High Plains Journal All Aboard Wheat Harvest
All Aboard Wheat Harvest Combine Cam

Vices
Steph Osowski

Selby, ND – Osowski Ag Service is now homeward bound. I was recently sent a text that said, “Holy smokes! Have you guys ever been home this early?!” My response? Probably in a time far, far away, but none that I can recall. It is a safe bet that we will be home the first week in August or later, rarely earlier. Grafton can now be better known as the true land of 10,000 lakes given all the rain they continue to receive so I’m guessing by the outskirts of town, we will be swimming the duration of the way.

We’ve all got our thing we use to stay awake or at this point in the season, get slight withdrawals from if we don’t have said thing at our disposal. We’ve all got our vices. Mom’s, for instance, is Mountain Dew. She prefers it from a fountain but will accept cans or bottles. Dad has to have a thermos full of coffee. Peter can normally be seen holding a Red Bull with a side of Skittles, but Coca-Cola will work in the absence of Red Bull. Brandon has to have dill pickle sunflower seeds with a Coke. Last but not least, I am a big fan of Monster Rehab energy drinks (preferably the pink lemonade flavor). Traveling days call for multiples of all of the above.

The wheat we did while in Hemingford, Neb. did about 30 bushel for an average. The protein scrambled around from 7-10 in content. Around home, we are looking at 2-3 weeks before we start combining wheat but the barley could be ready within the week. The headers may need floaties, but we will do what we can!

(6 stops, 2 combines and…)
Bread Count – 6,549,191.88 loaves

Quote of the Day“Me and rattlesnakes are on a seek and destroy mission.”

Heading down into Farmer Steve's crater field.
Heading down into Farmer Steve’s crater field.
Waiting for a load.
Waiting for a load.
Pretty moon.
Pretty moon.
Cleaning off combines.
Cleaning off combines.
Gorgeous sunset.
Gorgeous sunset.
"Where the battle wasn't."
“Where the battle wasn’t…” One of the best town signs along the trail!
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Sharing isn’t caring!
Laura Haffner

Northeast Colorado:You may have heard your kindergarten teacher say, “Sharing is caring!” However, that rule doesn’t always apply to harvest. One of the most hated tasks of the crew is blowing off the machines, but it is a crucial practice not only for keeping machines running smoothly, but for good stewardship of leaving pests where we found them. The crew blows off machines before switching to a new farmer. However, if the farmer is fighting weed pest within his/her own operation, we can blow machines off before switching fields too. 

Below are some photos Mark sent in of the crew finishing the clean up process after their July 11-17, stay in the Sterling, Stoneham, and Logan Corners area. He was glad to be back for another year. The area’s yields averaged in the 50’s where hail had not been present.  Also pictured is a new crew member in training!

HPH-2016-Stoneham, CO (Mark)
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HPH-2016-Stoneham, CO (Mark)
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HPH-2016-Stoneham, CO (Mark)
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HPH-2016-Stoneham, CO (Mark)
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HPH-2016-Colorado (Mark)
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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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Harvest Party
Laura Haffner

Southeastern Morgan County, Colorado: The crew was temporarily reunited Monday in southeastern Morgan County, Colorado. It was the type of day harvest dreams are made of. There was plenty of heat, a breeze, and a beautiful big blue Colorado sky for a backdrop. There was also the pressure to get as much wheat out as possible in hopes to finish up the current farmer before the predicted storms set in.

Five combines were going round and round in the field doing their harvest dance, while the grain carts looked like worker bees going from combine to combine to collect the grain. Just as soon as a truck arrived at the field it was sent back to the elevator. The wheat was excellent. It was a harvest party, and the much anticipated guests of honor were the trucks. We turned our eyes to the western horizon hoping to see a growing dust cloud which meant a returning truck. With the amazing conditions, we had all of our trucks on the scene and they were going all out to keep up.

Our farmer gave his crop a good future throughout the growing season with fertilizer, weed control and fungicide. He is a dryland farmer, so he’s at the complete mercy of precipitation. The other day, I realized I haven’t given my readers a baseline when I tell you this may be the crop of a life time. I asked him what he would hope for as far as an average crop. He replied that if it made forty bushels per acre he would be very happy. He’s currently blowing his wishes out of the water. We’ve been cutting 60-80 bushel wheat with much of it in the 70ish bushel range. That is about a thirty bushels average over what they hope to make in a decent year! Amazing!!! The only damper to the situation is grain prices. They are very low, and last I checked, grain products at the supermarket have not followed this trend down. What can you do? For now, everyone is trying to keep their head up and be thankful for such an abundant harvest.

As luck would have it, the storms just couldn’t wait and a combine with a terrible sense of humor had an untimely breakdown which left about forty acres in the field. Ryan was discouraged with how it timed out, but they were to go back and finish a couple days later. All machines are running and have moved to the next farm of this stop.

Below are some photos I captured of the crew working together on Monday.

HPH-2016-Brush Monday (Laura)-9
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HPH-2016-Brush Monday (Laura)-5
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HPH-2016-Brush Monday (Laura)-6
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HPH-2016-Brush Monday (Laura)-8
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HPH-2016-Brush Monday (Laura)-7
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HPH-2016-Brush Monday (Laura)-3
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HPH-2016-Brush Monday (Laura)-4
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HPH-2016-Brush Monday (Laura)-2
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HPH-2016-Brush Monday (Laura)
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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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Terraces
Emma Misener

Sweetwater, OK — I texted a friend one day with this picture and a caption: “terraces.” He replied, “suck!” 
Emma: Sweetwater terraces
They may not look like much because pictures never do it justice, but they were steep.

Terraces CAN suck. Especially ones like these that are so steep. These are not the steepest terraces I have ever cut on, but I thought they were definitely worthy of their own post. For those of you who don’t really know much about them, they are actually very helpful. They help distribute the water more evenly to the whole field rather than those pesky low spots you can have that collect water. That is basically the job of a terrace. I am not really sure why we don’t see these terraces much north of Nebraska, but I guess that’s the way it is. We cut the terraces out. Meaning, we follow the lay of them following every curve, then cut the wheat that is in between each one and work our way across the field. We do this because we believe we leave too much wheat behind if we strictly just cut up and over them. Some people do it this way, but we prefer to have a field look as best as possible and that means no wheat left in the field.

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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Still Waiting to Get Into That Routine
Z Crew

Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do!
One of our last Kansas sunsets.
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
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Deerfield, Kansas –
The above picture is the final night of cutting near Deerfield, Kansas. What we had left in that field would be finished the next day. With all the rain in the area, there was a small pond in a corner of that field. And, it would be best to have Jim cut it out. If anyone was going to get the Beast stuck, it would be best if it was him! 

It didn’t take long to finish the field and then what was ahead of us was the worst part of the job…clean up. It was HOT – like 100 degree hot. And wind? Nope. None. We started cleaning on the header first – the dirtiest of the two. We both tried finding reasons to sit in the shade so when the crop duster flew right over the top of us, it was reason enough to stop and enjoy our own personal air show. Crop duster pilots have my utmost respect! I honestly believe they are part daredevil, part crazy! How they maneuver their planes without crashing is an amazing feat! 
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
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Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
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Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
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When we finished the header, we quit for the night. The combine would have to be done the next day.

We woke up to a fairly brisk wind and it was cool. Well, cool for the SW Kansas desert. Although, with all the rain the area had, it wasn’t much of a desert this year. The corn shot up from being a foot high when we arrived to over six and tasseled literally overnight. It didn’t stay suitable for humans very long. The wind died and it got very hot again. But, the job had to be completed. So, we would work for a while and then find a reason to go into Garden City. I think we must have made a half dozen trips to Garden City just to be able to sit in the air conditioned cab of the pickup. 
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
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Cleaning combine in the heat of the day was about as painful as childbirth. Even Jim was sweating…and he never sweats. It didn’t get fit to do anything until the sun began to set. We loaded the combine just as the sun was setting and the rest was done after dark. We finally finished about 10 pm – when it was actually fit to do anything!

We took the trailer house and Frank (with the header) to the farm near Limon, CO the next day. The trip was uneventful – which was a good thing! When we arrived, we set up the house-on-wheels and found the farmers we had cut for the past several years. They were busy cutting wheat so we hung around the field until they quit fo supper so we could say hello. It was really good to see all of them again!!
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
The storms were rolling in as we arrived in Colorado – guess we brought the rain with us. It seems like we’re good at that!
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
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Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
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We left after we had a piece of pizza with them and headed back towards Kansas. We didn’t make it all the way. We ended up spending the night in Scott City. So, we didn’t have much farther to go the next morning. Once we arrived at the farm, we settled up with our farmer, loaded the pickup on the car trailer and headed north again.
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
There are a lot of these piles scattered all over the Midwest! A bumper crop with no place to take it.
 
When we got to our destination we started unloading everything, of course. It was then that we realized we had a problem with one of the front combine tires…a bulge. Jim immediately got on the phone and started making plans for what we were going to have to do to get a new one. Apparently, this particular tire is not one that would be easily found. The new one was going to be shipped from North Carolina, which would take several days. We had to have a tire NOW. The plan was to take the car trailer to Gothenburg the next day and load up a used tire that could fill the gap until the new one arrived. Jim thought the trip was a little more than 200 miles. I’m not sure where the additional 100 miles came from but the one-way trip was over 300 miles. We arrived in Gothenburg, loaded the tire and headed right back towards Colorado. 
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
McDonald’s double cheeseburger meal was a must as we were driving through Burlington, CO at 10:30 pm.
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
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This puts us at Sunday (7/17). One of Jim’s very favorite places to visit in Limon is the Witt Boys’ NAPA store. They have always treated us so good – more of those “going above and beyond” kind of people. Whenever Jim talks about them, it’s always with pride in his voice. And…they lived up to that respect yet again. Sunday morning arrives and Witt Boys’ employees are at the farm putting a new tire on the Beast. Most people don’t understand the urgency of getting combines back in the field during harvest but these guys do! Thank you for your help with our situation! We couldn’t have done it without you.
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
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So, with the used tire mounted, we were ready to roll again. Like the yellow rim? Interesting how many people saw that and commented on it rather than the awesome cloud! That silly cloud dropped some of the biggest drops I have ever seen – and caused us to have to park the Beast. We’re helping fellow harvesters, Ryan and Casey Graham, here in the Limon area. Once we get all the machines back together again, we’ll have four yellow combines in the same field.

 Another much larger cloud made its way over to us before we could get back in the field again. This time it rained enough to shut us down all day Monday. Another day to catch up on things – but that didn’t happen. Instead of going to get groceries and doing laundry, I ended up getting a haircut. I guess that was okay, too!
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
This storm ended up dumping over 1/2 inch of rain at our field and nearly 2 inches where the trailer house is sitting. Needless to say there was a lot of water in the fields.
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
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We got started cutting again Tuesday at noon. The wheat is absolutely beautiful! It’s another once in a lifetime crop for the farmers in this area. The yield monitor has been holding steady at 72 bushels per acre – sometimes a bit more and sometimes a bit less. It’s standing and it cuts fairly fast. I can now go 4.5 to 5 mph. This is so much more enjoyable than the 1.8 mph that I had been going in Kansas with the lodged wheat. You’d be amazed how that wears on a person! The BIG problem we and the other farmers in the area have is storage. The elevators are already full and they’re not sure what they’re going to do to handle the situation. It could get VERY interesting before this is over.

We had a good afternoon and then the clouds started rolling in again. The weatherman was calling for storms with a lot of rain. We got a few drops just as we were stopping for the night. One thing about Harvest 2016…we haven’t had many full days. I’m certain not all harvesters have been in this predicament but it sure seems to be the story for the Z Crew. There’s nothing worse than getting geared up to go and then coming to a screeching halt. Once the routine of being in the field is broken, it’s so ridiculously hard to get back into it again. We’re still waiting to get into that routine. UGH!!
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
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Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do.
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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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Photographs Speak Louder than Words
Laura Haffner

Southeastern Morgan County, Colorado: Last year was the first time we cut for the farmers at our current location. In that time, we learned we had some common interests and that we really enjoy the view through our cameras’ viewfinders! It’s been fun to return this year to harvest and catch up on the happenings of the last twelve months and “play cameras!” They were gracious enough to share their photos with us and agreed to allow me to share some with you as well. I’m not sure if any further description is needed since the photos speak for themselves. I selected an assortment so you could see what the crew has been up to during the last week.

I was told to give the photo credits to Lynn and her faithful four-legged assistant, Jake, but there may have been another contributor as well!

HPH-2016-Morgan County, Colorado
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HPH-2016-Morgan County, Colorado
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HPH-2016-Morgan County, Colorado
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HPH-2016-Morgan County, Colorado
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HPH-2016-Morgan County, Colorado
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HPH-2016-Morgan County, Colorado
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HPH-2016-Morgan County, Colorado
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HPH-2016-Morgan County, Colorado
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HPH-2016-Morgan County, Colorado
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HPH-2016-Morgan County, Colorado
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HPH-2016-Morgan County, Colorado
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HPH-2016-Morgan County, Colorado
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HPH-2016-Morgan County, Colorado
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HPH-2016-Morgan County, Colorado
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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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Passion
Emma Misener

Sweetwater, OK — As I have mentioned in previous posts we have had lots of riders in the field. The kids are all so different. Some come to ride for a few minutes before wanting to go home, others maybe a couple hours, and still others some cannot get enough. My nephew, Leslie, is one that cannot get enough, as well as my niece, Lauren, who seems to want to do nothing else! All the kids like coming to the field, but these two really have a passion for it! It is refreshing to see the same determination and drive you find in yourself, in others. Especially those of which are so young.

Lauren needs her own post! This little girl, or rather young lady of almost double-digit 10 is so much fun in the field. She is willing to do the ‘dumb’ jobs or the jobs that aren’t so much fun. Sure, she wants to do the grown up jobs, but is willing to be patient and wait for when the time is right. The other day we were a person short it seemed. The grain cart was on the other side of the field, causing the combine to have to drive clear across it to dump. This is silly. She climbed happily up into the tractor cab, was given a brief and thorough lesson in moving and stopping, safety and common sense, and before long she was off in the cart moving it in a timely fashion. She is amazing! She did so good and did everything exactly as instructed. I was so impressed that i felt she was ready to unload on-the-go! She did a fabulous job! There is always room for improvement, but that is how you learn. She did just as good as any hired man first day on the job. Good job, Lauren! You’re hired!
Emma:elk city and beyond
Emma:elk city and beyond
Emma:elk city and beyond


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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Six Million Loaves!
Steph Osowski

Hemingford, Neb. – I apologize for not posting on here for a few days but man, what a few days it has been. In my last post, I let you all know that we were leaving our beloved St. Francis to move on into Nebraska. We pulled into Big Springs on Friday, unloaded and started up right away. We struggled to find an elevator that was both open and had space for more wheat and ended up hauling to Frenchman’s in Chappell. The wheat did alright; about 35 bushels and had test weights at 60 pounds. We finished our 250-acre job on Saturday, loaded up and are now at our last stop on the harvest run – Hemingford, Neb. I told you we could kiss summer goodbye after our first stop. Where did the summer go?!

This area has not received the rains that western Kansas did and the crops are suffering because of it. Many farmers in the area have been baling their wheat rather than cutting it at all. Farmer Steve told me today that he wouldn’t have minded if his wheat would have gotten hailed out and we all know any farmer saying those words is the rarest of the rare. The wheat is doing about 25 bushels but the test weights are 61-62 pounds. Protein is a bit low, about 7.8 for content.

Last year we buried the combine in Farmer Steve’s field. Brandon was surveying the area the other day and found that his ruts were still there from this event. No surprise, really – it took two wreckers to undo that mishap. With the lack of rain this area has, we did not anticipate getting stuck to be a problem. How very wrong we were. While leaving the field last night with its last load of the night, the Peterbilt found itself to be flush with the ground. This morning, we found ourselves digging small trenches underneath the traps of the hopper bottom in order to fit an auger underneath to empty out the truck into Purple. Nothing like some excitement, right? I told Farmer Steve this field is cursed. Shout-out to the Phillips people for helping us out and loaning us some of your toys to get out of the hole we made.

Bread Count – 6,107,375.82 loaves

Quote of the Day“I couldn’t tell you what’s going on on the other side of the terrace.”

Some of our farmers from St. Francis! From left to right; Mitch, Randy and Spencer.
Some of our farmers from St. Francis! From left to right; Mitch, Randy and Spencer.
Dad and Farmer Randy.
Dad and Farmer Randy.
Loaded up.
Loaded up.
Group selfie before departure!
Group selfie before departure!
Farmer Clinton.
Farmer Clinton in Big Springs, Neb.
Lounging.
Lounging.
Unloading into Purple.
Unloading into Purple.
Combines.
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Sunset on the service truck.
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Enjoying the view.
Enjoying the view.
All in a line.
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Quite the excitement.
Quite the excitement.
Holes for augers.
Trench for the auger to fit underneath the trap.
Thanks to the Trent for the help and bringing out his little toy!
Thanks to the Trent for the help and bringing out his little toy!
Unloading.
Getting unloaded so it can get unstuck!
Sunset on Purp.
Sunset on Purp.
Lovely.
Lovely.

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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Unexpected Joys
Emma Misener

Sweetwater, OK — There are times when I feel like my life consists of the same ol’ hum drum each day. Don’t get me wrong, I like what I do. I believe I am where I am suppose to be and doing what I’m supposed to do. But life can get you down in its weird little habits it creates. Especially when you are exhausted and ready for a break. The fourth day into cutting at Sweetwater an unexpected joy hopped into my cab. “HI! My name is Reed Thomas Tucker! I’m five years old and I love combines. What’s your name?”. In a matter of seconds a smile came upon my face and my heart melted. The next two hours were the best I had all week, and I didn’t even have to say a word. Simple, unexpected joy. God is amazing. He knows just what I need and when I need it. Thank you for little joys such as these and thank you for giving me the eyes to behold it, Lord!

Our conversation consisted of farming. What he liked, disliked. What his family did for a living. A farm accident someone close to his family had to endure. How his dad is a firefighter and that he might want to do that someday, but he also wanted to farm. What he wanted for Christmas! His toy farm he had at home and how the farm operated. How he has books on spiders and snakes and the he and his brother killed a black widow once with a hatchet. Haha! This little boy was a hoot and a blessing to have in my cab. Oh, to have the eyes of a child! No wonder God tells us to be like children. They find the simple joys! They’re not afraid of anything, anybody, to tell you what they think, and are just plain happy! I hope that God will grant me these qualities.

My 7 year old nephew, Leslie, was also in the field that day and rode a couple rounds getting acquainted with his new friend. Reed’s brother, Mason, also joined the fun, riding a round or two in the other combine. Soon the fun was over and it was time to go home. Sunset had come and supper hadn’t been eaten yet. Thanks for the visit, Reed Thomas Tucker! It surely was a pleasure and a great blessing.
Emma:elk city and beyond
(L to R) Reed, Leslie and Liz
Emma:elk city and beyond
Reed and Leslie became greats buddies!
Emma:elk city and beyond
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Emma:elk city and beyond
Leslie on the top of the ladder, Reed on the bottom, and Mason on the ground.
Emma:elk city and beyond
Dan talking to our farmer Mr. Sites, and Reed and Mason’s dad, Mr. Tucker!


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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