All Aboard Harvest | Takin’ samples
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Takin’ samples

Helena, Oklahoma—With this humidity lingering in the air, the days have been starting off a little bit slow. We service equipment just slow enough in hopes that we can get going when we finish, but to no avail. I did bring a load into the elevator from the night before, making it my first load brought to the Helena Co-op for the 2015 harvest. It was great to see the staff again! As I was walking out of the scale house, a couple was just walking in. After saying quick hellos to one another, the gal stopped me and asked if I was Steph from the High Plains Journal, followed by saying they had seen Purple pull through town and wanted to come and meet me! This lady’s name is Mrs. Rhonda Haken, and she and her husband have been custom harvesting around this area for years, just as we have. It was wonderful to meet and chat with you guys!

The first sample of the day, taken around 10:43 a.m., came back at 14.4 percent moisture. Now, a safe assumption when taking just a coffee can’s worth of a sample into the elevator is that a full truck load will be at least a full point of moisture higher. So, a 15.4 percent moisture truck load? No, thank you. A little over an hour and a leap of faith later, we took another sample into town and were greeted with a 12.8 percent moisture reading! With the heat only increasing from this point on in the day on, we radio-ed Brandon and told him he could keep on rolling! Our yields today were around 55 bushels per acre and test weights were consistent at 59 pounds.

Just when we were getting a groove set in for the day, Brandon decided to shake things up a bit. As he was cutting out a terrace, he found a soft spot and sunk the combine to the cab. Farmer Mike had to go unhook his 4-wheel drive tractor from the disk so he could pull Brandon out of his self-made hole. Not long after, Brandon was walking along the truck and spotted a bull snake slithering right next to our Peterbilt. I had to hand it to him because I was thinking how I was running short on cool photos for the day and then he done got stuck AND made a snake friend. Way to come through, brother.

Quote of the Day—“Changing sickles while listening to hippy music, hanging out with your dad in Oklahoma…what more could you ask for?”

Takin' samples.

Takin’ samples in our handy dandy coffee can.

Replacing sickles.

Changing sickle blades.

Making a round.
Making a round.

Mom's (and everyone's) favorite cookbook!

This cookbook is the best. The “Pioneer Woman” has yet to steer us wrong. Anytime Mom has this in the kitchen, you know supper is gonna be delicious.


Taking my first load in at Helena.

When dad sees you're stuck..

When Dad sees that you’re stuck.



Poor kid got sucked down into a mud hole on the side of a terrace.

On the side of the terrace.


Farmer Mike watches the action.

Farmer Mike looks on at the action.

Good one, bro.

Standing in his hole.

Tellin' stories.

Tellin’ stories! From left to right: Farmer Mike, Bob (Dad) and Loree (Mom).

We love harvest support!

We love harvest support! This is an awesome service that New Holland provides to its customers and let me tell you, they sure know their combines. They deliver us parts and then help us put them on when they arrive at the field!

Tailgate supper.

Tailgate supper.

Ever tried coleslaw on your BBQ? It's amazing.

Pioneer Woman BBQ recipe! The best. Also, have you ever put coleslaw on your BBQ? It’s amazing, you must try it if you haven’t.


Snake! I used my zoom lens to take this photo, I was at least 20 feet away. I don’t like snakes at all.


Red dirt country.

Red dirt country.

Blowin' smoke.



There goes another day.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Steph at

  • Ben Johnson
    Posted at 03:02h, 22 June

    Everyone who has ever been around a harvest knows things are gonna break down and repairs are just a part of life, but it sure seems like you have an awful lot of trouble with those combines. When you consider the fact that they are basically new and you went over them and prepared them, as much as possible, before harvest. What types of problems are you having? Is it bearings going out, electrical, or just a combination of things? I am just curious. Thank for your articles and pictures. As an old farm kid that grew up on a farm not very far from where you are now I really enjoy it. I still get that harvest itch every year. I do have one request. Could you please take more pictures from the combine cab showing the wheat being cut? There’s nothing like the sight of the wheat being cut and going into the feeder housing. Thank you and keep on rolling.
    Ben Johnson

  • Ben Johnson
    Posted at 17:06h, 22 June

    Sorry, I had a brain cramp and wrote my email address wrong. This one should work better.
    Sorry again and good luck,

    • Steph Osowski
      Posted at 01:10h, 24 June

      Hey Ben! We seem to have a dark cloud residing over us the past week or so. We have had a wide range of problems from bearings to couplers to electronic issues. Our machine is still on warranty so we are able to get all of our problems fixed free of charge, which is a great help to us. I’m glad you enjoy the blog and I did take your advice and snap a few photos from inside the combine in my most recent post that I hope you enjoy as well!