All Aboard Harvest | John Deere
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John Deere

Wichita County, Texas: May 24 - Mark it in the books - the official start to the cutting season. I had almost forgotten how I love to hear the hum of the machines. The low sound almost has a calming effect on the soul, and nothing can beat the smell of fresh cut wheat!

Due to moisture, some fields have some patches that remain to be cut, so we don't have official yield data to report yet. Test weights are coming in around 58 lbs per bushel. Hail damage has affected yields, and some fields have been zeroed out at our first stop. Today's forecast shows a high of 99, and tomorrow shows 101 with a little wind. It should be prime cutting weather, if we can avoid the small chances for rain in the forecast.

Wichita County, Texas - After a couple seasons of life on the road under my belt, I'm packing lighter and lighter all the time. I don't have time, energy or space in our camper house to deal with unnecessary clutter. So, I debated bringing the kids' mud boots this year. Surely we wouldn't need them for a third year in a row. I finally threw them in as a mind game and insurance policy against the imaginary Texas harvest rain gods because if we had them, we wouldn't need them, right? Wrong. With grain moisture around 15%, we were just on the verge of being able to cut when the rains started. As I've stated many times in my writing, I have a terrible time wishing away rain when I come from an arid area and armed with the knowledge that this region broke out of a terrible drought just two years ago. However, the Texas weather systems and I need to have a little chat, because these harvest rains are starting to be a thing!

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.

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.

Manley, Nebraska - It's Harvest Time...NOT harvest time.

I was laying in bed the other morning and almost got a bit giddy thinking about harvest. This was not because we'll be escaping home or because of the adventures we're surely going to experience or because of the first swath made, marking the beginning of harvest 2017. Nope, it was the idea of escaping the clock and the schedules of home.

This is THE most difficult part about coming home in the fall. Most people haven't a clue what the heck I'm even talking about (and this is unfortunate).

Dodge City, KS - The 2017 AAWH t-shirts have arrived. Check out our Facebook page throughout the harvest season to enter in weekly drawings and sponsor giveaways. Our t-shirt sizes range from adult small to 4X.  [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="345"] T-shirts galore![/caption] [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500"] Front...

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.