frank, pete and the yellow beast are now settled in for a long winter’s nap

IMG_4873The beauty of a Nebraska road as the sun starts to set.

The autumn color has been beautiful this year. And the sunsets…extraordinary! I don’t know if it’s the harvest dirt and dust to blame for creating these beautiful sunsets or if it’s because I’ve been outside at the exact time to witness them. Whatever it is, I have thoroughly enjoyed them.


Friday (the 15th) marked two events in our household. The first being that it was the anniversary of receiving one of the scariest phone calls a person could receive. As you  may or may not recall, Jim had already finished the fall harvest and returned to his winter job a year ago. The call I received the evening of November 15, 2012 was from a paramedic who was accompanying Jim in the back of an ambulance. I wrote “In a Split Second” while sitting in a hospital chair reflecting how fast a person’s life (and what feels like always will be) could change.  I’m so thankful that our world didn’t tilt as drastically as it could have and this anniversary can be looked upon as a reminder of not taking today for granted.

IMG_4902The empty space between the MacDon header and the corn head is where the combine trailer is going to slide into.

The other event that occurred involved a tetris-style parking job on Jim’s part. The last ear of corn was harvested on Monday which meant the 2013 harvest journey was complete. A successful year! Maybe not so much in the monetary sense but in the fact that we did the journey and returned home with exactly what we left with in June.

I was gone for 2 1/2 days of the week because I participated in the NAFB (National Association of Farm Broadcasters) convention with a couple other members of the U.S. Custom Harvester’s Board of Directors.  We had a booth at their Trade Talk event which enabled us to visit with some of the farm broadcasters that we interview with during the summer months. It’s great fun putting a face with a voice and seeing some of the radio greats such as Max Armstrong and Orion Samuelson in person. And, of course, everyone involved with harvest knows the Voice of the Harvester…Howard Hale.

601155_10152003695453826_1799382583_nDoing a radio interview with Don Wick with the Red River Farm Network out of Grand Forks, ND.

Anyway, Jim told me just before I left that he was going to need another set of eyes to help him get the equipment put away for the winter. So, when I got home, that’s just what we did. Unfortunately, by the time he was ready to begin this puzzle, the sun was starting to set on the horizon rather fast.

IMG_4903Preparing to separate the Pete from the grain trailer and hook it to the combine trailer.



Jim told me before we got started that he had laid in bed several nights trying to figure out exactly how things were going to fit in the shed. The past couple of years weren’t quite so tight because he didn’t have as much equipment to put away. I know in 2011, there was no trailer house to deal with (because we sold it) and I think last year we were short a header or something. This year, though, everything needed a home. So, when he called me up to let me know he was ready to start putting the puzzle together, he said, “Make sure you grab the flashlight”. All I could think of is it’s hard enough in the daylight and we’re going to attempt this now? 

IMG_4907Take note of the sides of the combine trailer in the above picture.

IMG_4910To help with space restrictions, the extensions on the trailer have to be lifted. Let me tell ya…these are HEAVY!

IMG_4914The end result



Jim can back a trailer with the best of ’em. As for me…I just can’t do it. I suppose with practice, I could but I’d just as soon not have the responsibility. Backing into a dark shed with only the faith that your wife is going to tell you the correct way to turn and when to stop takes some trust. Would you be able to let someone back you into a spot and trust the person directing? I had my flashlight and a connection to Jim via the telephone and we “got ‘er done”.


After the combine trailer found its spot for the winter, the cottage on wheels was parked in front of it. Jim was worried about the air conditioners hitting the frame of the door. It had been parked in here last winter but it was backed in with the Pete. It was a brand new configuration now using the Dodge. “You’ll have to stand up on this ladder and watch so the air conditioner doesn’t hit” The ground looks pretty far away when standing on the top of an 8 ft. ladder. I ended up having to stand on the very top (where it says this is not a step) to be able to see what I needed to see. The air conditioner missed hitting that door frame by only an inch (or less).


IMG_4927Jim and his headlights making the final steps.

The combine got washed and put away in our farmer’s shed. The grain trailer was squeezed in an old building that another friend owns. “Why don’t we just buy a shed big enough to put everything in and not have to squeeze it all somewhere?”, I asked Jim. “I’m getting too old to do anything like that now”, he replies.  Moral of the story – do things like building a shed or buying a piece of ground when you’re young. The year’s come and go and before you know it, you’re too old to do it. My Grandma used to always tell me, “Travel and do things while you’re young. If you wait til you can do it, you usually can’t”. I’m beginning to understand what she was talking about.

Harvest 2013 is now one for the Z Crew’s history books. From here on out, we’ll start checking off the events on our calendar (Thanksgiving, Christmas, USCHI convention, birthdays, anniversaries and Easter) before the journey is prepared for all over again. As far as I’m concerned…it can’t come soon enough!

6 comments on “frank, pete and the yellow beast are now settled in for a long winter’s nap

  1. Anthony Barrett says:

    Did you listen to the keynote speaker at the convention? Her name is Karen Ross. That is my Aunt (Dad’s sister).

  2. Karen. says:

    I visited. 😉 Your grandma was a smart cookie.

  3. Ha! This cracks me up. Love your posts, Tracy! Your husband laid in bed several nights in a row trying to figure all of this out? 🙂 I am sure mine does too!

    We have a similar storage set up in a very similar style building over at my husband’s grandmother’s house……. and in FACT, instead of repairing or replacing a grain bin, my FIL suggested we start storing corn in that hut again! (They did back in the day when the feed mill was still in business) Not sure where he is planning on putting all of our equipment! 🙂

    We decided to take the risk and build our place (house/shop) at a young age because of all the advice given to us by our parents and their friends. I am so glad we listened! Our 75 year old neighbor is just now building his dream farm shop but he plans on retiring soon?

    And I don’t think you and your husband are too old to build a shed! see above comment about 75 year old neighbor building his dream shop 😉

    • Well, Kelly, I have to give it to ya…SOMEONE listened! Good for you and so glad you get to enjoy your new home for a LONG time! Our little house was going to be our beginner – it’s probably going to be our finisher, too. Oh well.

      I’m glad you enjoy my posts and it cracked you up! My posts are definitely a view into our world and what goes on in our household! But…I wouldn’t want it any other way.

      And, above all else, I’m glad you don’t think we’re too old to build a shed. I guess if we compare ourselves to your 75 year old neighbor, we are still young. 🙂

Comments are closed.