All Aboard Harvest | Tracy Zeorian – Z-Crew
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Tracy Zeorian – Z-Crew

Tracy Zeorian – Z-Crew

Tracy Zeorian has followed the ripening trail of wheat since she was 12 years old.

Zeorian’s grandparents, Elvin and Pauline Hancock, had been making the annual harvest run from Texas to Montana since 1951.

Tracy said she met her husband, Jim, who was part of the crew, in 1975. They married in 1982 and purchased their first combine that fall.

These days, Tracy drives the combine and Jim drives the truck. She couldn’t imagine another lifestyle.

“I think it is the adrenalin you get each time you pull into a field knowing it needs to be cut,” she said. “You work on it until it gets done, you work through the storm clouds and whatever challenges there are. Then you start all over again.”

They raised their daughters in the wheat field–Jamie, Jenna, Taylor Callie. Now they have three grandchildren coming to the field when they can.

“They get in the combine,” she said. “How my grandpa is smiling from ear to ear knowing we are still in the wheat fields.”

“It is just a great way of life. We are definitely not going to be rich from it, but we became rich from a great family.”

Garden City, Kansas–Crazy how fast the past two weeks have gone! We left home, arrived in Chase, cut every day and have moved to Garden City. If it wasn’t for my calendar, I’m certain recalling dates of when things occurred just wouldn’t or couldn’t happen.

We began our 2019 harvest adventure on June 24. By the time we said our goodbyes to the kids, threw our last-minute stuff in the trailer house and locked the door on our home in Manley, it was 4:30. Yes, we were setting up the "cottage on wheels" in the dark. Way to start the season!

Chase, Kansas – Combine Cam is up and running!

One of my most favorite parts of being involved with the All Aboard Wheat Harvest has been the Combine Cam. I absolutely love being able to tell the story of wheat and harvest by actually showing others what’s happening in the field. Whether it’s the mundane back and forth of cutting wheat or a sickle section being replaced ... you’re right there in the cab!

The day after we arrived to our destination, we met up with Grant (Kiowa County Media Center, Greensburg) in the farmer's yard.

I always look forward to this Combine

Manley, Nebraska – Um, I really want to sort of fib a little right now and put Chase, Kansas, as my location but that would be lying and that’s not me.

So, here’s the deal. I’m feeling a bit like we’re never going to actually get Harvest 2019 started. It’s really beginning to wear on me. I know my sitting here in my “home, home” kitchen typing this note, I am telling the story of Harvest 2019—just not the one I want to be telling you. I would much rather be telling you about the late night we had cutting 65

Manley, Nebraska – This should be the last time I use this location at the beginning of my posts. Trip number one has been made to Chase, Kansas. Harvest 2019 is about to begin for the Z Crew ... finally!

I’m going to get real with this post.

The state of agriculture is depressing right now. Farming is a stressful and risky business. Weather and commodity prices are two of the main causes of the current decline in farm income and both are out of the farmer’s control.  I just recently read a heartbreaking story about another young farmer from South Dakota

Manley, Nebraska—It was some time between the 2000 fall harvest and the spring of 2001 that we made the decision to change things up a bit with our crew. I would go to the field with Jim and the girls were going to become our support system. I was silently doing a little happy dance because I loved being in a combine.

When my grandparents asked me to join their crew for the 1974 harvest, I’m absolutely certain they had no clue they were setting me up for what would become my life journey.

Anticipation ... waiting a bit longer before the

Manley, Nebraska - I manage a couple of Facebook pages that are harvest related and I get this question often, “How do I start my own harvest business?”

Most of the time, it’s someone who already owns a combine and wants to hit the road.

Because we are still at home, I've been enjoying the beauty of spring. It was such a long, brutal winter I almost feel like I deserve this extra time at home to soak up all the beauty. 

I usually get excited when I’m approached with questions about the ins and outs of this business. It’s been a passion

Manley, Nebraska – The waiting is sometimes the hardest part of anything.

And it’s no different for that first day of being on the road. But there’s no sense in getting in a hurry. The most common harvest quote and one I’ve heard since I was about 12 years old is “hurry up and wait.” It’s so true for pretty much all of what the harvest journey is about.

I planted my "traveling garden" last night ... just before the rains rolled in, once again.

Yes, we’re waiting. Waiting on the wheat to ripen and waiting on the weather to straighten out.

Manley, Nebraska—I found myself wishing for a patio set a couple of days ago. I’ve never had one. There are so many cute sets with matching pillows and I try to tell myself that maybe it would be okay to purchase one. After all, they are on sale right now. And then the practical side of my brain tells me that would just be plain dumb. I might get to use it for a couple of weeks and then I’d have to find a place to store it for the next three months.

Oh, and all those beautiful flowers and garden

Jordan, Montana - The cleanup has begun.

When I make that last round and climb down the ladder for the last time, it never fails to create a ping in my soul. I don't even know if the word, "ping", is the correct way of defining the feeling that happens. Why does this happen? I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. Sometimes, I really wish I was like others who do a little happy dance when it's over. Instead, I'm always wishing there was just one more field to head to.

The days end much chillier than

Jordan, Montana - It was 41 degrees yesterday when we got up. My very first action of the day was turning on the "fireplace". It's actually just a glorified space heater but it looks nice and it does a fine job of warming up the Cottage in a short period of time.

When the flies start hanging around the screen door late in the day, you know you may as well count on the next morning beginning with the heat of the fireplace.

Where did it go? Summer, that is. How does it go from being 108 degrees to 41 in such