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Emma: Obstacles

emmaThis year’s Oklahoma wheat harvest was not without its obstacles. The last few days of cutting, I got stuck twice! The first time I was able to unload onto the grain cart and push my way through without the extra weight of the grain to hold me back. Elizabeth was riding with me for this one and wanted to stand in the tracks to see how deep it was. I sank about a foot to the bottom of the rim, but I managed to push through once Dan unloaded me.

Emma: Triticale and MudEmma: Triticale and Mud

The second time I was not so fortunate. This particular field I was cutting near the bottom where water was standing. I had just unloaded onto the grain cart and was nearly empty when the combine found a sink hole. In these situations, there is nothing to do except pull. We grabbed the tow strap from the tractor, attached it to the back of the grain cart and pulled on the back of the combine at about a 20 degree angle, and it popped right out. I was in the combine, Dan in the cart, and Liz was the communicator between the two of us, as well as the photographer. Thanks, Liz!
Emma: Stuck & CleaningEmma: Stuck & Cleaning
I was nearly halfway up the rim of the tire. Pictures never depict the way it really was. Back to harvesting I went and never got stuck again! (The combine kinda blends in with the trees. Look on the right side of the treeline.)

The grain cart was not without its own obstacles. Western Oklahoma’s ground is pretty sandy. A nearly full grain cart + going uphill on sandy ground = trouble! Thankfully we were able to wiggle it out and solve our problem.
Emma: Stuck & Cleaning


This is the farmer whose field we were stuck in. Mike is a great guy to work with. Always ready, willing and able to help out when need be and is a hoot to boot! Thanks, Mike, for your friendship. It’s a pleasure to work for you!
Emma: Stuck

Not only was mud an obstacle, but this big buck lost an antler in the field. Thankfully it was caught in the sickle and not stuck in the tire. I can’t believe it did not hurt the sickle at all. I didn’t even have to change a section. It really makes you think how powerful the cutter bar really is. It also makes you think of how easily we can forget how important safety is. If it can cut through bone, it can take your finger.
PLEASE remember to be careful out there. Safety first!
Emma: Triticale and MudEmma: Triticale and Mud

Be safe and God bless!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. Emma can be reached at emma@allaboardharvest.com.

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Posted in 2015, aawh, All Aboard, Crop Updates, Emma, harvest, New Holland, Photos, wheat | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Emma: New adventures

emmaFifty years from now, when I am describing to my grandchildren the fascinating life of the “good ol days” on the harvest run, I’ll have to begin by saying, “It all started back in 1988.” Honestly, they’re going to think, “Jeesh, she is SO OLD! 1988?!”
I have been on the harvest run all of my life. It really did start back in 1988 when I was born. Harvest has been instilled in me from the very moment I was conceived and my little life was created. Every harvest consisted of me packing up my crayons, coloring book, and pillow and off to the field we went. It then turned into helping move from field to field driving the pickup at 10 miles per hour, and finally my dream was reality at 10 years old: to drive the big, green machines, all by myself! At age 15, I became instructor/teacher/motivator of the new generation of combine drivers.

If you would have asked my 17-year-old self where I would be today, I probably would not have told you that I was still going to be on the harvest run. Today, I really wouldn’t have it any other way! I love my job. I love this way of life! Just goes to show that God really is in charge and all we can do is hang on for the ride! He knows best.

I love how harvest is never the same. Conversely, I hate how harvest is never the same. It is hard and sometimes very challenging not knowing where you are going next or what you are going to be doing. Again, I love not knowing where I’m going next or what I’ll be doing tomorrow, next month, or six months from now! I promise, I do have a point to this rambling!

The other day, I experienced something new! I got to cut a new crop called triticale. Apparently this crop has been around since the 1800s, originally created in Scotland and Sweden by crossing wheat and rye together. But it was new to me! I was very excited to be cutting something new and it was very fun comparing this crop to others I have harvested. To me, it felt like I was cutting barley: long, golden stalks that shimmered, and flax, which felt like I was cutting wire a lot of the time. It looks like rye from the road, being very tall (about 4 to 4 1/2 feet), and about a 6- to 8-inch head. It has the fat and full head of wheat with beards that are as long as could be. The seeds are the length of rye with the fat and fullness of wheat. The taste is not like either of its parents. It definitely lacks the nuttiness of wheat and the tartness of rye. It has its own unique taste. Farmers mostly use it for cattle feed because it has protein qualities very similar to corn, but it is also grown for human consumption. It is a drought resistant crop, and it can be found all over the country.

I really enjoyed cutting this crop!
This is where I found out some information on triticale.
Here is what the triticale we cut looks like.

Emma: Triticale and Mud
Emma: Triticale and Mud

Emma: Triticale and MudEmma: Triticale and Mud

Emma: Triticale and MudEmma: Triticale and Mud

I guess the whole point of this particular post is that life is always full of little surprises. You have to look around and enjoy the whole earthly experience. We only get one life here on earth. Let’s make the best of it and step out of our daily hum-drum routine, and stop and smell the beautiful roses of life!

Be safe and God bless!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. Emma can be reached at emma@allaboardharvest.com.

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Posted in 2015, aawh, Crop Updates, Emma, harvest, High Plains Journal, New Holland, Photos, wheat | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Z Crew: End of the road

headshotLimon, Colorado—Word around here is that the Z Crew may be on their last couple days of wheat harvest work. The harvest here in eastern Colorado has remained slow and steady. Our usual stop in Montana began harvesting about four days ago and it looks we will not make the trip north.

Callie and I have been missing the rest of the family greatly since they left a week ago. We’ve stayed busy at the farm and the local county fair. I never thought two wheat harvest girls could be so good at picking the top hog at the pig show!

Colorado has kept up with the nightly showers, late morning starts and dry hot afternoons. The crew did run into a surprise two days ago when they pulled into a field that they’d thought would make outstanding bushels to find it had a substantial amount of hail damage. The adjuster came out yesterday and concluded it was a 65 percent loss. That puts a damper on the morale when you’re near the end of harvest.

Bushels per acre have remained about the same all depending on whether or not it had frost damage. The fields out here in eastern Colorado look as though they could run on forever. The average size of a field roughly hold 200 to 300 acres, a lot being mile-long strips. They’re perfect for taking Callie’s senior photos! It looks like she has a never-ending wheat field behind her.

The Crew looks to finish here on Saturday, “as long as no one dies,” in Dad’s words. Yikes. I think the boss has finally decided we will finish the wheat harvest here, give the combine a good cleaning and maybe take a trip to the mountains for a few days. Callie and I hope to head home around the end of next week. I can’t believe it’s already time for school to start back up!

After Callie and I return home, Mom and Dad may follow shortly behind to do a little work on the corn head back home prior to fall harvest. They will then return to eastern Colorado to assist in the prozo/millet (birdseed) harvest. They won’t be home until the end of September to begin fall soybean and corn harvest.

Z Crew: storm clouds
And in roll the storm clouds. (Photo by Tracy Zeorian.)

Z Crew: rainbow over wheat
I love eastern Colorado because you can watch it rain 1/2 a mile away and enjoy the view while the storm moves around our field. (Photo by Tracy Zeorian.)

Z Crew: the greenies
Rockin’ and rollin’ on the Colorado Plains.

Z Crew: the judge
Elbert County Fair livestock judging

Z Crew: nervous mama
One of our farmer’s daughters-in-law watched the kids nervously!

Z Crew: Bubba
Here’s ol’ Bubba and his steer, Lloyd Christmas!

Z Crew: Riley girl
And Riley girl talking with the judge about Oakley.

Z Crew: hey kiddos
Here comes the crew of little girls!

Z Crew: Callie senior photo
Callie and I have had a great time this summer taking her senior pictures! We’ve had some nice wheat!

Z Crew: family photo
Z Crew family photo op while we had THE WHOLE CREW here! (Left to right: Taylor, Jenna, Callie, Jim, Tracy, Curt, Eli, Jamie, Nora.)

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. The Z Crew can be reached at zcrew@allaboardharvest.com.

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Posted in 2015, aawh, All Aboard, harvest, High Plains Journal, Jenna, New Holland, Photos, wheat, Z Crew | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Steph: Tried and true

StephNEW_thumbnailHemingford, Nebraska/The Open Road—I was told today that a true harvester always hates the end of the road. I guess that must make me the truest of the true because when it comes time to hit the dusty trail leading back to home, it always feels too soon. I told Dad to just send me to Montana or western North Dakota with Purple and the combine and I would do just fine on my own! The irrigated wheat that finished up our southern harvest season did right at 70 bushels per acre with 59 pound test weights. Not a bad note to end on!

Another tiny trucker anecdote: some of the things my Dad gets me into, I tell you what. If you happened to see my video Take a Ride in Purple! you saw the interesting conditions that we truckers had to endure every load. On my way out of the field yesterday, I am pretty sure I saw my and Purple’s lives flash before my eyes. We had trucks parked on a different end of the field than usual to make it more convenient for Brandon to unload the combine. However, the only way out from that particular side of the field was a hill path. A literal hill path, the kind that run right along a hill. At one point, I was convinced I was gonna tip right over and that would be the end of that. However, I am happy to report there were no casualties or tipsy-turvies.

We began the two-day trip home today and made it exactly halfway between Hemingford and home. Driving all day sure gives you time to think and I am going to give you a small example here of how my brain works; I was listening to the radio today and a song came on, your typical cute little country love story. At one point, the lyrics go, “Threw my truck in 5th gear” and all I can think is, “Man, he must have really grinded those gears to start in 5th…that’s hard on the transmission.”

I also have to throw a quick little shout-out to the Phillips boys and Caroline for your great service and sarcastic humor that make you guys so much fun to be around! We look forward to seeing you guys again next year!

Quote of the Day“Harvesters never say die!”

Stuff Harvesters Like—A smooth, flat, not-heavily-trafficked road to travel down. (We did NOT get those on our first leg of travel.)

A view of our crater field!

A view of our crater field!

Skies for days.

View of Hemingford from the west end of town.

View of Hemingford when coming in from the west end of town.

Irrigated wheat.

Purple at the Farmer's Co-op.

Purple at the Farmer’s Co-op in Hemingford.

Sunsets on the prairie.

Storm in the background.

The storm in the background made for such cool scenery!

Purple, looking majestic.

The lighting looks so cool!

The lighting in this one looks so cool!

Stubble.

Last couple swipes of the field!

Last couple swipes of the field!

Comin' at me.

The sky was unreal.

The sky was unreal.

Loaded up and ready to go!

Loaded up and ready to go!

Parked for the night, home tomorrow!

Parked for the night, we will make it home tomorrow!

Cruisin'.

Cruisin’.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Steph at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.

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Posted in 2015, aawh, All Aboard, Crop Updates, harvest, High Plains Journal, New Holland, Photos, Sponsors, Stephanie, stories, Syngenta, wheat | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Laura: Montana

LH Blog PhotoHardin, Montana—The crew with Mark has finished up in Nebraska and moved into Big Sky Country—Montana.  They have been cutting for several days but were out of the field yesterday due to rain.  Late last week, Mark reported that he was seeing yields in the 50s.  Test weights were in the 62 pounds per acre range.  He says that it appears like the “mountains” received a few more rains than the flatlands in the area.

HPH - July 2015

Pieter G. sent in this photo Mark and him “fetching” the wheat in Nebraska. One of the fun things about having crew members from other regions or parts of the world is hearing how others use the English language.  Sometimes it may be different than what we’re accustomed to! 

HPH - July 2015

HPH - July 2015

The photos above are from Mark at our current Montana location. He told me to take note of the grade of the field. It’s hard for the picture to do justice to the steepness.

HPH-July 2015 Montana

HPH-July 2015 Montana

HPH-July 2015 Montana

Jill just sent in these beautiful shots this morning from Montana. 

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

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Posted in 2015, All Aboard, Crop Updates, High Plains Journal, Laura, New Holland | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments