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Megan: Slow Start “Up North”
Megan Roland

Dickinson, North Dakota – Last weekend Roland Harvesting made the journey from Nebraska to North Dakota to begin our last stop for this year’s wheat harvest. If you look on a map, this trip “up north” is almost a straight shot and we were psyched about the relatively short move, only 7 hours of road time. Unfortunately, we were unable to follow this route due to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally taking place near Rapid City, South Dakota. The high motorcycle traffic created a 12 foot width restriction through much of the area, which caused us to take a 180 mile detour east and back west to safely (and legally) make it to our destination.

Upon rolling into Dickinson our whole crew seemed to observe the same, unexpected thing and everyone fell quiet on the radio, which is usually full of chatter back and forth.  To our shock, most wheat fields were more green than golden. We had anticipated pulling into the area, and hitting the ground running. With many fields looking like they were 10 days to 2 weeks off from being ready, we quickly lost the wind in our sails. The next couple days brought rain showers, overcast skies and cool weather. We spent this time tuning up the combines and doubling back home to finish moving trailers and headers.

On Tuesday, our luck finally turned and we were delighted with the change of pace. The clouds disappeared, the sun came out and the temperature actually rose above 65 degrees. Our farmer surprised us with a hidden field of ripe winter wheat that was way outside of town. Fortunately, the moisture was border line and with the sunshine, warm weather and nice breeze it quickly dried down. After conquering that field, we moved 45 miles in the opposite direction and found a few fields of spring wheat that looked like they would go. Most of these fields have ripe heads, but some of the straw is still green. This makes for slow going down in the draws and in lower areas of the field. We’ve had some 80, almost 90 degree weather the past few days, which has drastically helped the green patches turn in many of these fields. The weather forecast continues to look promising for the next week so it seems that harvest around here will be in full swing in no time. We’re just happy to be back in the combines cutting away!

Convoy lined up
There’s nothing like waking up with the sun to get your convoy moved to the next destination in a timely fashion.

DSCN0552
Brandon puts on his “game face” (and blue tooth) as we prepare to leave for North Dakota.

Convoy heading out
The caravan lined up and ready to head “up north.” It was such a beautiful, cool morning to travel!

Big hill to climb
Because of the detour we were required to take, we had the unique experience to travel through the Bad Lands of South Dakota. The view was very intriguing but the big hills we were forced to haul our heavy loads up made sure we stayed on top of our game.

As we neared Buffalo, South Dakota, Brandon heard a loud boom as rubber scattered across the highway. He ended up blowing out two side-by-side tires on the combine trailer.

Changing out the tire
The “pit crew,” sporting their orange safety vests, quickly put on the new tires that we luckily had thrown in the service truck.

Blown tire
As you can see we didn’t make it very far after the first tire blew.

In order to get to the blown tires, we had to work out a bit of a charade. The header trailer had to be dropped from the back of the load, followed by the combine being unloaded. Instead of jacking up the trailer, we actually used a chain on the feeder house of the combine to lift up the trailer.

Loading combine again
After changing the tire out, we loaded the combine back up, chained it down, hooked up the header again and hit the road. From the time the tire blew until we were back on the highway was just 41 minutes. Now, that’s what I call an effective pit crew!

Wicked dark clouds
We faced some fierce storm clouds at the North Dakota border that rapidly turned into a h
orrendous downpour. Please note the wheat field on the right is actually ripe. Another 80 miles north and we were seeing nothing but green fields. It was a very strange phenomenon to witness. 

CR unloaded
We were greeted in North Dakota by crazy clouds and red dirt. After surviving the rain storm that seemed to have hurricane-strong winds and rain, we broke out our jackets and unloaded in brisk 44 degree weather.

Unloading the grain cart
Kasey watches on and gives directions as Jose backs the tractor and grain cart off the trailer.

DSCN1662
That’s a little green for our likin’. The locals reported receiving over 3 inches of rain in the past week.  Apparently high moisture is the theme of the summer in the Dickinson area as it has been very cool and damp the past few months.

Green patch
When we first pulled into town it was not uncommon to see wheat fields with green patches in them like this one. The mild summer has created luscious green pastures as well, which is definitely a switch up from last year’s dire drought in this area. The high moisture means more bugs, too. I think I’m up to 11 mystery bug bites/ bee stings at the moment.

Huge snapping turtle
Check out this HUGE snapping turtle we spotted on the road!

Ergot in the field
Several wheat fields in the area have been affected by ergot this year. Ergot is a fungus that replaces the grain in the heads with ergot bodies (black in color) prior to harvest. This disease is common during wet, cool growing seasons, which North Dakota experienced this year. Many grain elevators often dock or reject loads if ergot is found within the sample.

Ergot next to wheat
Ergot (the black pieces) compared to wheat kernels without disease.

Crew at Painted Canyon
While waiting for the wheat to dry down a few days ago we took a mini trip a few miles down the interstate to Medora. Above: Kasey, Jose, Eric, and Brandon pose in front of the Painted Canyon in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It amazes me how beautiful and diverse the land is in western North Dakota.

DSCN1720
I got a little chuckle out of this “weather station.”

Oil fields nearby
Back into oil country! These pump jacks scatter much of the country side in western North Dakota.

Cutting again
Finally, back into ripe wheat and we’re so happy to be cutting again! The yields have been varying between 25 to 50 bushels per acre with most test weights hanging around 60 to 62 pounds.

All Aboard Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta. Megan can be reached at megan@allaboardharvest.com.

Z Crew: Montana Crops and County Fairs
Z Crew

headshot2Denton, Montana/Louisville, Nebraska: I’ll try as hard as I can not to confuse you. Last week, Callie and I left the harvest life to return home while Mom and Dad continued down the road to Denton, Mont. After a long week of travel for Mom and Dad, they’ve made it to their destination. Back here at home, Callie and I enjoyed the week at our first ever Cass County Fair.

In a round number, I think Mom and Dad travelled about 2,800 miles in between trips from Limon, CO to Denton, MT. Over those miles, everything ran smoothly and they thankfully didn’t have any issues. The trailer is parked and as of Friday or Saturday they have been in the field cutting. I’m not sure on what the crops are yielding, but I know it’s doing very well. The crop in Montana is a silver lining to the disappointing wheat we’d seen most of the summer.

Back here in Nebraska, Callie and I woke this morning and discussed the fact we’ve been home only a little over a week. I wish I could, but I can’t explain what it’s like to live two completely separate lives. About eight weeks ago Callie and I were living it up in Shattuck, Oklahoma without a care in the world and now Callie’s looking at starting her sophomore year of high school in a couple days.

Over the last week, Callie and I have stayed busy out at the local county fairgrounds. “Home-home” is about 2 miles from where all of the excitement happens every August and we’d never been a part of it. Well, this last week changed all of that. I had the opportunity to judge both Open Class Baked Goods and a Chocolate Chip Cookie Contest. Man, was that fun! Every night was spent with great friends enjoying the end to a fantastic summer. Can you believe it’s almost over? I can’t. At all.

I briefly talked to Mom this evening on the phone, but couldn’t get around to asking the yields through my tears (Yes, I miss my mommy). I’ll get ahold of her within the next fews days and get a better rundown on what the crop is doing!

Z Crew: Callie and Taylor - One More Picture
Mom: “Just ONE more picture, guys.”

Z Crew: Jim and Tracy on the Road
Mom and Dad did a little touring while the roads were closed for the Sturgis Bike Rally.

Z Crew: Unloading Equipment
Unloading the equipment outside of Denton, Montana.

Z Crew: Elevator Sunset
My mom takes some pretty awesome photos! All of the pictures from Montana are obviously from her.

Z Crew: No More Cutting On the Ground
The wheat up north looks pretty great. I hope the yields show it.

Z Crew: Open Class Baked Goods
This is a small example of all of the food I sampled at the fair for judging.

Z Crew: 4H Showing
I loved watching my friends show their animals for 4H!

Z Crew: Miss Cass County Contest
I enjoyed the opportunity to watch one of my good friends win the title of Miss Cass County!

Z Crew: the Midway
You could say I was like a little kid at the fair. All I wanted to do was look at the lights!

Z Crew: the Infamous Zipper
Everyone says the “Zipper” is the ride you HAVE to go on – I was too chicken. I had a hard time getting on the ferris wheel.

Z Crew: Taylor and a Friend Enjoy Cotton Candy
I am a little bit obsessed with cotton candy. Who doesn’t love fair food?!

Z Crew: Fair Parade
During the last day of the fair there was a large parade featuring the county’s fire trucks, ambulances, parade floats, and local marching bands.

Z Crew: Figure 8 Races at the Fair
I ended the evening with friends, watching the Figure 8 races. I had a lot of fun at my very first county fair!

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

Megan: Home Stretch
Megan Roland

Hemingford, Neb. – After three weeks of cutting, waiting on wet wheat, moving across multiple counties and dodging rain, Roland Harvesting is FINALLY in the home stretch of home harvest. On Tuesday, we were able to complete our harvest run in Chadron, making it the longest stretch of time we have ever been there! Usually we pull into Chadron and are able to have the entire stop cut out before we even begin harvest at home. This year we were hung up there due to green wheat and tons of rain. Luckily we were able to shuffle combines and trucks around to back home, about 30 miles away, so we could keep busy.

With the last few sunshine-filled days drying things out we were also able to finish our final fields west of Hemingford, meaning 2013 home wheat harvest is officially done!  We still have a few fields of peas to knock out at home but it looks like the TR 98 and CR 9060 can get them all harvested in a day or two. In the meantime, we are in the midst of moving home all of our equipment, blowing it off, cleaning it up, and loading it onto the trailers. We plan to leave for our next stop near Dickinson, North Dakota tomorrow with the CR 8090, CR 9070 and grain cart. However, this move means another split for the Roland Harvesting crew. Mom and Dad will stay at home to finish up the peas then will head to Worland, Wyoming in a couple of days to harvest malting barley with their combine.

CR's cutting away
Cutting away one afternoon when the sun was actually out! Many mornings have been filled with clouds but every once in a while they disappear and let us back into the field.

CR's ready to move
After taking their headers off, Brandon and Jose prepare to move their combines to a new field.

Trailer with broken window
Our grain trailers have a very neat and useful feature on them – mini windows on the side so we can visualize how full the trailer is with grain.

Fun fact: When unloading on the truck, you should always do so on the opposite side of the tarp, so you don’t risk damaging the tarp and so you can see better. These windows are only located on this side as well.

So here’s the funny part about this picture, look closely. The bottom right window is actually missing. After bringing the truck back from the elevator one of truckers was walking around the rig and noticed the rubber seal to be torn and the window gone. On this particular day we were very busy and had all three combines up and running. We needed every one of our trucks to keep up with the high volume of wheat we were cutting. With this mishap putting us in a bind, Dad quickly took the trailer to our shop and made a make-shift cover with wood and bolts. It was enough to keep grain from spilling out of the trailer so it worked for us!

Trailer window
Left: Uh-oh, no window! It’s a good thing we found this before we started unloading grain into the trailer again. Middle: Our “quick fix” that let us continue to use the trailer. Right: Ten days later we finally were able to get the window replaced. Thank you to ACR Glass of Alliance for helping us out!

Brandon wires up a clamp
When it’s in the heat of harvest our crew is all about rigging together things so we can keep cutting. Above: Brandon uses wire to adjust his chopper setting since the lever for this is broken.

Stubble view of combine and grain cart
A stubble view of the combine and grain cart.

All lined up to service
The three combines all lined up in the morning, waiting to get serviced for the day.

Kasey fixing a sickle
Kasey replaces a sickle on the header.

Grain cart unloading on the truck
The grain cart loading up another truck.

Blue-bird skies over the wheat
One of the few actual blue-bird days we had during home harvest.

Brandon in the cab
“Hurry up and cut” has often been our motto for the past few weeks! Threatening clouds in the horizon taunt us as we try to finish this field.

Jose adding up tickets
Jose adds up the tickets for one of our farmers. Another person always crunches the numbers as well to double check the math.

3 combines together!
I have been waiting ALL summer long to finally get a photo of all 3 combines in the field together…and here it is! Of course, the wind was blowing a million miles an hour and a storm was headed our way, but, by golly, I finally got it.

Buckwheat in our wheat field
We ran into some lodged wheat in the Chadron area. In this particular field it was due to buckwheat.

Close up of buckwheat seeds
Here is a close-up of buckwheat seeds next to a couple of wheat kernels. Despite the name, buckwheat is actually not related to wheat; it’s more closely related to rhubarb and knotweed.

Buckwheat in the field
The vines of the buckwheat actually grow up around the stalk of the wheat. This made the combining process rather slow going because we didn’t want to slug the ’98 with the buckwheat vines.

Overview of the field
We moved to our very last field in Chadron right at dusk. Look at this beautiful view we were able to enjoy!

Cutting at dusk
The ’98 making another round as we lose our last bit of daylight. We had to stop cutting shortly after dark due to the buckwheat and tough straw. We came back the next morning and finished the field before lunch.

Beautiful sunset over the field
Now, this is the perfect way to end the day.

All Aboard Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta. Megan can be reached at megan@allaboardharvest.com.

Emma: Rather Awesome Rhubarb
Emma Misener

Emma_thumbnailI love this time of year in South Dakota! The gardens are starting to get ready and you cannot beat fresh produce. Some of my favorite things are sweet corn, cucumbers, tomatoes and rhubarb! Mom made an awesome rhubarb dessert that I just had to share.

When I asked her if I could share her recipe, the simple answer was yes, but followed by, ‘Well, which recipe would you like? The ‘actual’ recipe, or the way I do it?’.

It seems that all of her ‘recipes’ are really guidelines, rather than to a ‘T’. So I’ll give the ‘real recipe’, then the way mom does it; the camper friendly way! Enjoy this awesome rhubarb.

Rhubarb Lemon Cake (the ‘actual’ recipe)

1 lemon cake,the kind that uses no oil
3-4 c. cut-up rhubarb
1 c. sugar
1 c. milk
Prepare cake mix according to directions. Pour into greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle rhubarb over top of cake mix, then sugar, then milk. Bake 350 degrees 1 hour until well browned.

Emma: Rhubarb dessert

MOM’S Rhubarb Lemon Cake (the scrumptious way!)

Betty Crocker Butter Cake cake mix
4-5 c. cut-up rhubarb
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 c. sugar
1 c. whipping cream
Prepare cake mix using REAL butter not margarine, 1/2 lemon juice with 1/2 c. water, not as directions say on the box. Use eggs as directed. Pour into only bottom greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle rhubarb over top of cake mix, then sugar, then whipping cream, DON’T STIR. Bake 350 degrees 1 hour until well browned. Serve warm with REAL whipped cream.

Emma: Rhubarb dessert

When asking Mom how she makes the real whipped cream, she said, ‘Well I don’t really know! I just make it. There is no recipe.’ Trust me, it took me a while to try to decipher what exactly she does to make this fluffy deliciousness!

Whipped Cream 

1 c. whipping cream
2-3 T. sugar, to taste
1/2 tsp. vanilla, (or brandy)
Begin to whip the cream in a mixer. As it starts to thicken, increase speed to maximum. Gradually add the sugar as you speed it up to dissolve the sugar and to beat the cream stiff. Stop mixer and add vanilla by stirring by hand, not by mixer. Enjoy on warm rhubarb lemon cake, or on your favorite desserts!

Emma: Momma makin' REAL whipped topping

Emma: supper in south dakota!

Be safe and God bless!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta.
Emma can be reached at emma@allaboardharvest.com 

Emma: Mini Vacation and Crop Update from OK to SD
Emma Misener

Emma_thumbnailWe barely know what a vacation is, but because we had a break between jobs after finishing up in Texas, and waiting on South Dakota wheat we enjoyed a mini vacation. My cousin Travis is in the NAVY and currently stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas.

After our fun we headed back home to get the campers and cargo trailer ready to head north.

Oklahoma and Kansas wheat harvest is complete, and my guess is that Nebraska is wrapping up. Combines were definitely rolling in Nebraska as we went through. When we reached South Dakota, the acres being harvested went down drastically. Some farmers are starting to harvest their wheat, but most fields are still green making it a waiting game. We will soon see how wet the crops are.

For the Misener crew, the wheat harvest has nearly come to a close. Tomorrow we will test our first field of oats to be harvested. My hopes are high for a good crop. Hopefully the rain will clear enough for the sun to shine and dry them out. I’m not going to be upset if it keeps raining. Fall crops could always use a half inch more!

Here are a few photos of our mini vacation, and we had a blast!

Emma: mini vacation

I never thought I would post a picture of my family and I at the beach on a wheat harvest blog.

Emma: mini vacation
Katie and Tim and their family got to enjoy the beach as well. It was great family time! We attempted to make a sand castle, but I think the sand was just a bit too wet.

Emma: mini vacation
Grandpa and Grandma Green joined in the fun too. They made their way from Montana, stopped in Elk City, then traveled the rest of the way with us to our destination.

Emma: mini vacation

Emma: mini vacation
My sister Katie and I

Emma: mini vacation
(L to R) me, Dan and Evie, Mom, Martha, Clara, Lauren, Tim, Katie and Abigail, Grandma Margaret, and Grandpa Dick.

Emma: Travis and Bree
Congratulations Travis and Bree!

Be safe and God bless!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta.
Emma can be reached at emma@allaboardharvest.com 

Megan: Rain Dance
Megan Roland

Hemingford, Neb. – One main recurrent theme during this year’s home harvest has been rain. Due to multiple storms that have passed through the area we have had rather short time frames for cutting the past few days since most of our time has been spent on waiting for fields to dry down. Because of this weather we remain stuck in “limbo” around Hemingford and Chadron, making our home stop significantly longer and more frustrating than we had anticipated. Tuesday we were able to get back into the field and work a 9 hour day, which thrilled us. Wednesday we were back at it again and continued working hard until 8 pm, when yet, another brutal storm passed over us and shut us down again.

Cutting away with blue skies
Finally, some blue skies accomanied us on Tuesday. Being back in the field felt so great!

Mom in the combine
Mom laughs as she passes Brandon in the field. He “stole” the last strip of wheat she was cutting on. Humor is most often present within our crew and makes the days go by quicker.

3 combines on the move
The 3 combines knock out a field in no time and move down the road to the next one.

Due to all the rain nonsense we have switched our combines around between Hemingford and Chadron multiple times. Tuesday morning we moved the third CR back to Hemingford and took the ’98 up to Chadron to finish there. Having the 3 CR’s and grain cart all in the same field make for a power house that can quickly cut out fields.

Loaded truck
With the 3 combines in the field it seemed like the trucks were alway loaded. Luckily, the truckers and grain cart managed to keep up, making us wait for only one truck yesterday (which blew a tire on the way into town.)

Brandon hooking up the hydraulic hoses
Brandon hooks up the hydraulic hoses from his combine to the header. 

Opening a new field
Opening up another wheat field on Wednesday. The innocent white clouds in the distance quickly turned into dark, fierce ones that brought one heck of a thunderstorm our way.

Each time it rains on ripe wheat, test weights are decreased and protein is leeched out. In addition, each storm increases the risk of heavy rains, hail, and high winds that could severely damage the wheat and lower the yields.

'98 combine in Chadron
The lone ’98 up in Chadron plugging away. Dad is the master at running this machine so he’s been volunteered to complete the Chadron stop. 

Given all this rain talk, it’s important to note that Roland Harvesting is particularly familiar with one main type of rain dance. Now, when I say rain dance I’m not referring to the crew doing a tribal jig around the farm to make the skies open up with a downpour.  We may or may not have attempted this before, but sadly our efforts usually fail. Therefore, our version of a rain dance is the following process: When we are cutting away in a field and a storm is on the brink, the crew has to follow a very carefully choreographed “dance.” Most often times we can see dark clouds brewing on the horizon so we typically know when a storm is headed our way. Once the first few sprinkles hit the windshield, they are called out across the radio and the procedure begins. The most important things to remember are to keep the grain dry, avoid getting equipment stuck in the mud, and keeping the crew safe.  Given these “rules to remember” the grain cart operator usually tracks down the combines to get them unloaded as fast as possible. The very second the combines are empty the grain cart operator tarps the grain cart and books it to the edge of the field where the truck is waiting. The truck driver will have tarped the truck already if grain was in the trailer. Upon seeing the grain cart line up at the truck, it will be untarped and the rest of the grain will be unloaded. As the truck driver is out tarping the truck, it is essential for the auger of the grain cart or combine to remain over the trailer to act as a “lightning rod” to keep everyone on the ground safe from lightning. Next, the truck must quickly but safely reach the dirt road and make it to solid ground, usually onto a highway or paved parking lot. When a truck is loaded, the extra weight of the grain makes it very easy to get stuck on soft/wet roads, so we try to avoid such problems.  The combines and grain cart are then parked near the edge of the field with the windshields facing away from the storm in case it hails. Lastly, the rest of the crew piles in the pickup, throws it into four-wheel drive and gets the “heck out of dodge” before the dirt roads become too muddy and we are stranded in the middle of nowhere. This “rain dance” is often manipulated based upon the situation. Regardless, Dad and Brandon call the shots when rain hits and it’s crucial for the rest of the crew to listen closely to directions during this time.

Kasey tarping truck
The first few rain drops have fallen so Kasey tarps the truck and waits for the grain cart and combines to make their way to this end of the field.

Parking the equipment in rain
A view from inside the combine after all the equipment has been unloaded, tarped, and parked appropriately. When it rains the grain cart auger is unfolded and left up so water will not run down the open auger and cause us problems later.

Tilting headers in the rain
Over the weekend we were able to finish a field just as it started to sprinkle. We moved to another field to see if that one had dodged the rain but sadly it hadn’t. Dad and Brandon parked the CR’s in the summer fallow and tilted their headers so that water wouldn’t congregate on the bottom side of the canvas. This is part of our  usual “rain dance” shut down.

Storm on radar
After years of using “bag cell phones” and flip phones, much of our crew has updated to “smart phones” at last. One of our favorite and most used apps is WeatherBug.

As shown above it will find your exact location and pull up the current radar. It can also alert you about severe weather and immediately notify you about weather bulletins so you don’t have to be glued to the radio listening for such information. One of the coolest features I have found on it is called “spark,” which scans the sky for nearby lightning and lets you know how close it is to you. This is very useful and allows us to keep the crew informed on the severity of the storm and make sure everyone safe. It also shows an hourly and 10 day weather forecast, which is pulled up multiple times throughout the day.

Puddles at the grain elevator
 Hemingford got dumped on both Wednesday and Thursday evening. Check out the massive puddles at the grain elevator in town.

All Aboard Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta. Megan can be reached at megan@allaboardharvest.com.

Emma: Destination – South Dakota
Emma Misener

Emma_thumbnailWe made it to South Dakota! Gregory, to be exact. We arrived around 2 pm, set up camp, then headed to Dell Rapids to pick up a combine. Every year we leave equipment in a shed over the winter in South Dakota. We do this not only to save on fuel cost, but for the safety of not being on the road, saving time to get to our destination because we can travel at night without the wide loads and the convenience of having our combines on hand and ready to harvest when we get there. For us, this is the best way to work as efficiently as possible.

While at Dell Rapids, we stopped at our farmer Dave’s house. He asked if we could lend a hand, so we decided to stay a couple days to help him out. The wheat and oats were not ready in Gregory. Here is a few pictures to show you what we did.

Emma: hay ride
Pickin’ up hay bales! I love the farm life. It’s an ever changing job, never knowing what you’re going to do next. I enjoyed our afternoon, especially since it was 65 degrees out. A nice change from the hundred plus degree temperatures of Oklahoma! Although I was rather chilly 🙂

Emma: hay ride
August grabbed the bales while I stacked.

Emma: hay ride
Dan drove the tractor with Leslie as co-pilot. He really enjoyed himself.

Emma: hay ride
Dave is more like family than just a customer. I really enjoy the company of his family. Sometimes it feels like we get more talking done than working, but let me assure you, we always welcome sleep at the end of a hard days work.

Emma: hay ride

Be safe and God bless!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by All Aboard Wheat Harvest and Syngenta.
Emma can be reached at emma@allaboardharvest.com

Emma: Keeping Busy and Happy to be Moving
Emma Misener

Emma_thumbnailWe are moving to South Dakota! Or at least preparing for our move.

For the past week we have been getting up around 4:30 to 5 o’clock in the morning so that we can beat the heat of the day. We take a two hour break around 2 p.m. and head to bed around 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. This schedule makes for very log days, but I am rather excited to be moving north.

Oklahoma harvest this year was nil, and our Texas harvest was poor. I am excited to see what South Dakota will bring. Even though harvest is in full swing we really haven’t left home base, so now we prepare for the move. This means we have to prepare the camper and cargo trailer, and parking and organizing things in the shop. We also have things to do like cleaning house, covering everything with sheets, turn off the water, mow the lawn one last time, etc., we are busy! When you are gone four to six months of the year things need to be locked up.

Our farmers near Gregory, S.D., are hoping to be in the field within two weeks. It sounds like they had plenty of rain during the growing season, so my hopes are high to cut some decent wheat. At the beginning of the year farmers in that area were concerned because it had not rained and the fall crops were terrible last year because of drought. Hopefully things are starting to turn around. It may not be a bumper wheat crop, but anything has to be better than what we have seen so far.

The tentative plan is to get up early tomorrow, around 4 a.m., to beat the heat on the roads. With a 10-hour move in front of us the last thing we need is hot tires, then blown tires. I am praying for a safe and uneventful trip.

See you on the road! Be safe and God bless!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta
Emma can be reached at emma@allaboardharvest.com.

Z Crew: Surprise Company, Red Rocks and Wheat Cuttin’
Z Crew

headshot2Limon, Colorado: When we thought our company was all gone and we’d have to get back into the normal “ho-hum” routine, boy, were we wrong.

Curt, Jamie, Eli and Jenna left Monday afternoon. We were all sad, of course, not knowing what to do with all of our free time. Until Monday evening when a familiar pickup pulled up next to the trailer house. Our good friends (basically family) from Nebraska, the Rathe family, came out to spend a few days with us! While the guys went to the field to see if the wheat was ready to cut, all of the girls spent Tuesday shopping the local antique shops around Limon. We found great treasures!

Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye on Wednesday but we were glad we had the time together. Wednesday night Callie and I were able to do something kind of…awesome. One of Callie’s favorite musicians, John Mayer, was playing at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside of Denver. After quite a bit of begging, we bought tickets and went to the show on Wednesday night. Traffic through Denver was an experience in itself! But we had a great time at the concert and made it home at about 2:30am on Thursday.

The wheat around Limon at it’s worst has been about 6-16 bushels per acre and at it’s best 25-30. Thursday evening was spent out in the field south of town. While Callie sat with Dad in the truck, I jumped into the tractor to ride for a few rounds. It’s so much fun working with more than one combine! It sure makes things more exciting.

Rain may be in our forecast for the next few days but we’ll just have to take each day as it comes and hope we can stay in the field as long as possible!

Z Crew: Jillian, Taylor and Brooke
Jillian Rathe, Taylor and Brooke Rathe; sporting fun hats found at an antique shop.

Z Crew: Callie and Taylor at Red Rocks
Callie and I had a great time at Red Rocks Amphitheatre! I can check it off my bucket list!

Z Crew: Wednesday Get-A-Way to Red Rocks
The iconic “Ship Rock” just south of the stage at Red Rocks.

Z Crew: Making Rounds
The combines make a few rounds to make sure the wheat is ready to cut.

Z Crew: Opening a New Field
Waiting to hear if the field is ready to go.

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

Emma: Lovin’ Family
Emma Misener

Emma_thumbnailIt is not a hidden fact that the Misener family is very close. Even living in a 30 foot camper for half of the year, we are definitely a tight knit unit. And that is just the way I like it! Here is some fun pics from around the house. Enjoy!

Emma: Green beans!
From my sister’s garden back home. I love fresh green beans and so do the girls. I’m surprised the green beans actually make it into the pot for how many we eat snapping them!

Emma: Green beans!

Emma: Workin' outside

Katie and Tim’s girls came with us one day to fix a combine. After a long and hot trip, they promptly fell asleep. They woke up quick, though, when we mentioned ice cream! In Sweetwater, Oklahoma at the gas station there is a smoothie/shake maker. It is really neat, I have never seen one before. You take the pre-mixed smoothie or shake out of the freezer, stick it in the machine, wait 30 seconds and whoo hoo! You have got one great and super cold smoothie. Great for a hot day! it’s f’real!

Emma: Workin' outside

Emma: Workin' outside snack

Emma: Workin' outside snack

Be safe and God bless!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta
Emma can be reached at emma@allaboardharvest.com