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:

plan b in place

 

“I think I’ll go down and visit with the boys for a while” The boys are our farmer neighbors. Jim likes to visit with them to get the latest on what’s going on with the farming and get the gossip of the day. Much like most other farmers I know. A gathering of the minds, so to speak. 🙂

So, this happened last night.

Harvest preparations are an ongoing thing until we finally just close up shop and hit the road. That’s what happened last night. Jim had a goal of leaving the house with trip #1 about 7:00. Bags were packed and pillows in place in the Hotel Pete. Thought was to just get on the road. We would attempt to make it as far as Plymouth, park in the back lot of a gas station and sleep in the truck. We’d just be on the road and that’s what we just sometimes have to do.

I believe it was a little after 7:30 that we were both sitting in our trucks ready to point the noses of the trucks southward. It seemed like it was taking Frank an exceptionally long time to get enough air built up to release the parking brake. Finally, I called Jim on the two-way and told him I was STILL airing up. He got out of the Pete, walked around Frank and came back to my window, “I think we have air dryer issues”, as he grabbed the hammer laying next to my seat.

Pound, pound, pound. Pound, pound, pound some more. Back to the door. “I don’t think pounding on it is going to help. I think I’ll just have to make a phone call and go after parts”. Phone call was made to Freightliner in Omaha and we immediately stepped into Plan B…headed to Omaha for parts. Typical harvest…hurry up and wait. Guess you learn to “go with the flow”.

Jim replaced the air dryer with the help of his headlights (you know…those silly looking lights that you wear on your head). Which, by the way, I was told are the greatest thing on earth! The old part was loaded in the car and we were headed back to Omaha (it was worth $140). We were home again just a little after midnight. I grabbed the suitcases and our pillows and headed for the house.

And now…we’re waiting for the severe weather to pass before pointing the noses of these trucks southward. I have a feeling we may find more of that (weather) the further south we head.

I will be writing for All Aboard Wheat Harvest (High Plains Journal) again this year. I’ve already posted several times, in case you want to catch up. If it appears to be a dry spell on here, you may want to check out AAWH and see what’s going on. When we get in the heat of harvest, it’s very difficult to justify killing more precious sleeping hours on telling the story in two places.

And…don’t forget to follow the other HarvestHER’s harvest updates at www.harvesther.com!! All kinds of harvest stories to keep up with.

Until next time…

“i wasn’t counting on that happening”

That’s what Jim said to me last night. I went outside to mainly let him know supper was ready – if he wanted to come in and eat AND to see what the heck he was up to.

I guess that’s how accidents can and do happen. He was working on replacing the tire when Frank fell off the jack. Oh my gosh…I don’t EVEN want to think about what COULD HAVE happened! I’m just thankful he was standing upright and telling me how disgusted he was that he lost four hours due to this little event.

The jack broke, so he had to fix that, as well. When I went outside, he was in the process of making a stable base and getting things in place again. It finally got dark enough, he just had to quit.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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.)

Continue reading

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).

unnamed-1

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!

img_5151

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.

img_5193

img_5200

img_5215

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!

img_5588

img_5586

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…

img_5553

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. 🙂

unnamed-3

unnamed-7

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!