I denied it as long as I could.
I knew I would have to step out of the “real” world and enter the “harvest” world eventually. That day seemed like maybe it just wasn’t going to happen. With the drought and late season freezes, the Z Crew wasn’t in any hurry to get anywhere. The farmers that we had lined acres up with in TX and OK had zeroed them out. And why would we load up and take off hoping to find something this year? I’m usually the one to encourage doing something new and different but even I didn’t feel like it was something we should do. So, I didn’t put up a fight when Jim said we’d just wait for SW Kansas and hope for acres there.
The combine left last week. Jim and Taylor got it to its destination, unloaded it and turned right around and came back. They were home the day after they left. Taylor said the wheat was green but Jim said, “we’ll be leaving with the rest of the stuff on Tuesday morning”. There it was. The date of departure. Departure from the “real” world. If you’re not a “wheatie”, I don’t think you can truly understand what it’s like to go through your house and start gathering EVERYTHING you might need for the 100+ days of being away from home. It’s overwhelming (to say the least)! So, I kept denying until Sunday afternoon rolled around. After the B-17 plane ride, I had to just tell myself I MUST get busy. Jim was being pretty insistent that Tuesday morning was the day. So, I began. I began with the basement and worked my way upstairs – to the kitchen, bathroom and finally my personal belongings.
Day two begins with bathroom items and personal belongings. Another perfect opportunity to throw away those bottles of OTC meds and unused prescriptions! “Callie, come help me decide which of these hair products you don’t want anymore”. She reluctantly came and just said, “I don’t use any of these”. Easy Peasy! Pitch them – even if they are nearly full. Hair products are something this family seems to purchase a lot of and most of it never gets completely emptied before something new and better is purchased. Gosh, just think about all the room I’ll have when I get back in September! Clothes. What in the world do you take and not feel like you’re overpacking? I start with my closet and start going through the summer clothes I have. I start looking and thinking, “if I don’t take this with me now, I may never wear it”. So, I grab it with a small voice asking me, “do you really think you’ll wear that? Afterall, you spend most of your time in the wheat field.” I answer myself, “if I don’t, when will I have the opportunity to wear it?” This goes on for quite some time before I just take what I have in my hands and walk away. What I don’t take will be fun to come home to and hope I have a reason to wear. Most of what I did pack, probably WON’T get worn anyways. I tend to wear the same shirts and same shorts week after week. Maybe one day, I should just go to the field in my nicer clothes because I have them!
Clothes done, shoes gone through, jewelry and anything else I may want while I’m away from home. Last minute things are left. And…cleaning. There’s NO WAY I’m going to be able to leave on Tuesday morning. Jim agrees but, “we ARE leaving Wednesday morning!” Jamie, Eli and Taylor came over on Tuesday. Jamie helped by beginning the cleaning. I babysat. I think I had the better deal! While we had the company, we sort of took our time with what was left to do. One thing more that I did which I haven’t been able to do was pick cherries from my cherry tree. My good friend, Trish, gave me a cherry tree in 1991. This is the very first time I’ve ever picked a cherry from that tree since I planted it. Eli and I stood there and just ate them, one after another. I wonder if we could have eaten too many?
Back to work! Most of the time I was loading and unloading my laundry basket, I was thinking about having to leave my family. Eli will be so much bigger when I get home. Jenna had to leave before we did for a combine camp in Kentucky with CLAAS – no formal harvest goodbye there. Taylor and Callie wouldn’t be joining the caravan now. They will be meeting us probably after the 4th of July. Changes. So many changes as we all grow older. And why do I love this job so much? I don’t know. I even asked the question out loud that final day, “why do we do this? I really don’t like this job right now!” Jamie’s reply…”Oh mom!” She knows me. Once the “real” world is in the rearview mirror and the “harvest” world takes over, everything is good again. It’s just so darn hard saying goodbye!
Wednesday morning (just yesterday) – 6:15 a.m. Jim and I slept on top of the mattress in the house. It was so horribly HOT and HUMID, there was no way we were going to sleep in the Cottage. While it’s parked in our driveway, there’s not enough electricity to pull the air conditioner. So at 1:30 a.m., I grab my pillow and a blanket and lay down for a few hours of sleep. Jim’s up at 6:15. Man…those hours went too fast! We finished the last-minute packing, cleaning and hooked up the Cottage to the dually, started Frank and were ready to head out the driveway. We didn’t make the 7:00 time frame, though. We left about 8:30. Said more goodbyes. This time to Callie and Taylor. Not quite so hard to tell them goodbye knowing they will be catching up with us in a couple of weeks. Still tough.
And we’re headed down the road – harvest 2014 is beginning. The transition into the “harvest” world has begun. Once we leave the driveway, all the stress and the late nights are over and done with for another year. The stress of making sure you’ve done all the last-minute things that need to be done (like calling utility companies, pay bills, garbage out of the house, someone to take care of sending the mail, money in the checkbook, etc.) is complete. It’s a load lifted from your shoulders because you are now on the road…a new stress sets in.
As we made our way from home, another sight that I haven’t seen for quite some time. The wheat fields around home are beginning to change. Always before, it’s grass-green and the corn is about 6″ tall. Not so much this year!
I did really quite well with the drive until we were about 100 miles from our destination – Garden City, KS. Then I started fighting sleep REALLY bad. So bad that I told Jim I needed a break just for a little while. So, we pulled off on the shoulder near Jetmore, KS for about 15 minutes. That’s all it took. There’s nothing worse than fighting sleep and all you want to do is close your eyes and you know you can’t!
Back in post rock country.
We started seeing a few combines in the fields about Beloit, KS. It was then that I started feeling like we were back…back in the “harvest” world. And it felt good! I could feel my heart swell with pride because of the job we have…harvesting the grain that feeds the world! The job that began for me when I was 12 years old – I just didn’t know it. A job that the “real” world doesn’t really know and understand.
It was extremely hot and humid when we pulled into the yard we now call home. I was EXHAUSTED! All I wanted to do was grab a cold drink and sit down! Jim and I had a bowl of cereal for supper, took a shower and went to bed. I remember laying in bed this morning wondering where I was – it’s started. 🙂 I told this to Jim today and he said he layed there and thought the same thing. Only after he remembered, he said he was glad to know we were here. We were finally here and we had everything here with us. And so the new routine begins and remembering where everything is in the Cottage. Once it becomes home, everything else will fall into place.
We took a drive north of here today. We had been given the name of a farmer who needed some acres cut. We thought there might be a possibility for a few more acres. Once we got there, though, we realized the timing wouldn’t work. That area received rain (from that storm in the picture above) yesterday. We couldn’t jeopardize the job we have now in Garden for the additional acres. Jim asked me if I wanted to ride along or stay at the trailer. I opted to ride along – as long as I could bring the laptop and get a few items taken care of.
The next few pictures are of more Kansas post rock beauties (be sure to click on the link above to understand what I’m talking about)! Again, one more thing about harvest that my grandma was an influece of. She also loved Kansas post rock. That’s why I have one in my yard.
Before heading back to the Cottage on Wheels, Jim took the opportunity (since we were in Ness City) to check out the newer combine trailers at our favorite combine trailer dealer – Steve Cranston with S & S Trailer Sales.
So, I will end this post with the question of what will tomorrow bring? One thing I have been thinking about is the fact that we don’t even know if we have a tomorrow. With the very recent death of a mom to one of Callie’s classmates, I find myself thinking about her last day. She was very sick and was taken to the er. She passed away this morning. The cause was meningitis. They could do nothing to help her. I wonder what was important to her the day before she got so sick? I think about the loads of laundry that probably got washed and were waiting to be folded. I think about the bills that she told herself she would pay tomorrow. There is no guarantee of tomorrow – only today. My heart aches for their family tonight. I wish pain like this didn’t have to happen. I wish there was something I could do that would make their new “normal” a little easier to move into. Enjoy today – even with the stresses – because you’re not guaranteed tomorrow.
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:13-17