All Aboard Harvest | Megan: Spring Cleaning
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Megan: Spring Cleaning

Megan: Spring Cleaning

Hemingford, Neb. – Just like a household, a farm is often in dire need of “spring cleaning” come the season change. Therefore, the last few months have been spent cleaning up the Roland farm after a long, grueling winter. My parents started planting peas at the beginning of April and haven’t had a rest since. Planting fall crops, spraying and disking fields, branding cattle, fixing fences, cleaning out the shop, mowing, working on harvest machinery, and doing maintenance on the semis are just a glimpse of what our days have been filled with lately. It is a truly tedious process to square away things at home before harvest hits full force down south.

Brandon and Matt finished up their college finals in mid-May and booked it back to the farm to help with everything. Waiting for the departure date of harvest is always difficult but it has a way of sneaking up on you when you keep yourself busy. It seems to be part of our harvest tradition for my family to go through this “organized chaos” as we prep for the next 3 months that we will spend on the road.

Fillin' up with fertilizer
The planter has to be stopped intermittently to be filled with fertilizer and to check the level of corn seed. Mom and Dad have mastered this pit stop.   

Dad filling up the planter with corn
Dad fills up the planter with more corn seed before Mom heads back out to continue planting.

Dad spraying
Dad makes another round as he zooms by with the sprayer. He has spent countless hours spraying spring crops over the last month.

Ashley and James sorting bolts
Our engineers, Ashley and James, sort and organize the hardware in the shop.

Washing off the pickup
Brandon uses the power washer to clean out the bed of the pickup before he secures the new fuel tank.

Matt and Dad sorting tools
Matt and Dad clean out the tool box on the work pickup. The yellow tank you see on the right will be used to store and pump Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) for the combines.

Brandon working on header
Brandon does some maintenance work on one of the headers to get it into tip-top shape before the harvest season hits.

Ash checking windmill
While the boys worked on equipment Ashley, Mom, and I headed out to the pasture to do some cowgirl work.  Above: Ashley climbs the ladder of the windmill to check out the mechanics and to ensure it will be properly pumping for the summer.

Megan and tumbleweeds
Meanwhile, I got the job of cleaning out the windmill tanks. The stack of tumbleweeds was twice as big before the wind blew it over!

Moo cows
It’s not springtime without the adorable faces of a calve and his momma.

Grandma and Brandon on his 22nd
On June 2nd, Brandon turned 22 years old! We celebrated his birthday about a week
early at home with the family and a delicious steak dinner. By the forest fire on that cake it’s surprising that Brandon’s not pushing 50 ha! (Grandma Jo made sure he had trick candles!)

Ashley, Brandon, James and Megan
Brandon, Ashley, James, and I sneak a quick photo after lunch. We have each spent many summers on harvest and like to consider ourselves the “dream team” harvest crew. Between the four of us Roland’s we have over 35 years of harvest experience! We’ve almost caught up to Dad!

Storm rolling in over the wheat
A spring storm lingers nearby. Luckily, just rain was received this time. The wheat at home has a decent stand so far – fingers crossed rain showers keep rollin’ in over the next month!

In the fall of 2012, Nebraska was experiencing a devastating drought and as fate would have it, lightning struck in six different places near our farm. Multiple prairie fires raged across the area, throughout our pasture, into our tree groves, and towards our house. With the help of neighbors, prayers, and the local fire department our home and most of our equipment was spared. Thankfully, no one or any livestock was injured, but it was certainly a reality check from good ol’ Mother Nature herself.

Flashback to fire and new trees being plant
Above: One view of our pasture after the fire. The green you see is up by our corral and barn, which was saved by a neighbor making a fire line with the tractor and disk.
Below: Almost two years later, it’s time for some regrowth. We enrolled in a federal program that promotes re-treeing areas that were affected by the 2012 fire in western Nebraska.

New trees
Grow little trees, grow! A big shout out and THANK YOU to “Tree Are Us” of Hemingford for coming out to plant the trees.

Matt and Justin
Meet our helpers for the 2014 harvest season: Matt (left) and Justin (right). Matt will be our head truck driver this summer and will assist with mechanical work. Justin will be helping out intermittently as a grain cart and combine operator.

Combine parked at shop
When the combine is pulled up to the shop it’s a sure-fire sign that the crew will
be headed south within the week.

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

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