Steph: Monkey see, monkey do

Finally … rain!

You know that phrase “you always want what you can’t have?” Well, in this case it’s simply a matter of wanting what you have no control over. Maybe one year everything will go our way in the agriculture sector–planting and spraying will go off without a hitch, not a dime will be spent on breakdowns. We will have the perfect ratio of rain and heat to bring on maximum yields. The price of diesel will be a dollar per gallon and world peace will prevail … but until then, we deal with what we’ve got.

Our first photo as a family of three. (Photo by North Elm Photography.)

All the rain dances in the world didn’t seem to be doing us any favors until last week. You could lose a leg in the cracks found in any given field within three counties so hopefully this moisture filled in the gaps.

The smoke from the fires in Canada mixed with some fog—the view from my backyard.

The crops are hanging on by a thread, despite the rain we lovingly received. We were scheduled for twelve straight days of 90-degree heat sponsored by humidity so talk about a pleasant surprise when those thunderheads rolled in and not only opened up, but stayed a while. I hate to be ungrateful but it was too little too late to make an impact. Here’s hoping that once the combines dive in, the yields will also pleasantly surprise us. The wheat samples will start coming in hot within the week. You know how it is. When the neighbor farmer takes a sample, you’ve got to take one too. Monkey see, monkey do.

An almost ripened head of wheat just outside of Grafton—won’t be long now!

Growing up on the wheat harvest run—I wonder how many sentences I’ve started with that line—there are certain things you got used to missing out on. Summer camps, off-season sports leagues, county fairs, lazy days by the pool and lake weekends. We were too busy harvesting the crops that feed the world. That kind of thing waits for no one. But we truly did not feel like we were missing out. Year after year, we were more concerned with planning everything, down to our graduations parties, around harvest departure date so we wouldn’t be late to our first stop. My brother and I have spoken numerous times about how we don’t regret a single summer on harvest. And, anyway, now as adults we get to experience all of those things tenfold and still have all our harvest experiences and connections to fall back on.

Grandpa Bob, showing baby Jack his way around the farm. If he only knew how much time he will spend there in the future!


Brandon showing off one from the new litter of kittens.

The real boss—Grandma Polly—checking in on operations.

Brandon’s wheat crop around the farm.

A good ol’ brother and sister selfie.

Speaking of summer activities, we got to do the county fair thing this past weekend. Why is it that when it comes to fair food, the limit does not exist? We went not once but twice to a fair in a nearby Minnesota town and I think we sampled 75% of the food they had to offer. Homemade corn dogs, pulled pork nachos, maple bacon donuts, hobo tacos, barbecue pork chop sandwiches, chocolate malts, cheese curds, fresh cut french fries, you name it. No regrets. Not a single calorie. We joked about how even though the setting was different, it still felt like harvest as it was a beautiful July evening and we were all together as a family.

Fair food is the best food. Just looking at these photos again makes me hungry.

Pieter trying his luck with the carnies.

Mama, now grandma, and myself at the fair.

Baby Jack with the moose Grandpa Bob and Uncle Brandon won him at the fair!

The newest member of our crew, Jack Pieter Hiladore Cronje, made his debut on May 23, 2021. He is just over two months old now and has adjusted pretty darn well to the outside world. He has been camping at the lake, on a few trips to Target, to the chiropractor, to the fair and on his first boat ride. I know he can hardly wait to experience his first wheat harvest. How can he not? It’s in his blood.

Jack’s one month photoshoot by mom.

Jack’s two month, also done by mom.

If that gummy smile doesn’t get you, I don’t know what will.

How many photos do you think mom will take of him in and around the wheat? Y’all better start making bets.

Stephanie Cronje can be reached at

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. 


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