a harvester’s widow

I have become a harvester’s widow.

Jim’s been the sole fall harvester since we started this business. That means he’s been the only one in the soybean and corn crops for the past 30 years. And this year is no different. There was some talk that I may be needed to run grain cart because they are one man short. If you remember, the day Ben was born, we also lost our fall customer and dear friend, Russell. Apparently, his son-in-laws have it under control better than they expected before the harvest actually got started because I’ve not been asked. Russell would be very proud of them! However, I was sort of hoping I would finally be involved but with this cold snap…maybe not so much.

So, while Jim has been doing the fall harvest, I’ve been the one left at home doing what needs to be done here. Until the past two years, a lot of my time has been involved with the girls’ schedules. Not so much anymore. So, the days tend to get long. I have been able to unload and clean the inside and outside of the trailer house with very little interruption. I have all but one small flower garden to clean out before the snow flies and I still have the house to thoroughly clean of cobwebs. Jim usually leaves the house about 7:30 am and most nights doesn’t get home until 9:30. Long days – much like the wheat harvest.

I’ve had a couple of fun outings with Eli and Nora. It’s probably a good thing they don’t live any closer than they do. We may not get anything done…ever!

Our first outing was a spur of the moment occurrence. It was one of those beautiful Fall days where it didn’t even feel like Fall. It was one of those “let’s make her think it’s going to be summer forever” type of days.

Whenever we go anywhere, we have to have Jamie put the car seats in the van. I almost hate to suggest going anywhere simply because I know just how much work it is to transfer those seats from one vehicle to the other. It’s not like it was when my girls were little. Holy cow! So simple back then (and they survived)!!! Improvements usually mean more work. Anyways, I headed over to the H’s house and had Jamie install these pieces of engineering genius in the van. Jamie had their bag filled with snacks, jackets and anything and everything we could possibly need. I’ll have to give that girl credit…she’s prepared!

Once loaded, I decided we needed to head towards the walking bridge (that used to be a railroad bridge) that goes over the Platte River. You can walk from one shore of the river to the next. I will have to confess, though, I worried about just letting the kids head out on their own at first. But, once I surveyed the amount of space between the fence and the cement bridge, there was no way a body could just fall through it and land in the river. So, they were OFF!

It was about here where I was making sure a little body couldn’t just slip through any sort of opening. Even though I knew they couldn’t, I couldn’t convince the uneasy feelings I had of that while watching them stand there. 

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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)

 

it was one of THOSE days

The first trip to Colorado was pretty uneventful. The only problem I could mention that might be something a few out there would understand is parking for the night – next to a truck in a parking lot. We headed for the Walmart parking lot in Sidney with the Cottage to “dry camp” for the night. We didn’t realize this particular lot also housed the Over The Road trucker(s). Even with ear plugs in my ears, I bet I was awake more than I was sleeping. It was warm enough I had to have the windows open so every time a new truck pulled in, I heard it. And I swear it’s always the one with the running reefer that parks next to us. It’s almost like there’s a sign on the side of the trailer that says, “I’m trying to sleep so please park next to me and run your reefer all night”. 🙂  I keep saying “I” rather than “we” because Jim chooses to sleep in the Pete when we’re on the road. He says he does that so his snoring doesn’t wake me up – which I appreciate. But…it really won’t matter, I guess, as long as we park with the trucks.

Anyways, we arrived at our destination and opted to get a good night’s sleep rather than heading north again right away. This was Thursday evening. Our welcoming committee met us right away and invited us over for supper. It’s always good to see the people you said goodbye to the previous year. And, WOW, has Charley ever grown! We had supper with Scott, Sarah, Riley and Charley and probably extended our stay a bit too long. When questions about the summer and the different locations start flying, it’s always fun to bore others with the answers and our experiences. I hope we didn’t bore them too horribly bad!! At one point, I even had to walk back over to the trailer and get my bags of lentils, chickpeas and green peas to show them.

The next morning, we packed our bags and gathered our necessary items, loaded them in the Pete and set out for Chadron one last time for the summer. We made it as far as Bridgeport that first evening, found a quiet (close to the railroad tracks) corner of the gas station and parked for the night. I think by now, I was so tired from all the miles we had covered over the past week, I didn’t even care we were that close to the trains. However, I don’t remember hearing more than two or three. Speaking of miles, I asked Jim while we were headed back with trip #2 how many miles we had driven over the past week (including our trip to Canada) and he said about 3,000. “What a normal truck driver drives in a week”. Yikes! I think I’ve mentioned this before – it’s interesting to me when we’re on the road with the harvest, the miles are all a part of the job. When we’re home and think about driving 500 miles somewhere, it’s questioned a bit more. On harvest, you just do the job, regardless of the miles and the amount of fuel purchased.

As I’m making the bed in the Pete the next morning, Jim opens the truck door and tells me the plug he had put in the tire the day before didn’t hold. So, now we have a low truck tire and it’s Saturday morning. A call was made to the tire repair man and several hours later, we were headed north once again. And then I started smelling something that smelled like a campfire. “That’s an interesting smell”, I told Jim. I knew there had been a lot of smoke in the air but I really wasn’t seeing anything that I felt would create that strong of an odor. It went from smelling like a campfire to smelling like marshmallows cooking and then to smelling like garbage burning. “Do you think we should stop and see if something’s burning”? “No, I think it’s outside”. So, I rolled down my window to see if I agreed with him. “I don’t think it’s outside”. He didn’t act too concerned, so I sat back in the seat and watched out the front window. “I think it may have been paper towels burning under the hood. I just saw some out the rear view mirror”. By this time, we were almost to Alliance. “Are you going to stop and check”? “Yeah, when I find a wide spot. When we do, I’ll quickly open the hood and you grab the water jug…just in case”. So, when he found a parking lot of an abandoned gas station, we pulled in and he did what he was going to do but there was no fire so no need for the water jug. I got out to see where he was telling me the fire had been. Not a big deal but guess you might want to make sure you grab the paper towels before you close the hood of the truck. He had washed the windows in Bridgeport and forgot to grab them before closing the hood.

While walking around the Pete and checking things over, he simply rubbed the area the towels had caught fire and a bolt and spacer from the exhaust manifold fell to the ground. Apparently, the bolt had broken at some point and decided to make his day by falling off the truck at that time. This happened once before and we got stuck in Russell, Kansas. But that was after multiple bolts had broken. We’re hoping this will be the only one for now. Goodness, I went back into the NebraskaWheatie archives to find that post to link on here – that was over five years ago already. So, needless to say, this incident trumped both the tire and the fire in Jim’s head.

We got to Chadron before noon but neither of us were hungry (and we hadn’t had anything more than just a cup of coffee while waiting for the tire). So, we decided we’d get the combine loaded and stop back in Chadron for fuel and a bite to eat before heading south again. Who would have known what usually took us about an hour to do would take about three. It was hot, we hadn’t had anything to eat and everything seemed to be working against us. We were just checking truck lights and nearly done with the job when the clouds started rolling in from the north. As soon as that first cloud covered the sun, Jim says, “Of course…now that we’re done”.

It took him way more times to get the combine on the trailer than it typically does. See Frank way down the hill by the yard?

The cloud that finally gave us some relief from the heat…after we were done.

Waiting on the light check. 

The view from where Frank was parked. 

It was 3:30 when the tornado warning alert came across our phones. We had just left the farmyard and was headed back into Chadron to start making our way south again. “What should we do?”, asks Jim. I voted to stop on top of the hill I was at and watch for tornadoes. The storm was headed directly in our path but appeared to be moving eastward. I told him I thought if we stopped where we were at, we could watch the storm as it moved away from us. We haven’t been in hardly any storms or rain this summer and I’m a cloud freak. I love to watch the clouds and am amazed with the beauty of a storm. We sat for 15 minutes or so before deciding it was good to go. We were just south of Chadron about three feet and it started hailing and I thought we had probably made a wrong decision. But the further south we went, the more we were driving out of the storm. Needless to say, we opted to wait until we got to Bridgeport for fuel and a bite to eat.

The tornadic storm making its way towards Chadron. Pretty good place to watch it here on top of this hill!

Same storm cloud – seemed to be following us for a while before it took a more eastward turn. 

A very brief stop at Bridgeport for a drink.

The closer we were getting to Bridgeport, the more we were aware that we were up against the sun going down. And with the combine, we have to have it parked at sundown. After arriving at Bridgeport, we decided the Frank had enough fuel to make it to Chappell. We would stop there for the night, get fuel and something to eat. We arrived at the Chappell fairgrounds at sundown, unhooked Frank from the header trailer and cruised main street Chappell (thinking there might be a motel still in operation). We decided if there wasn’t one, we would just continue to Julesburg – which is what we did. We stopped in a tiny little motel on the outskirts of Julesburg, rented a room and headed to Subway for something to FINALLY eat. It was about 9:00.

Chappell, Nebraska fairgrounds – a common place for harvesters to park when harvesting in this area. 

I was a bit concerned with the small town motel but was PLEASANTLY surprised! The Holiday Motel ended up being the best room we have ever stayed in! If you’re ever in Julesburg and need a place to take a shower and go to bed, I would highly recommend this place! It was like stepping back into the 1950’s. The tiles on the bathroom walls sparkled, the corners of room were spotless, the bed was great and not one bug did I find! I was so impressed, I even left a note to let them know how impressed I was.

The next morning, we headed back to Chappell, hooked the Frank back to the header trailer, got fuel and we were off…once again. We stopped in Burlington for lunch and made it to our destination about 6:00. We were both so tired, we shut off our trucks, gathered our overnight stuff and headed for the Cottage. The unloading could just wait til morning. “What are you going to do now?”, asked Jim. My reply, “Nothing”! And that’s exactly what we did…nothing. I finally tapped my snoring husband on the forehead about 11:00 and told him I was going to bed. He followed.

Sounds like we are going to sample tomorrow afternoon. See where we are and how things are going to work. The couple of down days that we’ve had have been welcome but it will also be good to get back in the cab of The Beast.

Best news of the day…Taylor and Callie are coming to hang out with us over the Labor Day weekend. And I can’t wait!!!

And here’s a few pictures I got over the weekend.

Brooklyn’s holding Ben, as Jillian watches. Mark is in the background. They must have had a family meal at the Rathe’s house on Sunday night.  

All the kiddos who call me Grandma…Eli, Jillian, Nora and Brooklyn holding Ben. So blessed!!!!

This kid is barely one month old…

next stop…colorado and millet harvest

If you’ve been following the All Aboard Wheat Harvest, you know we’ve been north of Chester, Montana working for a farmer. We left the Beast, Frank and the Pete in Chadron for a bit of an adventure somewhere in the middle of Montana.

Just a month ago, I stayed with Eli and Nora while Jamie, Curt and Ben were in the hospital. But, as soon as they got home late Wednesday night, it was time to go back to work mode. There was wheat to cut in Montana!! We had hired on with Mattson Farms to help them get their harvest done. We left for Montana the very next day.

The first time Jim held Ben – just before we had to tell him goodbye.

As I mentioned before, if you’ve been following the AAWH blog this summer, you know all that took place while we were in Chester. If you haven’t read it, be sure to mosey on over to that site and check it out! I drove a Gleaner combine! Not that there was anything wrong with that – I had never even sat in a cab of a Gleaner before. And you know what? Me and the Silver Bullet got along just fine! But, the best part of the whole adventure was getting to meet the entire Mattson family and crew. Oh my gosh!! I had the best time getting to be a part of their operation! Some of the finest people you will ever meet. I hope we get back up there next year!

The final field sunset pictures.

They saw me with my camera up and decided they needed to “suck it in”. Well, a couple of them did, anyways. Koos didn’t have to worry about it!

The Mattson Farms harvest was completed a week ago today. We got there in time to help with the wheat and ended the season cutting chickpeas (garbanzo beans). It all feels like a dream already. Like it didn’t even happen. But I have pictures to prove otherwise! Jim ended up working for Carl and Vince two more days and then agreed to take me to the mountains for a mini vacation. To make the trip even better, Carl insisted we take his little Miata. He said, “Put the top down and have a good time”! And that’s just what we did.

Our last day together in the field.

Part of the crew. I’ll name them starting from the front left – Megan and Carl. Back row left – Tasha, Vince, Mynhardt, Kerry with Connor in front of her and Janice with Brie in front of her. 

And here’s the entire Mattson Farms 2017 harvest crew!

Once we got through Glacier, I talked Jim into heading further north into Canada and I was hoping for a quick trip to Jasper. I’d never been there before and he went in 1975 with Grandma and Grandpa. The drive was too much for the short period of time he was going to allow, so we made it as far as Banff and turned around and headed south again. Besides seeing the beautiful Canadian Rockies, I saw a mama black bear and her two cubs just walking along the road we were traveling on.

A pit stop in Shelby before continuing west.

It was all smiles when we decided it was time for the top (of the car) to come down. 

Most of my pictures include lots and lots of smoke from the wildfires. 

We got out to stretch our legs near one of the mountain streams. Is this not just about the most beautiful, clear water you’ve ever seen?

We passed an active fire – one of many right now. 

Once we returned to Chester, we packed up the Cottage, said our goodbyes and headed south again. Me and goodbyes don’t do real well…you should know this by now!

We were in Chester at the time of the eclipse. It never got very dark there. It just sort of felt like I had sunglasses on and I didn’t. 

Goodbye Chester and Mattson family! Hope to see you again next summer!

We made it as far as Jordan the first night. Just as soon as we pulled into what used to be the Fellman’s convenience store, who should pull in but our good buddy, Dr. Dan. We visited with him quite a long time before he wanted to show us his new medical clinic. We already had plans to head to the Hell Creek Bar with Jim and Mardrie Baker for supper but decided we could take a few more minutes and see his new facility. I tell ya what…having so many wonderful friends scattered all over the Midwest is a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is pretty easy to figure out. The bad thing is that when you sometimes don’t see them for a length of time, it’s difficult to feel like you’ve spent enough time with them when you do finally get together again. I just have to believe that one day when we get to Heaven, we will have plenty to time to enjoy each other’s company. No reason to hurry to get somewhere else. Just enjoy the time together…I hope!

Dr. Dan and Jimbo.

The next morning, we stopped by Tom Thumb’s house again for coffee before making the long trip south to Chadron for the night. We pulled into the RV park at 7:30.

Montana’s wide-open countryside and BIG SKY! It was so good to get to be back in the state again.

This morning, Jim went back to where we left the equipment and loaded the service truck on the shop trailer and brought it back to town. I spent a couple of hours in Walmart gathering items for the next several weeks. We’ll be about 40 miles from town and I figured whatever I could get stocked up on today, will be a benefit later. It was just about 4:30 by the time we headed south again. We ended the day by stopping in the Sidney, Nebraska Walmart parking lot for the night. We’ll finish the rest of the trip tomorrow and probably even get the Pete turned around and headed north again.

Sidney’s Walmart parking lot looks more like a truck stop – and sounds like one too!

Once we get back to Chadron, we’ll load the combine and head south one more time.

The millet started getting swathed a couple of days ago. I don’t know how long it has to lay on the ground before the combine can begin picking it up. Once it reaches that point, we’ll be in the field once again. Our intentions are to stay in Colorado until it’s time to head back home for the soybeans and corn, which should be about the first part of October.

When I think back over the summer and all the craziness we’ve been through, it makes me wonder what’s next. You know, we really haven’t had much downtime this summer. It feels like we’ve been either working, cleaning equipment or moving. I brought all kinds of sewing along with me thinking maybe I’d have a few days of rain to get something done. Wrong! I did get a dress made for Nora and I think by the smile on her face, she liked it. I really feel like we haven’t even got to enjoy a good ‘ole summertime thunder storm!

What a sweet model!

Until next time…

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…

a tough year to be a wheatie

Picture credit goes to Nancy Eberts 0f Eberts Harvesting, Inc.

We’ve had a bit of crummy luck with our summer jobs this year. I wrote about it on the All Aboard Wheat Harvest site. To read it, you can click here.

In all of our 35 years of being in this business, I can honestly say I have never seen it look so bleak for so many. Typically, when things happen, it happens to a select few harvesters and then you can, hopefully, make up for the lost acres somewhere else along the way. This is not so this year. I’m afraid the 2017 wheat harvest may come to a complete stop for many in a week or so. The acres in the northern states are depleting by the day. The already low wheat acres are becoming even lower and I’m afraid there won’t be enough for everyone to be able to make up what we’re losing.

We are sitting on some acres in Garden City – thankfully! After we received word the hail had wiped out the acres we normally cut, Jim made a couple of phone calls and one of them came through for us.  It’s irrigated wheat and is doing quite well considering this is the wheat that was flat on the ground due to snow the end of April. It’s yielding more than 70 bushels per acre and the test weight is very good (60-62 lbs).  This should keep us busy for four to five more days and then we don’t know what we’re doing next. I have to believe God knows and I will remain faithful to that belief. I know He works things for our good – we just sometimes have to learn to wait! And who knows…maybe we’ll get home to welcome grandbaby #3 to the family afterall.

Garden City, Kansas

Garden City, Kansas

We had some German visitors arrive while we were still in Claude, TX. They are in the states to make a documentary on the wheat harvest. They told us there is great interest in this lifestyle in their country. They were a lot of fun to have around for a day or so. They traveled with us while we moved the combine and trailer house from Claude to Garden City. I believe they are returning tomorrow for more footage of us in the field.

Jim’s preparing the Pete for the trip north while Dirk (one of our new German friends) watches.

 

Volkert sitting in as the “dummy” while Michael and Dirk were setting up the cameras inside the Pete. 

Volkert and our farmer, Bryan, talking about Germany, I’m sure. 🙂

We had to make a planned stop to change things up a bit with cameras and mics. This is Texas beauty!

Another quick stop at Bryan’s Corner, Oklahoma for changes to the plan. Volkert and Michael look pretty involved in a conversation. Dirk and Jim in the background. 

The day after we arrived was the day for fellow HarvestHER visitors – me and Nancy Eberts (Eberts Harvesting). She came to the yard while Jim and I were unloading the equipment. She was in Garden City to pick up a new crew member. 

Later that same day, Amanda Buus Thomsen (BT Harvesting) and her husband, Anders, came to Garden and we went out for supper. 

Jim took this video while he was running the grain cart in Texas. He did an awesome job!!

 

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…