I did something tonight that I don’t usually do (unless I’m sick). I was actually laying on the couch, wrapped up to my chin with a fleece blanket. We’ve been cold and snowy here in Eastern Nebraska much longer than I really care to be. Once my body gets cold it takes blankets and/or a hot bath to really feel warm again. Tonight, I was hoping the blanket would do the trick. I guess that’s why I was on the couch.
The TV was on (more so for noise) and Jim was sitting in his chair looking at his phone. I thought about this particular scene as I looked at the carpet on the floor. My thoughts immediately went from the current moment to remembering what the floor looked like when we first moved in, which led to the carpet, which led to the chaos and craziness of this particular area of the house, which led to the quietness of the house, which led to why I’m writing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
That’s what Jim said to me last night. I went outside to mainly let him know supper was ready – if he wanted to come in and eat AND to see what the heck he was up to.
I guess that’s how accidents can and do happen. He was working on replacing the tire when Frank fell off the jack. Oh my gosh…I don’t EVEN want to think about what COULD HAVE happened! I’m just thankful he was standing upright and telling me how disgusted he was that he lost four hours due to this little event.
The jack broke, so he had to fix that, as well. When I went outside, he was in the process of making a stable base and getting things in place again. It finally got dark enough, he just had to quit.