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Gilliland, Texas - You know how they say everything is bigger in Texas? That's no lie. I kid you not. I had a mosquito the size of a quarter bite me today. Around dusk, Josh the Elevator Worker and I had to dance around like fools while unloading my truck in an attempt to keep them away. Not like it worked much -- my arms and neck are covered in little red welts. Battle scars on the first full day of cutting, what more could you ask for? Harvest is HERE. The yields are between 20-25 bushels per acre with test weights coming in at 58 pounds. With a whopping distance of four miles to haul the grain in to the elevator, we are seeing some major progress and were able to do 250 acres on day one with our combine.

Holdrege, Nebraska - I got a call from Dad at 6:00 a.m. saying, "Are you ready to go?" Yes, sure, I'm on my way! I'll be there in a minute. I got to the shop and Dad says to me, "Do you want to drive that truck and haul the combine?" Yes! Of course I do! And away we went.

Overall, we had a good day. The sun was shining and there was hardly any wind. What I saw on my 400-plus mile trip south was that Kansas has a good wheat crop. Oklahoma looked alright too. Some might make 30 to 40 bushels per acre, and that is good. They grazed the wheat too, so a 30-plus bushel crop is good. I also saw quite a bit of standing water in southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma. Hot air and wind will hopefully dry up the fields in time for harvest. If not, dealing with muddy conditions is sometimes just part of it.

Kansas -  For months Little Man's prayers have been harvest/travel themed and have sounded something like this or a variation thereof, "Dear God, please watch over the combines, the wheat, the blue headers, the camper house, the splash park, and the swimming pool. AMEN!"

Just the other day we helped play musical vehicles with Ryan, which allowed us to pay a visit to headquarters where a beehive of preharvest prep was taking place. One of the crew members expressed his excitement for heading south and getting the cutting season going. He then asked me if I was excited about harvest.

Gilliland, Texas - I had a nightmare last night that my tractor/grain cart load fell off my trailer... never had I been so happy to be jolted awake by reality at 3 a.m. Sometimes road stories are bizarre and out of control like that. This road story is the exact opposite.

We were graced with perfect travel conditions and the road to Texas went off without a hitch. When we were embarking on our final travel day this morning, Bossman John asked me if I had $16 to pay for the campsite since he had no cash (and also said he would give me $20 back. As an economics major, that's a no-brainer). I had $16 exactly and not a penny more.

Holdrege, Nebraska - Holy cow!  It’s springtime already, and there are no more days off.  Harvest is quickly approaching, and there is so much to do and so little time.  It’s always a stressful time of year trying to get everything ready for harvest.  I certainly have feelings of not only stress but also fear and anxiety during this time of year due to having to hire the crew too.  I have been going on harvest my entire life.  However, it’s a big job getting ready for harvest - no doubt about it.  I am blessed though because of who I get to go to harvest with!  No joke.

 

Park, Kansas -  I had a funny feeling this year that we may catch a late cold snap, however, if someone would have told me we would have a good old fashioned prairie blizzard starting April 29th, I probably would have shaken my head.  Freeze yes, blizzard no.  But blizzard AND freeze are what happened in western Kansas where our headquarters is located. 

It was quite an ordeal for our crew as they come from various winter weather backgrounds (some with none).  Albert, one of our returning veterans, said, "The blizzard was definitely a surreal experience.  Only saw that on TV normally.  Being stranded without electricity and water made you appreciate the small things in life more, the stuff we normally take for granted.  And to be honest, I'm more of a sunny and blue sky kind of person!" 

I'm not sure which is more surprising to me, that it's nearly time for wheat harvest or that we are starting our third year as a member of the All Aboard Wheat Harvest family. Where has the time gone? I don't know about you, but sometimes I would like to just hit the pause button, even if for an hour or so!

I've been contemplating this opening post for some time and wish I had something incredibly insightful or clever to say. Truth be told, it has just been business as usual for our family over the last several months. However, as an adult, I've learned to be just as thankful for the times of regular little ups and downs as I am for those mountain top experiences.

Grafton, ND - Harvest time. I doubt there will ever come a time when I don't start mentally packing for it come mid-April. My mind will wander off, daydreaming about wheat fields, and next thing I know I'm checking my apps for wheat prices, weather reports for that first stop on the wheat run and yield projections. Some friends of mine started combining in southern Texas a week or so ago and were sending me Snapchats of their combines in the wheat... I got goosebumps.

For those of you new to the program this year, here's a quick synopsis of me. My name is Stephanie (Steph) Osowski. I'm a third generation custom harvester and am hopelessly addicted to the lifestyle. My family has always custom harvested so all my best childhood memories are either in a wheat field or somewhere along the wheat belt.

Manley, Nebraska - The old cliche' holds true...the older you get, the faster time goes. Jim and I have had numerous discussions regarding this thought. He doesn't agree with me and for that, I'm jealous. I am one that wants to hold onto the special events as long as I can and then try to recall every minute of it somewhere down the road. The years seem to zoom by and when I say, "I can't believe it's been 30 years ago that happened" - he'll say, "it seems that long ago". Maybe he's just denying the fact. Maybe he's got a better grasp on time than I do. Who knows. The fact is...I can't believe this is our 35th year of owning a combine and making the wheat harvest journey!
 


Holdrege, Nebraska - Hello!  I am Janel Schemper and this is my first AAWH blog.  I am a third generation custom harvester.  I've been going on harvest my entire life.  The 1950s was the start of my family business known as "Schemper Harvesting."  My grandpa, Jerry Schemper, was brave enough to leave his farm and went out on the road and made himself a living in the custom harvesting business.  My Dad, LaVern Schemper, is the oldest of six kids and is a second generation custom harvester.  I have a lifelong bond with my parents (LaVern and Carlene) and three older siblings (Julie, JC and Jared) through our family business.  The combine cab was where I spent my time with my Dad or siblings riding along with them and learned all about operating a combine.