All Aboard Harvest | Laura: Prep
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Laura: Prep

Northwest Kansas – The last few weeks before departure are when things just feel weird. I’m stuck in the middle of two worlds, non-harvest and harvest.  There are so many things I must do or line up to leave, but most of my list can’t be done until 24 hours before heading out.  A person must keep living, the yard’s grass doesn’t stop growing, laundry keeps piling up, and mail doesn’t stop coming for this seemingly invisible deadline.

Luckily, we can work on preparations of the crew in advance.  In fact, some of this season’s work began before the end of the 2017 season, specifically paperwork which is never in short supply. Next we begin lining up employees for the season in the winter, equipment is traded or purchased if needed, tax prep, repairs and updates are just a few of the activities taking place in the off season. In all honesty, the only thing “off” is that we’re not cutting, otherwise it is full speed ahead!

Leave time is usually the great unknown.  People start asking months in advance when we think we’ll be leaving for the season, and then the questions in casual conversation pick up in May.  Invitations for various activities in May usually get the RSVP of, “We would love to come if we are still here!”  Talk about feeling flakey all the time.  Thankfully I have people in my life who tolerate this.

Before we know it, the magic words are spoken that it is time to head out.  A rush of activity takes place and somehow everything gets on the road and out the door.  I’m not sure how, but it always gets done.  Below are some of the things we’ve checked off our to do list!

HPH-2018 (Mark) Prep
Decals on and the truck is ready to roll! (Photo Credit: Mark)

HPH-2018 (Mark) Prep
Crew members do a little work to a stripper header. (Photo credit: Mark)

Argh! Why is my camper the place flies go to die in the winter?  Tell me I’m not the only one who gets this nasty surprise each spring! This is one reason I wait to deep clean just prior to leaving so its nice and fresh for the road! (Photo credit: Laura)

Good as new! Nothing a carpet shampooer and elbow can’t fix! (Photo credit: Laura)

I bought these books while on Tracy Zeorian’s “Together Lifted and Uplifted” harvest retreat (more on this amazing experience later)! The kids will be excited to discover new reading material in the camper house. (Photo credit: Laura)

HPH-2018 (Laura) Prep
Getting stocked up on treats for the road. Not as healthy selection as I would like but I went for anything novel that stand a chance of keeping littles happy and mom sane on the road. Oh, the cat food and litter is for my folks who thankfully are willing to keep our favorite feline while we are on the road in the summers. Just wanted to clarify so before you think cat food was one of the novel treats for the kids! Ha! (Photo credit: Laura)

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Laura can be reached at

  • Nancy Eberts
    Posted at 16:15h, 06 June

    You are amazing and so right about the being caught between two worlds!

    There truly isn’t ever a down time and after more than 35 years of this lifestyle I still can’t conquer the week before we leave and week we get home!

    Great story!

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 23:05h, 10 June

      Thanks for the encouragement, Nancy! I’m glad to hear I’m not missing the secret recipe for departure success, but sure wish there was one!

  • Dwight Wing
    Posted at 15:30h, 07 June

    I love this website. I’m from Rozel, KS (58 years ago) I did farm work until my Senior year in HS. That summer, I too went custom cutting. The prior year the farmer I was working for taught me how to run his combine. He taught me “provided I didn’t just take off with some Custom Cutter”. I kept seeing the caravans traveling thru town each year. Couldn’t resist. It was like running off to join the traveling Circus. What a rush. It was a great experience. Glad I did it.

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 23:08h, 10 June

      You heard the siren’t call, did you, Dwight?!?! I’m glad to hear it was worth it!

      I know exactly where Rozel is. Nice little town. Been through there a bunch of times!

  • Tom Stegmeier
    Posted at 16:36h, 09 June

    Here is a simple & easy main dish for the crew .Salsa Chicken ,it goes like this as many nice plump breasts as needed ,your favorite Salsa & Tex/Mex grated cheese, Use a good sized baking dish pour a good amount of salsa on the breasts.bake @350f for 20min. add the cheese bake for 10min. Done !!! This is my creation , not Sandi’s who is a super plus cook !!!

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 23:07h, 10 June

      Sounds like a good one, Tom! Thanks for sharing! I bet I could modify it for the Instant Pot or Crock Pot!