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Janel: Miss Moo And I Have New Wheels

Holdrege, Nebraska – Holy cow!  It’s springtime already, and there are no more days off.  Harvest is quickly approaching, and there is so much to do and so little time.  It’s always a stressful time of year trying to get everything ready for harvest.  I certainly have feelings of not only stress but also fear and anxiety during this time of year due to having to hire the crew too.  I have been going on harvest my entire life.  However, it’s a big job getting ready for harvest – no doubt about it.  I am blessed though because of who I get to go to harvest with!  No joke. The best part about harvest for me is getting to work alongside my family, including my Dad and Mom (LaVern and Carlene Schemper), two brothers (JC and Jared) and Uncle Lonny.  In the springtime, it is such a relief to finally make it to our first harvest stop 500 miles south of here.  The stress of going to harvest is finally gone, and then the focus is on cutting wheat and doing a good job every single day.

The most exciting news I have to share with you about the 2017 harvest is that Miss Moo and I have new wheels! If you know me well enough, you know my dog’s name is Maggie Moo, but we call her Moo.  She has gone on harvest with me since she was a puppy, so this will be her ninth harvest. She knows the routine all too well.  Moo loves the harvest just as much as I do, and she loves being my shotgun rider just as much as I love having her with me everywhere I go!  We have had the same combine for the past four years.  Since we got our new combine recently, I have never been so glad to have a new combine.  The combine market has been terrible the past few years and getting a new combine every year for harvest hasn’t been in the cards.  However, I really lucked out having a good combine to get through the tough (market) times.  It was a 2013 model, and overall it was a good combine.  The engine fan upper and lower drives failed which was a major breakdown and the combine was down 5 days during wheat harvest, which was terrible.  I have never had a combine break down for an entire day before so this breakdown was awful.  The three wires on the turbo melted (twice – a year apart) and had holes in them due to the couplers being too tight.  The fan blades broke twice, and the alternator belt broke too during fall harvest.  Other than that, the combine ran unbelievably well for the four years I ran it.  Although, it did have many dollars in parts replacements done during the offseason. 

Are you totally in love with harvest yet?  One reason I didn’t want to let go of that combine, in particular, was because it didn’t use DEF.  I heard that DEF was Obama’s doings.  I am hoping my friend President Donald Trump will get rid of the need for DEF.  I do not agree with having to have it.  Who does?  What is great about President Trump is that when he says he is going to do something, he does it.  He gets things done.  That is the kind of man you want to have around.

I am looking forward to the 2017 harvest – no doubt. I always pray for safety and success not only for myself but also for all the harvesters that have chosen this business to make a living.  It’s not an easy living.  You have to earn every penny!  I really love the day when we finally have everything loaded up and ready, so we can go south for the harvest.  I’m not talking about the first trip.  It takes two trips for me to get south for wheat harvest.  For the first trip, I will drive a Peterbilt and haul my combine and a grain trailer.  For the second trip, I will drive a Peterbilt with a triple-axle grain trailer.  What I love about the harvest is all of the good people we get to see each year.  The small towns are really fading though, and it’s a shame.  We need more good people in small towns to keep them going.  It seems that most young people from small towns leave and go to the big cities and don’t come back.  I doubt that’ll ever be me.  I like my wide open country all too well, where I can drive and not be in somebody’s way.  No really, small towns are the place to be.

I can’t wait to share my day-to-day harvest experiences with you all for the 2017 season! I appreciate the High Plains Journal and All Aboard Wheat Harvest partners for giving me this opportunity.

I’ve included one of my favorite harvest recipes, and it’s called BBQ Meatballs, but I call it Ketchup Meatballs because once they are cooked all you need is some ketchup!

Meatballs: 3 lbs ground beef, 1 12 oz can evaporated milk, 1 cup oatmeal, 1 cup saltine cracker crumbs, 2 eggs, a dash of onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 2 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
Sauce: 2 cups ketchup, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp liquid smoke, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder and 1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce or country bob’s

Mix the meatball ingredients, and shape them into balls. Brown in a skillet. Then place in a baking pan.  Mix the sauce ingredients, and pour over the meatballs.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere.  Janel Schemper can be reached at janel@allaboardharvest.com. 

Schemper Harvesting

Miss Moo and I got new wheels! (photo by Janel)

Schemper Harvesting

Moo and I in the combine waiting on a tractor grain cart during corn harvest! (photo by Janel)

Schemper Harvesting

Moo and I at the elevator in the truck waiting in line during corn harvest! (photo by Janel)

Schemper Harvesting

Moo and I in South Dakota on a hot and humid summer morning! (professional photo taken by my friend Megan Sugden)


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