18 May Stephanie: Greetings from the north country
Spring has sprung, and it holds one of the best universal messages: Even though it’s sloppy and unpredictable, change has arrived and it will only get better from here.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Stephanie (Osowski) Cronje. You could say I’m the vet of the All Aboard Wheat Harvest program. I was given the privilege to write full time for six summers in a row, back when my family would do the harvest run.
And then, last year, the year of topsy-turvy uncertainty, High Plains Journal reached out and invited me back part time. We love sharing our harvest tales with readers—knowing our “salt of the earth” way of life is being appreciated is both inspiring and humbling.
Long story short, I’m a third generation harvester. I’m happily married to a handsome South African, Pieter, that I met while we were both working the harvest circuit, in a trailer park in Kansas—seriously, I can’t make this up. As if that’s not exciting enough, we are currently expecting our first baby. As I type this, I am 38 weeks along and anxiously awaiting his or her arrival. You are correct—we do not know the gender. There aren’t very many surprises in life, am I right?
We reside in the rural community of Grafton, North Dakota, where my parents, Bob and Loree, and brother, Brandon, also reside. We have always been a close family, working together or not, and it certainly has not changed. When I say close, I mean my brother just left my house for his lunch break and I’ll likely be bringing lunch to my dad in the tractor shortly.
We are kind of close. Don’t worry, mom and I spent the day together yesterday and Pieter got a packed lunch sent with him this morning. Spread the love like peanut butter on toast.
We had an exceptionally dry winter. Not a single blizzard. Very unheard of. Ironically, this was Pieter’s first winter spent in North Dakota so now he thinks we have all been blowing smoke about how cold and miserable winter can be … we could have counted on fingers and a couple toes how many times we received any resemblance of moisture since October. Because of this, planting season for some started as early as March 15. Dad and Brandon are currently planting soybeans and Pieter only has 400 acres of soybeans to go before being all seeded and ready for pre-emergence spraying.
As for me, I’m working at a couple different daycares in town and nesting to the extreme. Everything will be cleaned and then cleaned again in the next couple weeks. Our nursery is very well equipped between the wonderful people in our life and my excellent shopping skills. Being called “mom” is something I’ve always imagined for myself and Pieter and I couldn’t be happier for this next stage of our life together.
We can’t wait to share another harvest season with you all. We will have the cutest little copilot or baby boss along for the ride as well. Does it get much better than that?
Until then, everyone stay safe and sanitized!
(Sorry, not sorry, I had to … nice little COVID joke to wrap it up.
Stephanie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by Case IH, Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc., BASF, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Gleaner, ITC, Westbred, Huskie, Western Equipment, US Custom Harvesters, and High Plains Journal.