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Home!

North central Kansas — Last Tuesday morning, I packed up the kids and a few necessities and hit the road for home. It was nearly the middle of the month and I needed to go home and catch up on the bills, pay payroll taxes and handle other related office responsibilities that couldn’t wait. Ryan thought he’d be home sometime Thursday or Friday, so we didn’t feel too bad about heading out as he planned to be cutting around home at the end of the week.

I get some butterflies when leaving the harvest trail. We were away from home for four weeks and one day (the kids went south a few days before harvest to see family). It may sound strange, but there is an assimilation process that takes place each time we go home. I realize that it’s not a long time to be away, but it’s an intense time and just “different.” At home you have to maintain that harvest intensity and tunnel vision while trying to juggle all the home things too. Despite the adjustments, I do feel fortunate to get to have a stop close to home and sleep in my own bed mid-season.

The trip home was to take a little under seven hours with no stops. However, one knows when traveling with a baby and a toddler, more (or a lot more) time need to be figured into the trip. I shouldn’t complain, though. They were really tough and traveled as well as they possibly could considering the miles.

Once I entered Comanche County, Kansas, the first Kansas county along our route, the wheat was just stunning. It was the picturesque amber waves of grain everyone thinks of when they think about wheat. It continued this way all the way home. Obviously, I was just doing a 65 mph drive-by, so I can’t speak to the actual quality, but cosmetically, it was the kind of wheat that almost makes you want to look away and speak in hushed tones as if to avoid inviting any unforeseen catastrophe.

Mom met us along the route and took Little Man for a few nights so Lady A and I could get some paperwork done. My mother and mother-in-law are kind to help us when needed. Whether it’s childcare, sewing light-reducing curtains for the camper so the kids can nap better (thanks Mom!), cat sitting, mail collecting, house plant watering, or just moral support, they are always willing be there and are so appreciated!

As it is with harvest, unexpected things pop up and we had some changes in Kansas. With some creative thinking, a new plan was devised and Mark would finish at Kiowa and move to the Victoria, Kansas, area while Ryan would continue to plug away in Texas. Of course we were disappointed that Ryan wouldn’t be home as planned, but during the busy season if there are acres to cut, we must focus on the task at hand. After all, you can’t cut wheat in the winter. We’re thankful for the modern convenience of FaceTime.

We caught a rain last Friday night and the crew told me they received 2 inches at our farmer’s home place and an inch north east in another area where his fields are located. They were able to resume cutting Monday afternoon near Gorham, Kansas. Two members of the crew took a combine and truck to the Scott City area and are cutting with a farmer down there.

As for me, I am plugging away on the paperwork, taking meals to Mark and the crew as they cut around the area, and try to balance our home life with the kids. I have milk jugs with July expiration dates in my fridge. Where is this summer going?  

HPH-Henry 5

Yields coming across the monitor varied widely in Kiowa. I was told it was running anywhere from the high twenties to sixty bushels per acre. (Photo credit: Henry)



HPH-Henry 6

Kiowa, Kansas, Sunset (Photo credit: Henry)

HPH-Kiowa

This was what it was like when the crew finished in Kiowa, Kansas, last Thursday. Not exactly ideal, comfortable conditions for blowing off and loading combines!

HPH

I will miss this little guilty pleasure of Texas! I’ve been a fan since I was a kid, after my grandma got me hooked and fed my habit when I’d visit each summer. Am I their spokesperson for Homemade Vanilla? No, but I’d be willing! Payments in ice cream preferred!

HPH WFT Church

The pastor a church we attended while in Texas sent us this lovely card and well wishes for our harvest journey. What a sweet surprise! It was a joy to attend their beautiful church while in town.



HPH - Ellis County, KS storm

It’s hard to see, but in the center of the photo was an interesting rotating updraft during Friday’s storm.


HPH - Friday Storm

This was a strange storm. It hung out north of Interstate for a while, then built toward the northwest and later traveled southeast. It packed enough rain to give part of the crew the weekend off.



HPH - John Deere and Hail Green

John Deere green or hail green. I don’t have to tell you which is a preferred color at harvest time.




HPH-Mail

Just some of the mail that was waiting for me. The High Plains Journal looks a little more fun to read than dealing with the bills.


6-20-16 HPH Gorham, Kansas Harvest Photos - Laura-11

Back in action on Monday. Can’t wait to write more about this soon!



 All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

2 Comments
  • Steven White
    Posted at 07:28h, 29 June

    Great writing! Thanks for sharing you summer and your life with us! My dad went on harvest in the 1940s, (life was much different then), and shared stories of it with me years later. I’ve always been fascinated watching the combine crews ever since.

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 08:01h, 30 June

      Thanks so much for sharing your story, Steven. I’m glad the posts are resonating with you!