21 May Laura: Crew Update
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.
Ryan doesn’t slow down much in the off season as there is always something to be done with the crew, contract work, honey-dos, the farm, and ranch. I think there’s an old saying about the two certainties in one’s life being death and taxes. Well, I think in our case it can be death (hopefully WAY down the line), taxes, and paper work! The good thing about paperwork days is that we may get the treat of having him come in for lunch! We love the luxury of having him around a little more this time of year but are appreciative of the additional sacrifices and hard work he puts in to take care of us during harvest season.
In the off season I continue to work in the “office” on the books, but it’s not quite as intense as it is from late March to November. I enjoy being involved on a church committee and serve on our local Farm Bureau board and dabble with a little photography from time to time. Of course chasing kids keeps things a little crazy but fun. Little Man and Lady A are doing great. Lady A has probably had the most changes developmentally from last season until now and it has been fun watching her little personality emerge. Little Man has been training his crew on the carpet for months now. They should hit the ground running when we get to Texas! They are both such a joy to Ryan and I!
Enough about us, let’s get you caught up on the crew!
Mark has been with us since we took over the business, and Jill, his wife, regularly contributes photos when she travels to visit Mark. They were married last fall and our family and crew, enjoyed attending their wedding and reception. You may remember that he proposed in a wheat field in Montana. The harvest theme continued for their nuptials. With Jill’s blessing, the crew secretly prepared Mark’s combine and surprised Mark by driving it to the church for use for photos and a getaway vehicle. It was a memorable day for sure!
Harold remains on the team. He trucks for us in the off season and steps in from time to time during summer harvest. You may recall he is affectionately called “Opa” by the other crew members. Don’t let the name fool you! He can still hang with the guys more than half his age!
This year we have six returning seasonal crew members. Albert and Pieter are starting their third season with us. We will be looking to them for leadership due to their experience with the crew. Willem and Shaun are beginning their second year and also have plentiful experience and leadership to share. Odendaal and Stefan started with us towards the end of wheat harvest and continued through the end of fall harvest. We look for them to build on that experience from last year. We are excited to welcome these capable young men back to the crew this year.
We have four new members starting their summer adventure. Bert is from Australia and has traveled in the US prior to this. Andre is a friend of Willem, and joins us from South Africa. James, Leigh, and Dan hail from the Isle of Man and this is their first time to our country. They are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime!
Now that you have met the crew, where are we planning to travel this year? The current idea is to start in Texas and end the wheat season in Montana and North Dakota respectively with stops in between. The outlook for the 2017 harvest season is a little unsettling right now. At the time I was typing this article, we were just two days out of a major, surprise, late season blizzard that struck parts of our territory on April 28 and 29. The wheat crop was looking promising in many areas. Much was in the boot or had just started heading. We are in a waiting game to see how the crop responds to the freezing temperatures and/or snow. For better or worse, this is the game we play as harvesters. Like our farmers and others in the agriculture community, we will just have to roll with the situation and do the best we can.
I think you’re back up to speed with the news surrounding High Plains Harvesting. So what happened to you since the last time we were together? Feel free to comment below with what’s new with you! It’s always a joy to hear from you!
All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Laura can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org