the end of wheat harvest 2015

Yep! You read that right. Just about as quickly as it began, it was over. Jim doesn’t agree with me when I said we’d only actually cut wheat for 3.5 weeks this summer. I didn’t write the dates down but I know it went awfully fast. It wasn’t supposed to be over this quickly. It happens, though, when the timing of jobs and weather come into play.

Normally, after we finish with our acres in Limon, we clean up, pack up, load up and head for Jordan, MT. (my most favorite place to be during the summer) Not this year. The weather dealt a rough hand for the Z Crew this year. The wheat in Limon was set back due to the late season freeze on Mother’s Day weekend. The wheat in Jordan was moved ahead of schedule because of heat and lack of rain. These two circumstances clashed and made our schedule unworkable.

We were told we would need to be in Jordan on August 1 to begin cutting. There was no way. We finished in Limon late afternoon on August 1.

When I was told we weren’t going to make it to Jordan, I instantly felt sick. We had been there every summer for over 30 years. Some of our best friends live there and we only get to see them once a year. Not this year.

So, now what?

Well, we cleaned the Beast very briefly after we finished and before it wanted to rain on us. We headed back to the Cottage. Jim suggested we go camping. I was still feeling numb inside because we weren’t packing up and hurrying to Jordan. Taylor wanted to leave for home, home on Thursday morning so she could attend the county fair. Callie didn’t care one way or another. I didn’t think it would be worth the short period of time we would have to load everything up and head to the mountains for two days. So we just sorta decided against going.

Then I got to thinking about things.

We were all in a funk – well…maybe it was just me. Feeling sorry for myself because the summer was over. The last wheat field was cut for 2015. How could this be? The other harvesters were still on the move – and we were not.

So, after I spent some time thinking about things, I decided going camping was probably just what I needed – what we needed. What would we do otherwise? Sit in the camper and feel sorry for myself, I guess. I didn’t want to spend the last couple of days with the girls doing that. So…we gathered the camping gear, packed our clothes for a couple of days and headed west.

The first night was spent in the Holiday Inn Express in Colorado Springs. It was late enough in the day we didn’t feel it would be a good idea to try to find a place and set up camp in the dark.

I was given the job of finding a destination. I did my homework while the rest were crashed on the bed watching tv. I decided I really wanted to see the Crystal Mill near Marble, CO. It looked beautiful and was supposed to be like the most photographed location in Colorado. What I didn’t know is that it would take a jeep or ATV to get there. We found that out much later in the trip.

So, the next morning, we made our way to a campground that I had determined would be our home for the next couple of nights – Bogan Flats. I attempted to make a reservation online but all of the online reservations were already taken for the nights we would need a spot. It then became a “first come, first serve” basis. I got a bit anxious as the day got longer and I worried whether or not we’d get a spot to pitch the tent.  No worries. The perfect one was there waiting for us to arrive – right by the stream.





IMG_9146There she is…home for a few days.

Everyone was ready for a couple of days of nothing. No cell phone. No makeup. No hurries. No worries.

IMG_9149Once we got the tent set up and things in order, we took off to explore the town of Redstone. Redstone was on our way back to Carbondale. We didn’t have the makings for S’mores and Taylor insisted we HAD to get them.

IMG_9064These Coke Ovens are part of Redstone’s history. Very interesting!



IMG_9123Day 3:





IMG_9152Callie checking out the creek. This was the view from the “door” of the tent.


IMG_9155The town of Marble, CO. Marble for parts of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC came from these quarries.

After breakfast was over and the dishes were done, we sat around for a while. Then decided we’d see about going to the Crystal Mill. When we found out we couldn’t drive the dually and the cost of renting ATV’s was out of the question, we just decided to drive. To see what we could see. And this is what we saw:









IMG_9183We got back just in time to throw together a pot of chili and more s’mores. The stars were amazing! If only I could have taken a picture to share.

Final Day:










While I was doing my homework on Sunday night about the area I wanted to visit, I found an interesting place near highway marker 55. There are a couple of natural hot springs located near this site and it’s visited quite often by people. We went by several times throughout our stay and there were always cars parked and people in the water. So, we opted not to stay. On our way out of the area, though, I asked Jim if we could just stop one more time and see what it was all about. Lucky for us, it wasn’t full of people so we wandered down to the creek. I had to take off my shoes, of course, to see what it felt like. The water coming out of the side of the mountain was so hot I couldn’t keep my foot in for even five seconds. It felt like boiling water. The smaller “pools” you see have been built to catch the hot water and allow the cold creek water to tone the temperature down.


IMG_9200While we were along the creek’s edge, there was a friendly competition of who could skip the rock the most times. I think Callie may have won.


IMG_9206Back to “cibilation, mate”!

The next morning came way too quickly! And the dreaded moment of knowing the Cottage would no longer be filled with the noise of the kids and the chaos of all of us living in the same 40 feet of space. After they left, the day was spent trying to keep the tears from flowing with memories of them everywhere. EVERYWHERE! But, they made it home in time to attend the fair and see all of their friends…and boyfriends. Callie will be starting school soon and Taylor will be busy for the next couple of weeks taking pictures. As for me and Jim…the Cottage was pretty quiet.

IMG_9207The final moments of Harvest 2015 for Taylor and Callie.


Now what for the remaining two members of the Z Crew? Well, Jim has spent the past couple of days cleaning the Beast and the header. Both had been worked pretty hard the last 10 days of harvest. The typical nightly cleaning didn’t happen. So, there’s days and days of field dirt that have accumulated and been rained on. You know what that means – it doesn’t come off easy. I’ve been playing catchup on items around the Cottage and also for USCHI.

We’ll wait for the Proso Millet harvest.

We plan to make it home for a few days so Jim can get the corn head ready for fall. He’s hoping we can cut proso up til the time we need to be home for the soybeans and corn. While we have the down time, he’ll get things ready for that next part of Harvest 2015.

I’m hoping to get to play with Eli and Nora a bit. 🙂

We’ve never cut millet before. I’m excited about doing something different. That is supposed to begin sometime around the end of August – first part of September. So, harvest isn’t over…really. Just the part about the amber waves of wheat – which still makes me sad.

8 comments on “the end of wheat harvest 2015

  1. Karen. says:

    You’ll need duct tape to keep that proso in the machine. 🙂 Only sort of kidding … it does flow like water.

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      I’ve heard that! Someone else said using the grease we use for the combine works well too.

  2. I enjoyed your pictures of familiar territory around Redstone where we’ve visited friends who have a cabin there. Larry is an author among other things. Now that you don’t have much to do for the rest of the summer (something tells me you’ll not be idle long), if you’d like to read some history of the area set in the 1800’s, I recommend This Cursed Valley.
    We’ve also attended several excellent blacksmith meetings in Carbondale.

  3. Candi says:

    Oh my goodness – those pictures are beautiful & wish I was there to camp with you !!! Hope I get to see you on your trip home, home !!!

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      We wish you were with us more than once the past several weeks!! Anxious to see all of you guys!

  4. Rita says:

    All the talk of harvest and the fair made me homesick for Iowa! I really enjoyed your photos and the story of your family’s journey.

    It’s sad when the kids grow up and start doing their own things, but then, that’s what they are supposed to do!

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      Yep. That’s what they are supposed to do. It’s the changes that are a little hard on me and my heart. I love having my kids around and have thoroughly enjoyed being their mom! What part of Iowa are you from and where do you live now?

  5. Tom Stegmeier says:

    That sure is pretty country !! Talk about being disappointed about not going to Jordan . I was going to take a 4 day weekend and come and visit you & Jim !! Next year EH !!!

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