a late october adventure

NE Wheat mobile baking lab

The end of October was the beginning of a big adventure for me and Callie. Shortly after we got home, home from Colorado, I received a phone call from Caroline, the Executive Director for the Nebraska Wheat Growers Association. She had a plan and was wondering if Jim and I would be up for helping her out.

The plan involved a road trip from Lincoln, Nebraska to Las Vegas with their mobile baking lab. Ardent Mills wanted to use it as part of the Tim Horton Owners Convention. Would we be interested in driving the lab to Vegas, getting on a plane to come home, getting on another plane to go back to Vegas and driving the lab home? I thought it sounded like an awesome adventure and I was honored she even thought of us to help her out. I, however, didn’t want to get my hopes up because I knew Jim would be in the field and wouldn’t be able to help. I told her I would definitely be in…as long as I could find someone to go with me.

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pickin up millet

So, from my last post, you know we had a Labor Day weekend excursion to the mountains while Taylor, Callie and Eli were here. I know they wanted to be in the field with us before they left for home but it didn’t pan out. We did, however, attempt to pick up a bit of millet on Monday. My memory isn’t as good as it used to be but I think that was a short day. We tried but it still needed more time in the sunshine.

This is proso millet prior to being swathed and laid in windrows. 

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it was the best surprise!

It was just a week ago yesterday they surprised us.

Taylor and Callie were coming to visit over the Labor Day weekend. We knew that. And I had suggested bringing Eli with them but I was told there were reasons why it just wasn’t going to work.

As it turned out, the proso millet wasn’t quite ready to be harvested. It needed a few more days so we were told we wouldn’t be working over the weekend. It would have to wait until Monday. I told Taylor and Callie this and they were a little bummed. I think they were both hoping to experience the combine, the truck and being in the field again. Something they took for granted when they tagged along with us every summer. This was the second summer they had been away from the routine. I wasn’t worried about finding something to do. I thought, if nothing else, maybe just us girls could make a trip into the mountains. I knew it would be hard to get Jim back into the hills after we’d just toured the Montana mountains.

The plan (or so I thought) was for the two of them to leave after Taylor got off work on Friday afternoon. They would be here either late that night or spend the night in a hotel. I encouraged the latter. I know how hard it is to get through those last couple hundred miles before you get here. And even worse when it gets so late. It was about 11:00 on Friday morning when Taylor called. She said she had gotten to take off work earlier than expected and they were just about ready to leave home. I told her to let us know how the trip was going and to be careful. “Oh, and when you get to Limon, would you stop at the grocery store (if it’s open) and pick up some peaches. They are REALLY good this summer!” She said she would.

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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.

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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.)

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whaz uuuuuuppppppppp???

Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do!

We’ve moved to job #3. We’re in the same area we have been for the past several years – just on different ground. We’re helping Ryan and Casey Graham for the time being. It seems like the weather just doesn’t want to cooperate for staying in a routine. The whole summer feels like this. 

Today, I’m looking forward to the arrival of Curt, Jamie, the kids and Callie. It sure will be fun to have them around for several days. I’m anxious to see how Eli likes being in the combine. He may not want to leave. 🙂

To get caught up on what we’ve been up to and where we’ve been, click here – it will take you to the High Plains Journal All Aboard Harvest website and blog. It seems that I just don’t have it in me to write two blogs. As soon as this project is complete, I’ll jump back over here and keep up with the “what’s up” with the Z Crew.

The heat is cranking up – BIG TIME – for the Midwest. This will make it tough on the truck drivers in the fields and anyone else not able to get in the air conditioning. Be safe and happy harvest!!
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.

One of the hottest days we’ve experienced and had to clean the combine. Not pretty.

Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.

For more pictures and “what’s up”, be sure to check out the All Aboard Harvest site.

the final months of 2015

Sometimes, it just doesn’t feel good to sit in front of the computer anymore.

It seems I’ve been in front of the computer screen on a daily basis the past 2 months. I think I’m ready to load up the Beast and head south again! Before the new year gets much further into January, I’ve got to update my pictures and print my blog for the year. So, with that, let me tell you a condensed version of what’s been going on. One day soon (I hope), I will get the want to sit down and write again…

So, let’s back up to September. We had great weather for the proso millet harvest. The pickup header took a little getting used to for me. Seems like just about the time I sorta felt like I may have it figured out, it was over. And those of you who know me, know that the end of harvest is NEVER easy for me. Even though I was anxious to get home to see the kids, the daily routine and excitement of harvest was over.

IMG_0115The millet had to be swathed before the combines could pick the rows up. This was usually done about a week before the combine followed.

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