All Aboard Harvest | Laura: Oh, hail
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Laura: Oh, hail

Montana—As the kids have grown, Ryan and I are continually trying to achieve a work-life balance for them and that looks different each season. There are so many amazing lessons to be learned on the road, but there are also valuable experiences to be had at home too. The challenge with parenting is that you never know if you’re doing it right or not, but we, like so many of you reading this, are just trying to do the best we can for them.
We’re fortunate that centrally located Kansas is our home base. This enables us a little bit of flexibility in how we handle that balance for them. Both are in 4-H and it worked out for the kids and I to participate at the fair. During that same time period, it also timed out for them to attend our church’s VBS, see friends and stay with their Nana a couple nights while I attended a board of directors meeting for Kansas Farm Bureau. I’m so thankful for the village that is helping shape them. I am also glad they packed so much into such a short amount of time because from here on out, seeing other kids their age will just be a happy accident due our travel route.

Our 4-H club had a great showing at the tractor pull. All of these kids from our group qualified for the state pull should they wish to participate. Lady A won her age division and “Not So Little” Man brought home third.

Fashion Revue for 2022. It is so fun to watch these kids from our club, others too who aren’t in this project, grow up together and learn valuable life skills. We are so fortunate to have a great club and leaders.

These happenings back home put us only a few days behind the crew who had already dove headfirst in cutting up north. On my drive north, I was expressing thankfulness to someone for good crops in Montana after a droughty southern run. Little did I know, that at the same moment, our crew was being driven from the field by a massive hailstorm. In a short amount of time, thousands of acres were annihilated or extremely damaged. Just prior, the crew had been seeing strong yields around 50 bushels per acre. It is heartbreaking to see all the full heads, with so much promise laying on the ground. It is especially disappointing because last year was so droughty up north. Many of you reading this can, but wish you couldn’t, relate to the experience.

One of our team members sent this.  

Wheat after the hail storm. 

But if that trauma to the wheat wasn’t enough, approximately 200 wheat acres plus pasture were burned a few days prior. While natural fires can occur through the environment or accidental causes, arson and gross negligence are not uncommon in these parts. This one was thought to be arson. It was started in a pasture but conditions quickly pushed it into the wheat. Ryan helped the farm crew fight the fire as it was some time before volunteers could make it out to the farm. Why the delay? They were fighting another fire some distance away, also suspected as arson. Accidents happen, but the fact that someone would intentionally start a fire makes me sick. It is not only a terrible loss for the farm, but also intentionally puts lives in harm’s way.

Ryan’s shot of the fire while manning the water truck. (Photo by Ryan Haffner.)

While things got off to a very interesting start up here in Montana, we still have had plenty of wheat to harvest, and are extremely grateful. We have a crew that has been kept safe, has been dedicated to putting in the hours and takes this obligation very seriously.
Yes, when life throws you hail, and even fire, there can still be things to be grateful for. You just have to turn your eyes another direction.

This field allowed us to line them up. It is so beautiful to see them working together.  

Laura Haffner can be reached at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is brought to you by ITC Holdings, CASE IH, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, US Custom Harvesters Inc., Unverferth Mfg. Co. Inc., Lumivia CPL by Corteva Agriscience, Kramer Seed Farms, and High Plains Journal.

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