All Aboard Harvest | Tracy: Nearing the End
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Tracy: Nearing the End

Tracy: Nearing the End

Jordan, Montana – It was 41 degrees yesterday when we got up. My very first action of the day was turning on the “fireplace”. It’s actually just a glorified space heater but it looks nice and it does a fine job of warming up the Cottage in a short period of time.

When the flies start hanging around the screen door late in the day, you know you may as well count on the next morning beginning with the heat of the fireplace.

Where did it go? Summer, that is. How does it go from being 108 degrees to 41 in such a short period of time? It happens like that up here in Montana. I’m just never ready for summer to be over and the reminder of winter just around the corner. I wait too long for those warm days to return. Those first days when coats remain hanging up and not on you. The days of shorts and tank tops.

Z Crew Our final day of cutting the acres we came to Jordan for.

Z Crew I maxed ‘er out before I had to sit and wait on a truck.

Z Crew While I was waiting for the truck to return, the only shade I found to escape to was at the back of Frank (which was full). This is my view from the ground.

Z Crew There she sits…waiting for a truck. Again, my view from the ground. Shade provided by Frank. 

We actually finished with the acres we came to Jordan for a week ago tomorrow (8/16). I didn’t take a video or a picture of the last header-full of wheat. I don’t know why. Maybe because I just didn’t think it would be the last of 2018. I guess I was hoping it wasn’t going to be over. Not yet.

Z Crew Ryan (a long-time family friend) came to the field and rode with me the entire afternoon of our last day. He enjoyed seeing the changes inside the cab of the combine. It had been a long time since he saw a new machine. The one that I loved showing him the very most was the auto steer and GPS.

Z Crew Jim and Ryan enjoying the coolness of the evening. Ryan’s dad, Charley, was the reason my grandparents cut wheat in this area for the first time in 1981.

We took the next couple of days to just catch our breath (it had been a pretty intense routine we had been repeating every day for three weeks) and to get equipment moved back to “headquarters”. On Sunday, we decided to take a drive to see about some acres that had been offered to us east of Wolf Point. After we arrived at the farm, we realized that even though we could use the additional acres, we didn’t think we could justify making the move for a couple hundred acres. We certainly appreciated the offer, though!

Z Crew This guy met his match with a truck tire as we left the field the night before. Did I cut off his rattles for a souvenir? HECK NO!

Z Crew The last view of Smoky Butte from the cab before moving equipment back to “headquarters”.

After we left the farmyard and we arrived at the “T” intersection, we decided to make the left turn rather than the right. Decided it would be a good time to scope out the North Dakota wheat fields and visit fellow harvesters who were parked in Carpio. We hadn’t seen Kent and Dan since Garden City…quite a few miles traveled and acres cut since then.

Z Crew Once we arrived in Carpio, we found the crew in action – Braathen Harvesting.

Z Crew A combine selfie to prove to Dan’s family that we were, in fact, in the same cab together.

Z Crew A North Dakota sunset…almost as gorgeous as Montana sunsets.

Z Crew The end of the day – Braathen Harvesting – Kent, Dan and Jim.

My word!! The wheat acres between the border of Montana and Carpio were quite impressive! There was so much and it was so beautiful! You would think there would be enough to share with one machine. But in reality, those acres would be cut quite quickly once the combines started rolling. It was just so much fun seeing so many acres in one spot.

Z Crew Crossing the Mighty Mo (Missouri River). Seems so weird to think this is the same water that flows along the edge of Eastern Nebraska.

Up till today, we had ourselves convinced there probably wouldn’t be any more wheat acres for us to cut. But, we wanted to check with one local farmer to see if, by chance, he would like a little bit of help before we made the decision to clean up and head for Eastern Nebraska. Good thing we did! We now have about three days more work ahead of us.  Woo Hoo!!

Z Crew A little Facetime time with Jamie and Benny.

Three more days and then…I have to go through the whole “wheat harvest is over” letdown all over again. I really wish someone could explain to me why this happens to me every. single. year. Why can’t I be more like Jim and not have it affect me so intensely? When I crawl down that ladder for the last time, I know I will fight that feeling that happens every year. The feeling of knowing what I love, what has been our world for the past couple of months and the routine that I’m used to…is over.

Yes, the end of wheat harvest 2018 is in sight. Seems like it just began. And for us, it will be one of the shortest harvest seasons we’ve had. We left home with the first load on June 14 and started cutting wheat on June 17. As of today, August 22, we’ve been gone from home for 70 days.  In the past several years, we’ve been on the road for about 120 days. No wonder it seems like it just began. Harvest 2018…#itiswhatitis!

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All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Tracy Zeorian can be reached at zcrew@allaboardharvest.com.

9 Comments
  • Larry dahlsten
    Posted at 17:09h, 28 August

    Thanks for all the posts and pictures this summer! Enjoyed them all. Close to starting our dry land corn harvest here in central Ks. Take care of Frank and the beast!

    • z crew
      Posted at 22:54h, 28 August

      Thank you, Larry! I appreciate hearing from those of you who actually read my words and look at my pictures! It sorta makes it worth all the efforts. Who am I kidding? It DEFINITELY makes it worth the efforts. Best of luck to you with your corn harvest in Central Kansas!! (although I’d rather you were planting wheat.) 🙂

  • Alan Kuntz
    Posted at 11:55h, 30 August

    My last day of wheat harvest was in August of 1979 and I still miss it! I was born and still am an Iowa corn and cattleman but every spring I wish I could join in the harvest in Texas and contribute to this country like I did that summer. Please don’t be sad because I know you will get to do this again next spring and some of us will be anxious for your next reports on Harvest 2019. I hope you do know how important your reports are for telling non-agriculturalists what it takes to get food to the table. THANK YOU, Alan

    • z crew
      Posted at 10:49h, 04 September

      I know it’s silly to be sad when the end is here. I wish I could pinpoint just exactly what makes me feel that way. I should be in a hurry to get home. Home to see my kids and grand kids. And I AM. It’s leaving the harvest world that makes me sad. I think it’s the simplicity of the whole experience. Living in 40 foot, with just what you need, waking up to either sun or rain, no clock watching and working so closely with Jim. When we get home, we become ruled by the calendar and clock once again. No longer will I wonder what day it is. We will be pulled in a thousand different directions and rarely really spend good, quality time together. We’ll be under the same roof but our worlds no longer collide. I think I got a bit carried away with my thoughts. 🙂 Anyway, thanks for continuing to follow our journey – our ups and our downs. I pray that He has us out there again next year. I don’t know what I will do when the decision is made to no longer do what we do.

  • Norm Rotruck
    Posted at 12:43h, 02 September

    Thank you, Tracy, for all your hard work and sharing it with us through your posts! Really enjoyed reading them and will miss your “road stories”! See you next year in a brand new show!

    • z crew
      Posted at 10:19h, 04 September

      Thank you so much, Norm. It’s good to know that the stories and the pictures tell the story as hoped. And that you enjoy reading them. I’m certainly hoping and praying to be telling the same stories from the road next summer! And…let’s hope the “brand new show” is a little less stressful than 2018 has been! “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.”

  • Ricardo Alberto Senteio Rocon
    Posted at 19:13h, 02 September

    Lindas fotos você publicou e as de Montana me fizeram voltar para a colheita de 1972 que ajudei a fazer em Great Falls.Bom retorno para sua casa e que DEUS os acompanhe.

    • z crew
      Posted at 10:17h, 04 September

      Translation for Ricardo’s comment – Beautiful photos you posted and the ones from Montana made me go back to the 1972 harvest that I helped make in Great Falls. Return home and may God accompany you.

      Thank you, Ricardo! Montana has a way to get deep in your soul. There’s just something more about this state and its people that make it my favorite place to hang out. I think you know exactly what I mean. Thank you for your kind words.

  • Tom Stegmeier
    Posted at 20:53h, 04 September

    Tracy , so glad you finished up in Jordan Mt. it is special place with you , having a better Wheat Harvest than last year is a plus. I wish I could help or try to explain your post harvest blues . With me I miss the smell of the spring ,the earth is coming alive ,the odour of the soil be seeded ,dust in the air. With harvest it is a bigger tug on the heart , the excitement of getting another crop off ,I can still hear the rumble of the combine this time of year ,it is who we our
    & what makes us why we our . That Ben is sooo cuuute !! he reminds me of our Harrison ,he’s a month older, Is Dan work’n for Kent full time or just helping out, how’s Emma ? Safe trip back Home, Home.!!