, NE. I was a bit hesitant to agree to do it but then decided, what the heck!

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1534765_657882587609051_770060094_oThe “end of the harvest journey” for The Great American Wheat Harvest documentary was filmed inside the CLAAS headquarters January 2014.

I already had a PowerPoint presentation which I had pulled together for a previous presentation. The very first opportunity I had to chat about the industry that I love was to a group of engineers at the January 2013 AgConnect show in Kansas City. I was scared to death! I worried about that presentation for days and could feel my heart in my throat right to the second I was introduced. But…I got up there and started talking. And talking. And talking. I think I was up there for half an hour (or longer) but it felt like five minutes. I guess it was easier than I thought.

The second presentation just two months ago came so much easier. I didn’t even get the last-minute jitters. Actually, I was quite surprised. It comes easy when you talk about something that means so much to you. After the presentation was over, Jim and I answered questions about harvest, equipment, the journey and anything else that came to mind by the attendees. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I know that a few of the members of this club read my blog so I’d like to give a shout out to you and thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell my story!! I hope it was a fun and interesting evening for you. I know we had a blast!

My latest opportunity to tell the story of the custom harvester was a spur of the moment idea. I was called by a member of the board for the Gathering of the Green as a last-minute thought. The event was in the process of being set up and they really wanted me to come and talk about the custom harvester…and could I bring a copy of the EMMY award-winning documentary, The Great American Wheat HarvestI made a phone call to Jim expecting him to say there was no way he could take a couple of days off of work to drive to Davenport, IA. However, I was wrong. He agreed and we made our plans to head east. 

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6dbd720b-ac28-4ac6-96fd-57b484ea0a08 - Copy (2)It was a short trip – out there and back – but we really enjoyed ourselves. The people are like most of Ag – awesome! There’s a common connection with anyone involved with agriculture and anytime you can visit with like-minded people it’s a great time. My presentation was set for 8:00 am on Friday. I intended to give my presentation, show the movie and end it with questions from the audience. Well, the DVD didn’t want to play on the computer for me. So, we just spent the remaining time with the group answering questions and talking custom harvesting.

2ea9093f-cb32-4104-b485-2eb18defa37cThe amount of interest in our lifestyle is simply amazing to me. Once we get started talking about this nomadic way of life, it’s difficult to quit the conversation. So many great questions about what we do!

The Gathering of the Green is sponsored by the following four tractor clubs:

Deer Valley Collectors
Illinois Valley Two-Cylinder Club
North Eastern Illinois Twin-Cylinder Club

Northwest Illinois Deer Collectors

172808f8-f8e2-499f-9c2f-e708cb284357I took this bit of history directly from the Gathering of the Green website:

The four sponsoring clubs meet every other year at Grand Detour, John Deere’s home, for a tractor show, and during a group meeting there during the 1999 show, Mark Johnson, an NEITCC member, shared that he had recently attended a conference sponsored by another tractor company. Given the fact that no such conference had ever been sponsored for John Deere enthusiasts, it was his opinion that our four groups together could create such an event for our faithful green and yellow collectors. After some serious conversation, the group agreed to give it a try, and the rest is history.

Be sure to visit their Facebook page to see pictures and more information about their event.

7c449d63-aaf6-4a20-9958-8ee41c2c10afThank you to those of you responsible for giving me yet another opportunity to share our way of life (Dean, Brad, Dan and others)!!! Again, I was surprised by the lack of pre-speaking jitters . I guess talking about something near and dear to my heart – the prairie nomads – is much easier than I thought. I encouraged the participants to tell their story and as often as they are given the opportunity. I may not ever be given the chance to tell our story again to a group but I hope to those who have heard it, they’ve learned a little more about what we do and why we do it!

1f070ec3-ffe5-49a2-b0c1-4d57458b01e2Photo credit goes to Jim. I asked him if he’d take a few pictures for me and it looks like he did just what was asked of him. The people involved with the set up for this event certainly know how to create a beautiful and interesting show!

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a sure sign of spring in nebraska…baby bovines (calves)

Palm Sunday 2Regardless of what the thermometer shows for a temperature this time of year, the surest sign that spring has sprung is the sight of calves standing near their mama. Or, better yet, a gang of them running and leaping as if to say, “Why worry? Have fun!”

We don’t live on a farm. The last link to the farm for our immediate family belongs to Jim’s sister, Maureen, and her husband, Harvey. They plant corn and soybeans and raise cattle. They used to have pigs, as well, but gave up on that quite a few years ago already. Diversified operation. Recently, I’ve come to appreciate them and the connection much more. Prior to this appreciation, it was taken for granted.

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christmas in the country 2015 – gift reveal

IMG_0265I took this about five minutes ago. It’s January 13 and it’s still Christmas in my house. It may be a good thing that I can still wake up and plug in the Christmas tree and other lights of the season to remind me of the reason for the season.

I’ve been quite busy the past couple of months. If someone were to ask me if I’d like to have a “do over”, I would very excitedly tell them I would. My reason may not be one that you would think. Although, I would for that reason, too. The reason?  So I could simply stop and enjoy the season as it should be enjoyed. I feel like that was robbed from me this year. As Executive Director of the US Custom Harvesters, I have been solely focused on getting a job done. But, you see, that’s who I am. When I’m given a job, I tend to focus on it until it is complete. The large undertaking that I have and had over the Christmas season has been the planning of the annual convention – which happens to be in Omaha this year.

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final days of wheat harvest 2015

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

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