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!!

 

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

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.

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

birthdays and holidays

The past two months have been busy but not crazy, busy. Wait a minute…who am I kidding? It’s always crazy, busy trying to keep up with the family and all that’s going on.

Not only did we celebrate the big holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) but also a couple of birthdays, too.

Less than two weeks after Colten and Taylor’s wedding, we celebrated Thanksgiving. Our family gathering was near 100% that day…we were missing Jenna. (She made a trip to Colorado that weekend.)

Continue reading