All Aboard Harvest | Back roads trump pavement
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Back roads trump pavement

St. Francis, Kansas—These last couple days, I have really gotten familiar with the back roads of St. Francis. Our fields range from being 15 miles west of Franny to 20 miles south of Franny. Rather than load up the combine for that distance, we just load the header up on the trailer behind the service truck, turn all our caution lights on and cruise at a whopping 22 mph cross-country!

The field we have been cutting on south of town gives us some not-so-fond flashbacks from a couple of years back. In this field, we had both a final drive AND a shaker-pan wear out out on our combine within in the same week. Harvest Support could have just as well parked their trailer at the end of our field for how often they were here during that time. And, of course, the breakdowns that take a little longer to remedy happen on the hottest of days. Isn’t that always the way?

Yesterday morning, I beat Brandon out to the field. Know what that means? I got to drive combine for the day! It’s almost makes harvest seem like it just began when you experience it from a new perspective like that, since I have been driving truck since we began back in Hobart. I think I sat in 17 different seating positions throughout the day since auto-steer gives such freedom of motion. I even had time to clean a spot on the windows I forgot while servicing. And I was able to drink out of my water job using both hands, rather than having one hand on the wheel and one hand on the jug, inadvertently spilling half the jug on my lap in the process.

The wheat we finished cutting south of Franny did around 30 bushels per acre but the test weights were a little on the lighter side, between 53 and 56 pounds. The upside to lighter wheat is that even though the trucks are loaded up, the wheat isn’t as heavy and therefore causes less wear and tear on it. The dirt around here has the consistency of powdered sugar so the trucks have to slow down to snail pace in order to not dust anyone out on the end of the field.

Quote(s) of the Day—“What’s that lettuce-looking weed over yonder?”

“This area seems to be stuck in an 80s dome, that’s the only music you hear around town.”

Stuff Harvesters Like—Roading the combine to a nearby field with a 40-foot header and there are no poles, signs or otherwise roadside obstructions in the way.

There was wind, hail and big rains in those clouds.

This cloud had high winds, hails and rain that came down in sheets.

Storm clouds rollin' in.

Old harvest friends unite.

A harvest friend of ours, Lee Pedersen, gave us a quick little field visit when we were south of St. Francis.

A rainbow...on the ground?! How cool!

Check out this sweet PillowPet we got!

Check out this sweet PillowPet we got!

Brandon getting ready to initiate autosteer.

The dust is so fine around here!

The dust is so fine and hangs in the air on days like these where there’s no breeze.

Grandpa/Farmer Randy and Brady.

Brady loves the field already!

Brady loves the field already!

Such a little cutie!!

He is such a cutie pie!

A day in the combine = this view.

Autosteer is neat. And those are ice cream cones on my socks.

Auto-steer is pretty neat. And yes, those are ice cream cones on my socks.

Dusk/sunset is the best.

Dust hanging in the air.Beautiful night for harvest.

Sunset.Almost looks like the sky is on fire...


  • Ed Schloz
    Posted at 15:03h, 14 July

    Great pictures and great stories!!

  • Tyler Lienemann
    Posted at 18:46h, 14 July

    Are you dealing with vomitoxin testing and dock like we did over here in Northeast ks?

  • Barb Holzwarth
    Posted at 22:38h, 14 July

    Stephanie, you have an eye on seeing things that a lot of us don’t take the time to see or think about! Keep up with your photography and writings, we truly enjoy seeing it through your eyes!

  • Norman Morrow
    Posted at 22:42h, 14 July

    Stephanie, I’m the ‘preacher type’ that got to say ‘hi’ to you and your dad (and friend) a couple of mornings last week. Dale Patton knew exactly who you folks were and wanted me to say hi to you this morning, but I didn’t see you. I enjoyed reading your article. I didn’t realize lazy you could become driving that nice combine. Have a good harvest. Norman Morrow

    • Steph Osowski
      Posted at 00:15h, 18 July

      It was great to have breakfast with you those mornings, Norman! I’m glad you found my blog to follow and hope you will continue to follow us on our journey north. Dale stopped by our trailer to say “hello” to us. Best wishes to you and yours!

  • Shirley Zweygardt
    Posted at 03:06h, 15 July

    Great catching up with you again this year! I enjoy reading your blog, and REALLY enjoy seeing that cute harvest help…he is an absolute joy to all of us and glad you had the chance to meet him! Good luck with the rest of your harvest run. Hope to see you again next year?!!

    • Steph Osowski
      Posted at 00:14h, 18 July

      It was great to see you too, Shirley! Always a great time to be had in St. Francis 🙂

  • Barry Weis
    Posted at 09:49h, 15 July

    Love the photos! You do a wonderful job capturing the beauty of our great state. Regarding the “quote of the day”, being stuck in the 80’s isn’t all bad. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

    Proud to sponsor your posts.
    Barry Weis, Great Plains Manufacturing

    • Steph Osowski
      Posted at 00:14h, 18 July

      Thank you so much, Barry! I have my dad to thank for my appreciation of 80s music so I think if you go back, I’ll join you!

  • Sheree L. Wingo
    Posted at 22:56h, 16 July

    We have NEVER called St. Francis “franny.” It is Sainty. MY hometown.

    • Steph Osowski
      Posted at 00:13h, 18 July

      Anything we call it is said with fondness, we love it in St. Francis. 🙂