Laura: Special helpers and wet conditions

Custer County, Oklahoma—“I’d never seen one in the wild before!” That was a reaction from one of my nieces that recently went on harvest with us. 

She was referring to a tarantula that made an appearance in the field one evening.  I’m guessing Mr. Tarantula hadn’t seen so many people in the wild before either, but here we all were giving each other a lengthy stare down before supper.  

This tarantula provided quite a bit of entrainment the night we saw it. They are such amazing creatures.
Cousin crew having supper that they helped prepare. Do you know how hard it was to get everyone to look at the camera at once?

And speaking of supper, that night we had spaghetti, salad, breadsticks, and jello cake with homemade whipped cream. I threatened my sister-in-laws that I may keep their girls forever because the four cousins were some of the best kitchen help I’ve ever had. They divided and conquered the tasks and made speedy work of the entire thing.  

Team work makes the dream work. These four did an awesome job on supper.

It was such a blessing to have them along with us. They all had such a great time and, due to more rain, we had plenty of opportunities to do a lot of extra activities like visiting Alabaster Caverns, putt putt, church, the pool and even went to a local lake. They may think that harvest is like this all the time, but a little skewed perspective is worth it due to all the memories that were made.  

I hope they’ll treasure these travel memories forever.

At dinner that night, it was going well up until it wasn’t. The field we were on is a bit notorious for having potential hidden waterhole landmines because it is bottom ground next to the creek. All of a sudden, one of the machines wasn’t moving and just by the way it looked, we had a sneaking suspicion it was likely stuck. They tried and tried, but it wouldn’t budge and it would be the next day before they were able to extract it from the mud.  

And while we’re on that subject, can we talk about how the worst issues always happen at the farthest point from the field entrance. It’s almost comical or it’s one of those laugh so you don’t cry situations. In this case, the land was holding until it unexpectedly wasn’t. By the time they got it out, there was water in the hole because the water table was so high.

This was legitimately stuck. Even experienced, returning crew members can get sucked in sometimes.

Considering how much rain this area had received in such a short period of time, and the lay of the land for our fields, we really do consider ourselves lucky that there was only one major moment like this. Yes, there were a few other minor ones but they were back up and running quickly. We were able to get all the wheat out on the entire farm except 15 acres. Under these tough conditions, that is a success story.  

The wheat did well down here this year in spite of the drought. Some of the yields ranged from 30 to 50 bushels per acre. Due to the continued rain delays, the test weight dropped as one would expect and hovered in the high 50s.  

Finally there was some dust flying.

Laura Haffner can be reached at

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is brought to you by Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc.High Plains Journal, New HollandITC Holdings CorpU.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc., Kramer Seed Farms, and Lumivia Insecticide Treatment by Corteva Agriscience.

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