High Plains Journal All Aboard Wheat Harvest

“I Wonder if it’s Worth It”
Z Crew

Z Crew: because it's what harvesters do.
The very last load of Texas grain being dumped on Tuesday.

Deerfield, KS –There’s lightning in the sky west of us tonight. I wouldn’t care if it did rain right now.

The days have been exhausting since we finished the last acres for Bryan (our Claude, TX farmer) on Tuesday. Long and exhausting! The heat has been horrible and I’m certain that has a lot to do with how wore out I feel at the end of the day. After the last grain was dumped, we headed back to the field and cleaned the header and the combine off. We also replaced the sickle bar with a new one. We’ve been hearing how heavy the crop around Garden City could be – maybe with a lot of lodging (laying flat on the ground). We wanted to make sure we were ready for that. It’s a good thing we did what we did because as we were slipping the old one out, it broke. 

Z Crew: because it's what harvesters do.
.

Z Crew: because it's what harvesters do.
.
Our first trip north was made late Wednesday afternoon. The first half of the equipment heading to Deerfield, KS included the trailer house and Frank pulling the header trailer. We really hated to leave during the hottest heat of the day but had no choice. We arrived in Deerfield about 11:30 pm anticipating we’d pull into the trailer court and set up the trailer as minimally as possible due to the late arrival. We knew we really wanted a shower and air conditioning. What we didn’t expect was to see a near full campground. We’ve never seen so many trailer houses in this park before – ever. We haven’t found out the reason yet for all of the them but I know it’s not for harvest. 

Due to the filled campground and it being so late, we decided to head over to the grain elevator and park in the yard for the night. Both Jim and I were so tired, we didn’t care that it was hot and we were filthy from the day of loading in the extreme heat. We parked the trailer so what little breeze there was could make its way into the camper through the open windows. The thermometer read 87 degrees inside the trailer. I know I eventually drifted to sleep. A shower and air conditioner sure would have been the best way to end the day.

We got up early Thursday morning and took the trailer house back to the campground. It was much easier to see what we were up against in the light of day. We got it set up and decided to shower before heading back to Claude after load #2. I was just stepping into the shower when Jim’s phone rang. It was our farmer in Colorado. I had this sick feeling in my stomach and felt something must be wrong for him to be calling so early in the day. The phone call was just ending as I was stepping out of the shower. It was “the” phone call. One, as a harvester, you don’t want to get…let alone, when it’s your next stop. The input costs were too high. The grain prices are horrible. They have one of the best crops they’ve ever had but just didn’t think they could justify hiring us to help this year. We thought we’d be making our way toward Colorado in 2-3 weeks. What does a harvester do in a situation like this? Go to plan B. What’s plan B? Right now, we have no idea. This has already happened once this year – the beginning of the season. Remember? There was no wheat to cut in Shattuck, OK this year because the farmer had grazed it due to the very same reasons. We found acres to make up for those that were lost. I can only pray that we will find acres to make up for what we had counted on cutting in a couple of weeks. “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” 

Not only do low commodity prices affect the farmer, it trickles down and affects so many more – equipment manufacturers, harvesters and even the community in which the farmer lives. Anyone and everyone who is involved with that farmer and his crop is challenged by the low crop prices. It’s hurting all of Agriculture.

We locked up the trailer house and made our way south again. There was a lot of silence on that trip. And then I heard Jim say, “I wonder if it’s worth it?” We work so hard to try to make a living with this service we offer the farmer. Expenses are high with the cost of equipment, the insurance, the fuel, upkeep of the equipment, food and the expenses of traveling the highways. The one large expense we don’t have that most other harvesters do is the labor bill. Is it worth it? When he said that, my whole insides sank. I hated to see him disheartened. When we start to lose the desire of continuing a job we love, it turns into work. Somehow, I need to encourage him and remain positive. That’s not always easy to do. “We’ll get through this; we just have to have faith – and one day at a time”. My grandma’s favorite saying – one day at a time. Trying to see the whole picture is just too difficult.

We made it back to Claude late afternoon. We loaded the combine and got squared away with a couple of bills in town. Bryan offered to take us out for supper. We had a great time! It was good to laugh and enjoy the company of a new-found friend!  We left Claude Friday morning. 


Z Crew: because it's what harvesters do.
These wind turbines are just north of Claude. Thanks for treating us so kindly Texas!
Z Crew: because it's what harvesters do.
As we were pulling into the town of Perryton, Texas, I followed this John Deere combine. He was sort of “hogging” the road so I decided I would follow until it was safe to pass. It gave me a sense of pride seeing that big green beast making its way through the city traffic. I pulled up beside it at the red light and glanced over to see it was a friend of ours. I waved big at him as he was waving big at me. What a strange connection we harvesters have!
We arrived back to Deerfield late afternoon. It was HOT! I believe the pickup said 103 degrees. I certainly didn’t want to unload everything but that’s exactly what we did. We started to undo what we had done only a day or so ago. The combine was unloaded, the header was unloaded, the miscellaneous items we bring along were unloaded from Frank, the trucks were made road ready and we were off. Did I mention it was hot? I could feel all energy being sapped from every inch of wherever it was prior to stepping out of the cool pickup to the heat of the day. I literally drug my feet with each step I took. 

We are back in the business of cutting wheat! The crop is a much different one than the one we cut in Texas. The monitor was showing 95 – 100 bushels per acre. There’s lots of straw; therefore, I have to go much slower through the field than I have been. The fields are absolutely beautiful! 

I’m ready to put these past couple of exhausting days behind me and push onward. As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” We’re going to continue!
Z Crew: because it's what harvesters do.
.
Z Crew: because it's what harvesters do.
.

Z Crew: because it's what harvesters do.
Opening the grain bin extensions.
Z Crew: because it's what harvesters do.
“Jim, stand there and let me take a picture of you.” “Why?” “Because I need a picture for the blog”.
Z Crew: because it's what harvesters do.
“Okay, only if I can take a picture of you”.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. The Z Crew can be reached at zcrew@allaboardharvest.com.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

Visiting Hours
Steph Osowski

Lyons, Kansas — Osowski Ag Service had some visitors at our field yesterday. A few representatives from AG am in Kansas, out of Topeka, came out to our field to give us our own little debut. We discussed a little bit of everything from yields to an Osowski Ag history lesson and had a whole lot of laughs in between.

During the filming process, ominous clouds were inching closer and closer to our field. We joked about how the whole situation was going to be cut short before it could even begin. The good news: We finished up all the filming and photography before the clouds set in. The bad news: The clouds did set in and we have been shut down for an undetermined period of time. That can only mean one thing—nap time.

Video crew from AgAm.
Video crew from AG am in Kansas.
Purple on cam.
Purple on cam.
Interviewing.
Interviewing.
Steph and Jim from AgAm.
Steph with Jim from AG am in Kansas.

 

Shows how things really went the entire time. We had a great time!
Shows how things really went the entire time. We had a great time!
Getting some footage.
Getting some footage.
Done for the day, thanks clouds.
Done for the day, thanks clouds.
Dad (Bob), Brandon, Steph and Peter.
Here comes the storm.
Here comes the storm.
I think we are done for.
I think we are done for.


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

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

Home!
Laura Haffner

North central Kansas — Last Tuesday morning, I packed up the kids and a few necessities and hit the road for home. It was nearly the middle of the month and I needed to go home and catch up on the bills, pay payroll taxes and handle other related office responsibilities that couldn’t wait. Ryan thought he’d be home sometime Thursday or Friday, so we didn’t feel too bad about heading out as he planned to be cutting around home at the end of the week.

I get some butterflies when leaving the harvest trail. We were away from home for four weeks and one day (the kids went south a few days before harvest to see family). It may sound strange, but there is an assimilation process that takes place each time we go home. I realize that it’s not a long time to be away, but it’s an intense time and just “different.” At home you have to maintain that harvest intensity and tunnel vision while trying to juggle all the home things too. Despite the adjustments, I do feel fortunate to get to have a stop close to home and sleep in my own bed mid-season.

The trip home was to take a little under seven hours with no stops. However, one knows when traveling with a baby and a toddler, more (or a lot more) time need to be figured into the trip. I shouldn’t complain, though. They were really tough and traveled as well as they possibly could considering the miles.

Once I entered Comanche County, Kansas, the first Kansas county along our route, the wheat was just stunning. It was the picturesque amber waves of grain everyone thinks of when they think about wheat. It continued this way all the way home. Obviously, I was just doing a 65 mph drive-by, so I can’t speak to the actual quality, but cosmetically, it was the kind of wheat that almost makes you want to look away and speak in hushed tones as if to avoid inviting any unforeseen catastrophe.

Mom met us along the route and took Little Man for a few nights so Lady A and I could get some paperwork done. My mother and mother-in-law are kind to help us when needed. Whether it’s childcare, sewing light-reducing curtains for the camper so the kids can nap better (thanks Mom!), cat sitting, mail collecting, house plant watering, or just moral support, they are always willing be there and are so appreciated!

As it is with harvest, unexpected things pop up and we had some changes in Kansas. With some creative thinking, a new plan was devised and Mark would finish at Kiowa and move to the Victoria, Kansas, area while Ryan would continue to plug away in Texas. Of course we were disappointed that Ryan wouldn’t be home as planned, but during the busy season if there are acres to cut, we must focus on the task at hand. After all, you can’t cut wheat in the winter. We’re thankful for the modern convenience of FaceTime.

We caught a rain last Friday night and the crew told me they received 2 inches at our farmer’s home place and an inch north east in another area where his fields are located. They were able to resume cutting Monday afternoon near Gorham, Kansas. Two members of the crew took a combine and truck to the Scott City area and are cutting with a farmer down there.

As for me, I am plugging away on the paperwork, taking meals to Mark and the crew as they cut around the area, and try to balance our home life with the kids. I have milk jugs with July expiration dates in my fridge. Where is this summer going?  

HPH-Henry 5
Yields coming across the monitor varied widely in Kiowa. I was told it was running anywhere from the high twenties to sixty bushels per acre. (Photo credit: Henry)

HPH-Henry 6
Kiowa, Kansas, Sunset (Photo credit: Henry)

HPH-Kiowa
This was what it was like when the crew finished in Kiowa, Kansas, last Thursday. Not exactly ideal, comfortable conditions for blowing off and loading combines!

HPH
I will miss this little guilty pleasure of Texas! I’ve been a fan since I was a kid, after my grandma got me hooked and fed my habit when I’d visit each summer. Am I their spokesperson for Homemade Vanilla? No, but I’d be willing! Payments in ice cream preferred!

HPH WFT Church
The pastor a church we attended while in Texas sent us this lovely card and well wishes for our harvest journey. What a sweet surprise! It was a joy to attend their beautiful church while in town.

HPH - Ellis County, KS storm
It’s hard to see, but in the center of the photo was an interesting rotating updraft during Friday’s storm.

HPH - Friday Storm
This was a strange storm. It hung out north of Interstate for a while, then built toward the northwest and later traveled southeast. It packed enough rain to give part of the crew the weekend off.

HPH - John Deere and Hail Green
John Deere green or hail green. I don’t have to tell you which is a preferred color at harvest time.

HPH-Mail
Just some of the mail that was waiting for me. The High Plains Journal looks a little more fun to read than dealing with the bills.

6-20-16 HPH Gorham, Kansas Harvest Photos - Laura-11
Back in action on Monday. Can’t wait to write more about this soon!

 All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at laura@allaboardharvest.com.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

The Official Beginning!
Emma Misener

Elk City, Oklahoma — We’re cuttin’ wheat! Harvest 2016 has begun for MFH (Misener Family Harvesters)! As I mentioned in a previous post, we have been having some late nights and early mornings, and we started harvesting a little while back. Here’s a video of the very first outing 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.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

Truck Suspense
Steph Osowski

Lyons, Kansas — The wheat is good here…really good. All along my route from field to elevator, combines and grain carts are sitting with augers out and hoppers full, patiently waiting for trucks to return. The roads are all trucks, bumper to bumper. The elevators in Hutchinson, Kansas, have their work cut out for them this year. Our test weights have been from 60 to 62 pounds, and the yield is looking to be 60 to 70 bushels per acre.

The heat has maintained itself here but God bless the wind. The fact that we just came out of Oklahoma and I am blessing the wind is an odyssey because true to the song, Oklahoma is “where the wind comes sweeping down the Plains.” I could hear Purple breathe a sigh of relief when I parked her for the night. We hauled like crazy today and Peter and I were proud to say that even though our haul was a 20-mile trip, the combines didn’t have to sit more than a half hour in truck suspense.

Bread Count — 1,812,377.64 loaves

Quote of the Day“Now that’s a table-top cutting job.”

An Osowski Original — My old Purple has been through a few hired hands before we were blessed with each other. Around 17 years ago here in Lyons, Mom got a phone call from the elevator. Mind you, this was before everyone and his or her dog had a cell phone, so this hired hand had to use the elevator’s landline. The phone call revealed to Mom that the hired hand had slammed his finger in the door of Purple and needed to be taken to the hospital for stitches.

Loading up.
Loading up.
Guiding.
Guiding.
Strapping on the window cover.
Strapping on the window cover.
Brandon strapping the window cover on the other combine.
Brandon strapping the window cover on the other combine.
CREW.
CREW.
Guiding Brandon onto the header trailer.
Guiding Brandon onto the header trailer.
Attaching signs.
Attaching signs.
Service truck got stuck.
Service truck got stuck.
Farmer Sheldon going to take a combine ride.
Farmer Sheldon going to take a combine ride.
Waiting for me!
Waiting for me!
Found Peter on the road!
Found Peter on the road!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Steph at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

What’s this? ANOTHER breakdown?
Z Crew


Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
My little bit of home that follows the wheat trail. I think they are really loving this Texas heat. And the toad that has found a home in the dahlia pot thinks he’s going along to the next stop. I don’t think so!
Texas
It was working earlier today…I swear! The Combine Cam, that is. Maybe it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to head to Vegas right now. I know we gamble all summer long anyway, but I’m beginning to think I may have a bit of a losing streak running right now. First it’s the Beast and now this. 

Last night, I received a text from family at home: “Gilligan’s (Jillian’s nickname) got Livestream hooked up and she’s watching you on her phone. She’s watching you with Candi.” So, I tried to give ’em a little wave and turn the radio up just a little louder so it wasn’t so boring. “I like your music”—an email from Jillian. So much fun! It really is. Especially if you don’t get to sit in the cab of a combine or if you have and just need a reason to get excited about your own harvest. I like to tell people who ask that it’s almost as though you’re sitting in the buddy seat right next to me. 

We’ve determined that a new cable is what is needed to keep the webcam running like it should so there isn’t any break in the action. There’s nothing worse than getting settled in for the day of harvest and then the screen goes blue. The breakdown actually came at a good time. Jim and I should finish with the acres we had lined up in Texas tomorrow (hopefully). Maybe my breakdown streak is over. We’ll get the equipment cleaned up, road-ready and make our way to Deerfield, Kansas. We’re hoping to be back in the field on Friday. 

While we’re finishing up and making our way north, the replacement cable should be making its way to Dodge City (home of High Plains Journal) and waiting for our arrival. Keep your fingers crossed!

Will leave you with a few pictures from today.

Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
Candi and Jillian with their phones in their hands watching the Combine Cam last night.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
They ran to the fence when I was in their corner of the world. Someone once told me calves at this age are comparable to teenagers. That would make sense.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
Finishing the day with the full moon on the horizon. Not bad for an iPhone picture.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
Best part of the day!
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
The nightly ritual. Jim blows the dirt and chaff off the Beast with a leaf blower every. single. night. I’m usually in the cab being told when to lower the head and turn it around. Tonight, though, I was already out of the seat so I took advantage of the time to get a few nighttime pictures.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. The Z Crew can be reached at zcrew@allaboardharvest.com.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

The Extra Mile
Steph Osowski

Anthony, Kansas — After an unexpected rain that unexpectedly gave us a couple days off, we are back in the field and were even able to finish up our last field late this evening. We are ready to head to our next stop and I guess we won’t be as late as we thought. Harvest time around Lyons, Kansas, is just getting into full swing. However, we are now getting calls from Farmer Randy up in St. Francis that they are looking at starting harvest there close to the weekend. There’s something about being under the gun that gives this line of work the edge we all crave each year.

Our farmers are a father and son and they are your definition of “a slice of humble pie.” As we began to cut their fields, the hoppers were filling up before an entire round around the field could be completed. Peter and I could just keep up with trucks in time to keep the combines going. In response to these rapid harvest activities, these two respond with, “If our wheat could do 35 bushels per acre, we will be more than happy.” Not only did the wheat have an average of 63 pounds for a test weight, but it also did about 50 bushels per acre across the board.

You will notice that the photos I have been including in my last few posts have not included many human beings, only equipment or scenery. The reason is that we (individually and collectively) always look like a walking bead of sweat so we aren’t very photogenic for the time being. The humidity has lasted in the 80th percentile till early afternoon the last couple days. It’s quite something.

I would like to extend a shout-out to the staff at Farmer’s Co-op in Zenda, Kansas. They’ve been great our entire stay but last night, they went the extra mile for us. We were finishing up but at the same time, they were hoping to close up early and we all know how tough those early nights are to come by this time of year. Our two trucks were the only two trucks left hauling and the father/son team stuck around after hours and waited for us both to return with our last loads. We appreciate it!

Bread Count — 1,809,418 loaves

Quote(s) of the Day“It is impressively hot outside, I give Mother Nature credit.”

“63.5 pound wheat, isn’t that something?”

Zenda elevator.
The Zenda elevator.
Reminds me of The Jungle Book.
Reminds me of The Jungle Book.
A combine peeks through the trees.
Playing chicken.
Nice looking kernels.
Unloading some seed wheat.
Farmer Keith.
One of our last stops with red dirt.
My landmark to get back to the field—a baby windmill.
What time has done to windmills.
Harvest moon.
The guys at Zenda waiting for our trucks just a little longer so we could finish up.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Steph at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

Technology Wars
Laura Haffner

Texas —
Ryan and I were hashing out technology and how it affects our crew the other day. We have been utilizing our map app a lot this year and in particular, pinpoints. I’m sure this all has some technical name I’m not aware of, so bear with me.

HPH -Texas 2016
A virtual pin.

If you’re not familiar with the technology, let me describe what we do. Ryan (or whoever) gets to a field, and they can drop a virtual pin on their phone that identifies their location. They then texts us the pin, and we can click it on our phones, our map app opens and we get driving directions to the field. It is that easy. This has proved especially handy with our truck drivers for safety and efficiency since they may or may not always move with the combine from field to field. Ryan can send this link and they have it whenever they’re ready and don’t have to worry about reaching someone for verbal directions, though of course we always welcome questions when needed if there is concern!

I admit, I’m still a little bit of a paper map kind of gal. I’m not ashamed to admit I have a road atlas still stashed under the seat. When taking a road trip, particularly to a city, I still like to have a quick glance at a map before I launch into a trip to a new place. I’m a very visual person and I need to have a mental map in my mind of where I’m headed. However, this pinpoint thing is pretty sweet when I’m trying to find the crew, especially if cell service is bad or Ryan is tied up on the phone. Don’t tell Ryan I said it, but actually I really like it. It’s an ongoing debate—I mean friendly discussion—in our house between new-age navigator Ryan and me, the hybrid between new and old. It particularly drives him nuts when I try to outsmart the GPS because I know some shortcut. Hey, since he usually insists on driving, I have to have something to amuse myself with!

6-9-16 HPH Texas Harvest Photos - Laura
Houston, we have a problem!

So, a few Thursdays ago, I loaded the kidlets up and headed on what should have been a 34-mile jaunt to deliver supper. Things went really well for the first 33 miles and when I topped a hill I could see the crew about 3/4 to one mile away diagonally. Progress. Then the voice inside my phone matter of factly suggested I take a left and head toward the crew via what appeared from the road to be a pasture with a plethora of pump jacks. It seemed a little odd and I was really wondering how it was for the trucks coming in and out, but OK, phone, you must know best. I gave it a shot because I have traveled through some funny places to get to some hidden back field nestled in the far corner of a section. Pretty soon the GPS was as confused and frustrated as I and the food wasn’t getting any hotter. The area had roads and pipe running all willy nilly (yes, I said willy nilly). It didn’t help that Little Man from the backseat kept asking, “Mommy, where are we going? Where are the combines?” Lady A was thankfully just starting to wake up so I had a few more minutes to right the wrong, all the while exploring dead ends, low water areas, and finally giving up after going around this oil derrick only to find what I think was supposed to be the road under water.

6-9-16 HPH Texas Harvest Photos - Laura-2
No wonder Kirby couldn’t see me with all the growth from recent rains. Unfortunately, this picture doesn’t do a bit of justice to the maze of equipment road blocks.

Finally I waved the white flag and called Ryan. No answer. It’s moments like this you’re supposed to shine, phone GPS. Shine, I tell you! Next came Kirby. Bless his heart, he answers and confirms that it’s the crew we’re seeing but he can’t see me. How could he since my harvest mobile was camouflaged among the pasture and supporting oil equipment? I ramble on in my frustration about this being a good setting for a horror movie with a maze of roads and only one way out and that if he doesn’t see me soon he knows my last known location and I’ll work on finding my own way to them. He politely smiles and nods through the phone though I’m sure he was trying to smother laughter. I can’t really blame him. I retrace my steps, head back on the highway, and head down to the next section corner and effortlessly locate the crew.

In defense of the GPS, it probably couldn’t account for all the ridiculous amounts of rain or the random oil derrick that was placed in the path leading me to the field. I’m pretty sure I would have eventually made it if it wouldn’t have been for that. Thankfully two little kidlets in the backseat keep my grounded these days, so I didn’t go farther on a potentially ill-fated off-road adventure.  And in my defense, the crew and I came to the pinpoint from opposite directions.

In all seriousness, the pinpoint technology is a really good thing for our crew the majority of the time more accurate than the days of, “Turn left at the big cotton wood tree where that road sign is missing! I said turn left!!! Lefffttttt!”

6-9-16 HPH Texas Harvest Photos - Laura-3
One perk of harvest is you sure get to add all kinds of towns, villages, and bergs to your “been there” list. This little one was located where I had to turn to head to the field after taking my travels into my own hands.
6-9-16 HPH Texas Harvest Photos - Laura-5
To add insult to injury, Ryan was just leaving the field for the elevator when we arrived with supper. No time to chat when there’s wheat to deliver.
6-9-16 HPH Texas Harvest Photos - Laura-7
This bird was enjoying some leisure time in the pool while watching all the commotion.
6-9-16 HPH Texas Harvest Photos - Laura-8
Wheat against the sun.
6-9-16 HPH Texas Harvest Photos - Laura-9
Kirby unloads into Shane’s trailer.
6-9-16 HPH Texas Harvest Photos - Laura-10
The pot of gold at the end of the invisible GPS rainbow. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset despite a misadventure.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at laura@allaboardharvest.com.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

Going Above and Beyond
Z Crew

Claude, TX – Going above and beyond what is expected of you is a character trait that seems to be lost these days.  This doesn’t include everyone, though. Today, our day in the field began at 7…7 p.m., that is.  It was also Father’s Day. We knew on Saturday night what our next day was going to entail. It would be making a trip somewhere to pick up a part that was needed to get the Beast back in action.  Just as the heat of the day on Saturday was beginning to make way for the evening cooldown, the Beast decided it was time to take a breather. I heard the faint noise ever so briefly. It sounded like metal scraping metal. I pretended like I didn’t hear it and kept cutting. Then, I heard it again. This time, it lasted a little longer and sounded much louder. So, I shut everything down and headed to the trucks. Right away, Jim wanted to know what the problem was. “Well, I’m not sure. It sounded like metal scraping metal right down here.” (I was pointing to the area just behind the header and close to the feeder house.) Jim turned on the machine and listened. He knew it was something either involving the shaft which carries the crop through the feeder house or something inside of the feeder house. He removed just enough pieces to determine the noise was coming from the shaft and was probably a bearing going bad.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
Beginning our day on Saturday.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
.

The field we were cutting in was right along a major highway. It’s probably the busiest four-lane highway I have ever seen. Trying to get across it is like trying to get across the Interstate. It’s SCARY! This was the sight I saw as I pulled up to the grain cart to dump. Another harvester! I get so excited when I see loaded combines. I wanted to shut the machine off and quick run over and see who it might be—just to say hello to a fellow “wheatie.” Later, through Facebook, I learned it was Dolechek Harvesting headed to their next job. Good to see you…even if I couldn’t stop and say hello.  

So the next thing we would need to do is get the housing unit off and the bad bearing out. That was much harder than you would think or hope on a hot afternoon. The tool that would make the job much easier was something we didn’t have. So, Jim called our farmer. He had to let him know we were broke down and wondered if he would happen to have the necessary tool that would make the job easier. There’s nothing better than tools! He (the farmer) thought he did and he’d bring it right over. While we were waiting, Jim made a phone call hoping to get an easy fix to our situation. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
.


 The stress of being broke down and not knowing how to get the necessary replacement was wearing on Jim. He had been hauling to a grain bin all day, so the heat of the day hadn’t helped with how he was feeling right then. While we waited for the farmer to show up with the tool he would need, he decided to sit in the shade the combine provided.

Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
My favorite part of the day—when the long shadows begin to appear and the heat of the day gives way to the coolness of the evening.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
The right tools make all the difference!
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
This was the problem.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
.


When we left the field that night, we still didn’t have the answers we had hoped we would for getting the replacement bearing in our hands so we could be up and running again the next day. We called Mark Rathe with KanEquip (our New Holland Dealer) out of Syracuse, Nebraska. If anyone could find one, he could. And he did and he would also have someone pick it up at the store in Ellsworth, Kansas, for us and meet us halfway. Awesome! We have a plan. Going above and beyond! This all took place about 11 p.m. on Saturday night. 

Yesterday—Father’s Day—we headed north to meet Jerry Shippers with New Holland (from Salina) in Meade, Kansas. It was only three hours…one way. In the world we live in outside of harvest, we would never think about driving three hours somewhere and turning right around and driving three hours back. Never! But, in the harvest world, you do weird things like that. We do weird things like that because this is our livelihood. This is the job we have. We have farmers counting on us to get their crops harvested in a timely manner. Things break and parts have to be found and everyone knows this. However, there is always a sense of urgency for the harvester to get the machinery repaired because every minute of down time could be critical to both the harvester and to the farmer. Unfortunately, our minor repair took all day. 

Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
Jerry, thank you for going above and beyond (on Father’s Day no less)! You said you would deliver parts to us if we were 1,000 miles away and I believe you were being sincere. It’s people like you and Mark—the movers and the shakers of this world-—who “get ‘er done!” Our appreciation goes to your family, as well, for being understanding—this took six hours out of your day and away from them!
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
“I’ve never had a #3…I’m going all out,” says Jimbo as he’s looking over the Sonic menu. As you should—it’s Father’s Day!
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
The day was LONG but it had a happy ending—the Beast was fixed and we were once again making dust.
Z Crew: It's what you do when you're a harvester.
.

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

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr

Late Nights and Early Mornings
Emma Misener

Elk City, Ok — For the past ten days, we have been extremely busy. We started wheat harvest! As many of you have read, this lifestyle can be a lot of hot days and many tiring hours. Most of these nights Dan, Liz, and I are in the field until 11-11:30pm before we head home for a quick snack and a shower, then off the bed to arise the next morning by at least 7am. These short nights and long days are tiring, but it is all apart of what we do. We need to do it to support ourselves and the bigger picture of feeding people all around us. In these pictures we are doing some last minute checks and are headed out the driveway to our first stop 20 miles east of us around Burns Flat, Oklahoma. We started cutting June 9th, I believe. It has slipped my mind! Haha!
Emma:visitors and headed to the field Emma:visitors and headed to the field Emma:visitors and headed to the field Emma:visitors and headed to the field
Headed out the driveway!

Emma:visitors and headed to the field
My riding companion most days, Jesse.

Emma:visitors and headed to the field
All in convoy. First its Dan in one combine, then mom with the double header trailer, Liz with the tractor and cart pulling our service truck, then me in the second combine.

Emma:visitors and headed to the field
Life isn’t without its struggles! 

Emma:visitors and headed to the field Emma:visitors and headed to the field
We got everything put back together and were on the road in no time. 

Emma:visitors and headed to the field
The first field for Misener Family Harvesters! We have been cutting non-stop since.

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.
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someonePin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on RedditShare on Tumblr