The Kansas 2017 Harvest is officially over for the Krumbach crew. Blake and the guys put in some long days in Tribune, as did Bruce and Lloyd in Manter, and we were able to finish our Kansas jobs earlier this week. Besides the guys, Leigh and I also had our hands full with our supporting jobs. I tried to get the kids doing something fun most days (ride with dad, pool, or park), took out lunch, packed the cooler for supper, got the groceries, and felt like I just kept treading. But we made it! Leigh had less people to feed but she had to stay out in the field often to help shuffle around from field to field so that combine could keep on cutting. We are both looking forward to getting back to a normal “routine” for this stop, whatever normal means anymore.
We finished Tribune Monday. The averages varied immensely as we dealt with some mosaic. Our farmer was quite disappointed because he said when it was first heading out, it was such a beautiful crop and then the virus hit. The test weights were low as well so that was also disappointing. We cut for one other farmer up there and had to leave 160 acres because it had been hailed on. Though the yields were still fine, it had lots of sucker heads and wouldn’t dry down without waiting a couple days. With our fields in Nebraska ready, we couldn’t sit there for those acres, which he understood.
We had two options. Bruce and Leigh could have stopped and cut it when they were done with Manter. This way, two combines could get to Nebraska and get started. Our other option was to ask the farmer if he minded if friends of ours cut it. Our friends had lost their Colorado acres to drought and are unfortunately available until the millet is ready in Colorado in September. Tracy writes for All Aboard Wheat Harvest and wrote a very interesting and well thought post on the different challenges many custom harvesting crews are facing here. I can’t even begin to express how fortunate I feel for the acres we have had this year but that could easily be a whole separate post. Jim & Tracy will be cutting those 160 acres for us.
So Monday, once finished cutting, it was cleaning and loading time. Additionally, the German crew was there with some final filming. They hired an aerial videographer with hopes to get all three combines cutting together. Unfortunately, they didn’t get us together and they didn’t even get us cutting but they did some loading video and then when we pulled out of Tribune. Briar became besties with the aerial guy because he was flying a sweet drone and she really wanted to fly that thing. Also, he played with her so drone and playing, what’s not to like?! She was crying when we left because she really wants to be friends with him. Ha. Once we were done feeding the guys Monday and playing with the drone guy, I had to get my dishes done from lunch, pick up sandwich things, pay the fuel and parking, and prepare the camper. Our main farmer came to settle up Monday evening and the sky started changing. After a while, I became paranoid.
We ended up going to Gilbert’s house to settle up and the kids had such a great time. During harvest, they love the opportunity to be in a house and his house had a circular path that it was 100% run and fun time. And scream time. And giggle time. They loved it. Before long, I looked over and realized Addie got comfy and had taken off her pajamas and was running around in her underwear. Before long, Bri joined her. The storm never did anything in Tribune besides some rain so the kids and I headed home and I got them to bed before Blake got home. When he got back, he told me that Chappell got rain in the storm as well so we weren’t in as much of a hurry to get there. I emailed the Germans that our sendoff wouldn’t be as early as I had told them but it was too late at that point.
The German crew showed up shortly after 6 and then filmed the kids getting up. Addie’s eyes were as big as saucers as she was talking about how it was America’s birthday. Cal woke up as smiley as he comes and Bri woke up saying, “I want to sleep longer!”
We made it up Tuesday without any issues. However, once we pulled into the campground, Blake informed me that the wheel of the fuel trailer was about to come off. Newsflash: I’m good at some things but things like noticing wheels and the bounce of a bouncy trailer aren’t one of them. Anyway, grateful it didn’t come off. It was warm when we set the campers up and then the guys went to unload the combines. I threw supper together and Blake and I were able to watch fireworks with the girls. We did call it an earlier night with Blake and the other guys heading back to bring the remaining equipment up with a 6 am sendoff.
I was up early again on Wednesday, preparing sandwiches for the guys. I had dozed off after sending my sister a text at 7:07, only to be greeted with Addie screaming at 7:15. Once the kids were fed, it was park time. Since it was already getting hot out, we just ran over to Sidney to get our errands done before it was absolutely blazing. We picked up lunch and headed back to the camper for the day. The kids were excited when they saw our neighbors pull in. Grandpa and grandma were back with us late Wednesday evening and even though it was only a week apart, it gets to be long days for the kids when I’m so busy too.
Yesterday, they headed to cut our acres in Oshkosh. It is a haul up there so we packed sandwiches for their supper meal. They got rained on but Bruce was determined to wait it out and see if the sun would allow them to cut after a while. They sat for about an hour but then were able to finish cutting the wheat. They then had to road the combines back down to the table where they got another 100 acres done. A really good day with all that moving! We should finish tomorrow, provided we don’t pick up anything else. From the last we heard, Chadron would be ready around July 20 so I’m not sure what the plan will be until then. It’s also been warm so maybe it will ripen up more quickly than that too. The coop where we get fuel from in Chadron called Leigh to see if we would be coming. When she found it we were planning on it, she said we were one of the few this year. I’m really not sure how this is happening but I will say that I can take no credit for this but Bruce and Leigh and Blake have made the decision over the years to stick with our stops and our customers and in turn, our customers have stuck with us. Having these long established business and personal relationships have proven to be so beneficial for us in these tougher harvesting years.
Another thing we have going on is the Montana crop. Bruce talked with a friend up there who we cut for on and off and he asked to be on the list this year. So it sounds like we should have some acres to cut, provided it all doesn’t burn up with their high temps last week and the forecast ahead.
Some years, we have cut nearly half our whole summer run up there and though we cannot expect to have a year like that, we will all be so grateful for any acres we can cut there. When I was paying the parking in Tribune, I was chatting with Kathleen who has worked at the elevator for years. I mentioned how few trailers were parked this year. She said she hadn’t heard from some crews so she called them to see if they were coming and one guy told her he wasn’t and that he just got the call that his 14,000 acres in South Dakota were getting bailed up. If you are cutting 14,000 acres in one stop, you most likely have a lot of payments and I just feel bad for a lot of these crews.
If we are able to cut in Montana, it will likely be quite early for the peas so then the whole logistics of who’s going, who is staying, what is going, who is taking it, and so on that Bruce and Blake figure out on a weekly basis will begin. I’ve stopped trying to guess what they are going to do! Just tell me where I’m going, please.
Today, they are cutting away and have finished customer #1 and #2 and onto #3 currently. After we took lunch today, we ran to Sidney to stop at a little shop we like to browse, took the kids to see the geese at Cabela’s, did a dreaded Walmart run, and then picked up pizza for supper. Bri stayed out in the field after supper and hitched a ride in with Lloyd. You guys, I haven’t even mentioned yet how great our crew is this year. Two years in a row that we have knocked it out of the park and I’m so thankful for that. In general, it’s great to be around good humans but then throw three little kids in the mix and it is obviously that much more important to me.