wrapping up sentinel

Oh, children. You’re great but lately you’ve been getting into everything and I’m going a bit crazy. Camper life with these three has been a little intense the past few days. It’s been hot and windy so with limited energy expended outside, they want to get into it allllllll, especially the little guy. Add that in with a large dose of whining and I’m like, “how many more weeks of this?” I’m sure we will hit our groove at some point but right now, it has been trying. I currently have three kids sleeping AT THE SAME TIME though so onward and upward!

Since they got going Saturday afternoon, they’ve been cutting away pretty well. We had some glitches with the combines when we first started here but I haven’t heard much since. No news is typically good news so we are going to go with that until someone (ahem, Blake) informs me otherwise. When they were having trouble with them right away, you start wondering if we should have just traded the combines off instead of run them another year. It’s always a gamble in terms of cost, time, efficiency, etc. so hopefully the right decision was made. This is the third year running these machines. 

They will easily finish cutting here in Sentinel today and were able to talk to our farmers in Manter yesterday. The guy south of town said 10-14 days and the guy north of town said June 25th at the earliest. 

The forecast looks hot but typical so if they say 10-14 days, it’s probably going to be that long. Though it would be nice to not have such a long break, we are also very thankful there is a crop to cut. They had that unseasonable blizzard the end of April and they weren’t sure if it would be able to bounce back. The wheat had multiple inches of snow plus high winds so they’ll be cutting it right on the ground but cutting it nonetheless. 

Looking ahead, it sounds like we should have most of our acres in a Tribune. One field may have gotten diseased and he wasn’t sure what insurance would have us do there. I haven’t heard anything on western Nebraska but Montana is super dry. Blake talked to someone up there who told him that if it hangs on, the winter wheat could be three weeks ahead. That puts it at the second week of July. Sooo, June 21st to July 10ish, we would have to get South of Manter, North of Manter, Tribune, Chappell, and Chadron done, and moved to Circle, MT. Of course, that’s looking too far ahead because who knows what could happen between now and then but it just seems like the past few years have been similar on multiple places ripening atypically. We just try to get this place or that place done and hustle to the next. We are so fortunate that we have the capabilities to split up when we have to. It may not be as efficient to do so but not many crews have that option. 

The littlest trainee was taking it all in!
The kids had fun at the park in Cordell. Briar was doing monkey bars, like HOW ARE YOU THIS BIG ALREADY?!

Cute, cute, and cute. 
Of course, if we get split up, it makes for some wild days around here. And again, I know we are fortunate to have two wives along to help do the cooking and other errands normally. And, I’ve gotten way more brave (stupid?) on things I’m willing to do with the kids on my own. We made it through mass by ourselves yesterday, so the four of us can basically accomplish anything. Ha. But then last night at supper, the kids were playing in Lloyd’s truck and I got to thinking that I would really like a manny for 2018. You know, a male nanny. 

Lloyd has already secured his employment with us as a super trucker so he’s not available. But I need a male nanny so he could bunk with the hired men (I can’t handle another human in my camper) and on rain days, he could hang out with the guys. Dreaming big!

Then after supper last night, we stopped to share some dessert with Bill and the other workers at the elevator. The girls had so much fun and got to test some wheat while we were there. I know about test weight and dock and whatnot but I wasn’t sure how they did it so it was interesting to watch. 

It was good we stopped because every time we have driven by the elevator the past few days, Addie says, “Let’s stop and see my Bill Bill.” I used to HATE going to the elevator with my dad so it’s fun to see my girls have a completely different reaction. 

I am not kidding when I say this futon is by far the best camper purchase of my harvesting career. It has been a life saver, at least a nap and bedtime saver. Cal sleeps so hard when he goes out but man that guy puts up a fierce fight. I have tried rocking him but he starts pinching my neck and thinking it is the funniest thing ever and I have a different reaction. 

So that’s where we are at right now. I am not sure on the plans for the rest of the week but one stop down, five to go! Have a great week and be in touch!


going again

Yesterday was an unexpected rain day. It sprinkled in town but was pretty wet at the field once they got out there. The guys came back in for lunch and we headed up to the Red Barn. We try to take advantage of eating out when we can since there isn’t much opportunity at the next stop. 

After lunch, Briar headed to do errands with Bruce & Leigh. The little kids took a nap – as did I unintentionally. Addie was wound up so I said I would lay with her and I’m not sure who fell asleep first. Around 3:30, Blake, Cal, Addie, and I went to go test the wheat. Addie had spilled on her shirt during lunch so I was put a new one on her. Once she realized she and Cal were matching, she said, “Oh my dosh, this is the cutest thing I have evah seen.”

It tested at 16% so it was a no go. However, they were trying to disk the field the combines were parked in so Blake did some machinery shuffling so it was all out of the way. In the meantime, the kids and I “played” in the combine. Addie was given strict instruction to not touch the buttons. Challenge!

Miss Priss was crying about something so I told her I was going to take her picture so I could show everyone. She stopped, I took this one, and then it started back up when I put my phone away. 

I made some pull apart caramel rolls last night for this morning. We don’t typically do breakfast because we usually start making lunch shortly after nine. For one, counter space. Things just take longer to come together when you have to do certain things in shifts. Two, it seems like food needs to cook longer in the little ovens. Three, it is preferable to have the preliminary dishes done prior to leaving for lunch. Four, we load the car around 11:25. Briar was excited to go round up the guys for a treat this morning though. A little blonde gal needed to tag along too. 

We had lunch in today too and then the guys headed out afterward. Once out, they were not able to go right away but got started for the day around 2:30. Since we haven’t cut since my last post, starting today, we were around 900 acres left with a lot of moves. 

The forecast looks favorable to finish up. As of this past week, Manter (our next stop) would be ready in about ten days. So a week off from now should work out well. Typically, it seems like we get there and it’s go time so it will be quite a change if it isn’t a mad rush to get going!

I am trying to decide if I am going to try to get the kids to Oklahoma City. We have had rain days but not “three inches, won’t go for a couple days” rain days so it’s hard to leave. My biggest reason to go to OKC is for the zoo. My kids are zoo lovers and since we go to the OKC zoo every year, Briar remembers feeding the giraffes there, Ellie in particular. This spring it was brought up about going to the OKC zoo and I had said, “Oh yeah, we’ll go to the Oklahoma City zoo,” because we always do. Sooo, it hasn’t been brought up yet but it’s also not something I want to have to deal with meltdowns about for the next twelve months before we get back here in 2018. However, I did take them to the Omaha Zoo in April (and that thing is CRAZY) so maybe they got their big zoo fix for the year. Plus, I know Blake would be happy to do an Omaha Zoo trip with us sometime this fall/winter. How will I ever make a decision on such an important matter?! I’m also rolling my eyes at myself, so just know you aren’t the only one. 

Well, the kiddos have woken up from their naps and I should pick up my camper for the 16th time today. Then off to supper, dishes, walk/park, baths, books, snacks, VITAMINS (because if we don’t, oh my gosh), brush teeth, bedtime, make coffee, pickup for the 17th time, try to go to bed but then Blake will get home, stay up too late, and wake up for a new day when the kids start calling around 6:45 tomorrow. It’s clockwork. Enjoy your weekend!

a crew with the flu

I’m guessing the title has given away the content of this post. As I said before, Cal threw up all over me about a week ago. Tuesday, I made pork chops for lunch. We took it out and all was well until after dishes were done. I just wasn’t feeling right. I got the kids down for a nap and laid down myself for a while. Then I got sick. Leigh took supper out and the kids and I laid low. Bedtime was a bit of a struggle to get the kids there but besides feeling weak and tired, I was feeling significantly better.

Blake got home and was fine. Then he woke up in the middle of the night and joined the party. One of the hired guys also got sick in the night and another one got sick Wednesday morning. I think we have had a couple different viruses that we have been passing around within our close quarters. Others have felt off but now a couple days out, hopefully no one else will fall victim. Onward!

Despite having small showers come through, we have been able to have some really good days. The wheat is averaging all over the board depending on field but we are getting down there on acres remaining here. When Blake came in last night, I was asking his estimate on time left here as I have to order a couple things and didn’t know if I should just wait until the next stop. He was rattling off field sizes that remained, I was computing in my head, so if he didn’t forget a field and I still remember how to add, we have just under 900 acres left. The fields remaining require quite a few moves but even with that, three days should be able to get it. We did have another shower come through last night but the sun is shining so they should be able to cut before too long.

The kids have had a bit of cabin fever this week. I was so so so good that first week getting them out in the morning and in the evening to help combat them going stir crazy but being more tired this week, I’ve got to get on a better schedule again. At night, they go WILD. It takes them a long time to wind down and then we get a later start to the day, just a bad cycle overall. However, I think we’ve done more park time this summer already than the whole 2016 summer. I clicked back a few posts to read one from last summer and you guys, it is almost like childbirth, like you know it’s bad but then you forget just how bad so you’re willing to go through it again. I knew last year was intense but I forgot just how intense, ha. This year, it seems like a do a lot more refereeing and bargaining but everyone is significantly more independent. 

Yesterday, the guys got showered on so came back in for lunch. Leigh and I were debating if we should just run to Elk City quick to pick up a few things. We decided to do a few errands minus a couple girls, who stayed back with their dad and papa. On the way home, we swapped Subway for children and were home at a decent time. It was still a busy evening with having to unload my car, put the groceries away, get the kids fed, I still had a few dishes from lunch, but enough was enough and I had to get the kids to the park to burn a little energy.

Once we got home, the kids got baths, we had to have a treat, and then bedtime. I have been putting Cal in the room first and then let him cry it out before the girls go in to sleep. This works well unless Cal decides to cry forever and he did just that last night. Before we left, I ordered a new futon to put in the living room and then we took out our 250 pound hide-a-bed. I actually don’t know the weight but it was so heavy and my back couldn’t handle moving it. Plus, the hide-a-bed was rarely used and when it was, it was a pain. The new futon has by far been my favorite camper purchase of the year. The girls like sleeping on it. It’s easy to put down, go back up, and has been a real game changer for getting the kids to sleep/nap in the camper without them making their way to our bed. Thank goodness because the girls are the worst when it comes to sharing a bed with them.

So it’s Friday morning and I need to get going on lunch. I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend. Be in touch!

sunday rain day

As I mentioned yesterday, we had a rain day. The kids, Blake, and I went to mass at Cordell in the morning. It’s a little parish but it’s funny how many people we recognize there year after year – and how many of them also recognize us. We always seem to hit up Pentecost Sunday and they have some form of red treat to pass out after mass. This year, it was cupcakes with frosting and strawberries. The kids were pretty happy walking back to our vehicle with a treat in hand.

We thought maybe the guys would go try it after lunch but instead, we got hit with another rain so everything was too wet. Briar insisted they needed to check the fields so Blake took her and Cal. If I am being honest, they mostly went because Cal cannot stay awake in the car and he really needed another nap.

Blake got back and Bruce stopped over to see if we wanted to take the guys out to Blair to eat. The whole crew headed down there to have supper and to get a break from being in the campers. There was a little area outside the restaurant that the kids were played in after we ate.The cheesiest cheeser we’ve got. These two are turning into pretty good buds. We finally were able to bother Bri to join the others but Cal was over it by that point. 

After supper, Blake, the kids, and I checked out Quartz Mountain State Park and Lake Altus on the way home. You can see the “mountains” from some of the fields we cut but I had never been down this far south before. Briar thought we should probably go back “tomorrow.”

The girls were a couple noise makers on the way home and so we decided to play the “who can be the quietest game.” Briar is finally getting the point of the game but Adeline just talks, mostly about nothing – or more rhyming. Overall, it significantly quieted the car. We have great travelers but it still gets wild in there.

When we made it back to Sentinel, we could tell it had rained while we were gone. Once we got everything in, I decided to go for a quick run. I was gone for about 15 minutes and was headed back toward the camper when it started sprinkling. Then it started coming down a little more and I decided I should probably run back, and then it started coming pouring. I was pretty soaked when I walked in and Addie who was waiting at the door to greet me asked, “mama, are you all wet?” Just a little bit.

So now with all the different showers, I am not sure what the plan this morning is going to be. Hopefully, something was missed and we can get cutting. I like a rain day here and there but after three, I start to get stir crazy and so does everyone else! Hope you have a great Monday!

one week in

Hello, Harvest 2017 is once again here. Per usual, May was a crazy month and by the end of it, I was pretty much just ready to get on the road versus continue to run around like a crazy person. In the chaos, I forgot a couple things but luckily, one of Blake’s sisters is going to help me out and get it mailed to me and then there is this thing called Amazon.

We weren’t sure if we would having to head down early this year because for a while it had been so darn hot here this spring. It cooled off and they started getting some big rains and storms. We were told it wouldn’t be until about the first of June before we would be able to get going. About a week before we took off, the guys were able to find a big group to move all the oversized loads down here on the first trip so having the three combines, tractor/grain cart, a grain trailer, and a camper in Oklahoma allowed for Blake to be the kids’ and my personal chauffeur on our trip down. We took off for Oklahoma Friday, May 26th. Even though we thought we would be a bit early, it is nice to have a bit of time to get organized, grab the things you forgot, maybe take a nap, and get prepared.

Having Blake drive us turned into being a huge relief as it is hard to travel ahead or behind without him in case something would happen. I have done it to a small extent, within 20-30 minutes of the crew, like let me drive ahead to the next town, take the baby out, hurry up and feed him/her and hurry up to change them and then hurry up to get them all buckled back in and hurry, hurry, hurry. Though we pretty much stayed with the crew, we did have to pull over in Grand Island to grab a wireless light that fell off a fuel trailer. We then had to pull over for a mandatory Cal break but caught back up with everyone in Russell, KS, where we had supper and parked for the night. They had ordered for us, we were there about five minutes, and then our food showed up. Eating out with three kids 4 years and younger, it was ideal.

This is my sixth year going and the first time I have repeated where we stay that first night. We dry camped Friday night in the Russell Livestock lot and Addie decided to show off her Houdini skills and kept escaping. There were some trucks coming in and out and it nearly gave me a heart attack. Luckily, she has been much better about not running off but it is still a full time job making sure she doesn’t wander from the allowed perimeters. That night staying in Russell, it was a little bit of a disaster trying to get these kids down. We finally accomplished that and then a big storm came in and woke the whole camper. The girls ended up with Blake in our bed, I rocked Cal and once he finally went down, we slept in Addie’s bed. We woke up with bodies and things strewn about but quickly packed up to get out of town before the next bout of rain came.

It was our intention to just go a ways out of the storm but since the kids were doing well, our vehicle just kept on trucking. We got ahead quite a ways and got the kids dressed, taken to the bathroom, gas filled up, and our meal was pretty much done before the rest of the crew met back up with us. The kids had a nice long break before the final 80 miles to Sentinel.

We made it in at a decent time Saturday and then had to get set up. Blake was busy with things most of the day and Saturday night, it was a bit of a disaster again trying to get all three kids to sleep in the same room. Sunday, the guys fueled up equipment and did those type of things. The guys went out and tried it Monday and it cut so they have gotten quite a bit done this past week.

And that’s where things get foggy. Harvest is so hard to keep track of days because you see the same people, you do the same things, and so it blends together but here are some things that happened, even if I do not remember when they happened. Cal and I got a touch of the flu. Bri had it two weeks before we left, Addie had it a week before we left, and Cal puked all over me one morning and we both didn’t feel well that day. The kids have gotten to go to the park this week about as much as they did all of Harvest 2016 because something about a newborn makes it hard to do anything except survive. I took the girls to the pool one evening, Briar stepped in a little dip between the cement and the grass and had a small wipeout. Then a night or two after that, she had a major wipeout on her scooter. Just a note, if you are riding full speed on a scooter, don’t turn around to say “huh?” until you slow down. Then two days after the scooter incident, she was running full speed ahead in her boots on gravel and had another wipeout. Her legs are starting to look a little rough. She has hardly had any accident so to have three in a week is pretty uncharacteristic and quite unlucky.

What else? The kids have been waking up pretty early (for them), which isn’t a bad thing. Sometime between 6 and 6:30, we have one of the girls come into the room to summon us. Cal is usually up by 7. They have been taking a nap almost daily and occasionally simultaneously, which is the real dream but well rested is helpful. They have also been going to bed decently and sleeping pretty well, which is obviously a huge relief. I won’t even bother to count how many times I have taken Cal’s pack-n-play down and set it up in my room and then down and back in the kids’ room but if they sleep, it is worth it.

I need to start having a week kids says because they are turning into some pretty well informed, or at least interestingly informed, short people. Also, Addie cannot help herself but to make everything rhyme. Awesome dawsome. Daddy waddy. Mommy dommy. It’s annoying but somehow her chipmunk voice makes it kind of cute.

On the harvesting front, they were able to cut Monday-Thursday. We got some rain on Friday, then yesterday, it was so humid and overcast, and then we got rain again last night/today. We probably have 1500 acres cut. We did have some issues with one of the combines earlier in the week but hopefully have the issues resolved now. There are a couple chances for rain this week but also going to be in the 90s toward the end of the week and windy so hopefully, we will have good going ahead.

I hope to be able to make regular updates this summer on what the Krumbach crew is up to. These past two harvests have been pretty busy and not that this summer won’t be lively as well but hopefully the kids and I can find a good flow to our days. Hope you’re all well.

Be in touch!


So I took some travel time to write a blog post, hit post, got an error, and can’t find the post anywhere. The good news I was just sitting there doing nothing but wanted to make sure my system didn’t have a glitch before I put forth more effort later on. (Also, I’m out of rhythm because I usually save draft and totally forgot.) 

let’s catch up

It goes without saying but it has been a pretty busy summer. I’ll read things about stay at home moms wanting to “break up the day” or “survive til five.” Nope, not here. I want the day to be long enough for once to get my to do list done. And as for the five thing, a lot of nights, Blake gets home around 10:30-11:00 so that would be pretty dangerous if I checked out six hours prior. 

It’s a season, a good season, but with meal making, diaper changing, car loading, dish washing, nap finagling, toddler negotiating, swim supervising, baby swooning, (kid) book reading, laundry folding, and if I feel like being honest, Instagram lurking as well as Olympic watching, midnight comes quickly. Every. Single. Night. 

So let’s catch up, finally. I think we were in Tribune last I checked in. Things went fairly well there. Blake noticed another rim cracking on the combine so welded that one morning and slowly made turns in the field to try to keep it from cracking any further. Goodyear decided their rims were not strong enough so began fabricated new rims (the tires and rims were a new line when we put these on when we bought the combines last year. Blake cracked a rim last fall harvest, Bruce cracked one in Manter, and then the one in Tribune was number three).

While in Tribune and truly on my own with the three short people, I started feeling a little more confident in my ability to take a baby, a toddler, and a preschooler places. We did a few grocery runs, went to the pool twice, and partied at the park a couple times. 

The first night at the pool, a girl around my age showed up with her son and her mom. And then a friend came. And then grandpa stopped by. She said she liked her one kid to four adult ratio much better than my one adult to three kid ratio. Haha. But they were the nicest and the grandma wanted Cal so I was able to just play with the girls. The day we left, Blake had to load the combines and do some organizing out at the field. I had to pay bills around town, get the camper in moving mode, and pick up lunch. After paying bills, I asked Briar if she would want to stay in the (obviousy running) car with the other kids and I would get the camper ready, and then we would go to the park. I was able to get the camper ready in around 10 minutes compared to hours and then we went to the park to wait for Blake’s call saying they were on their way in. When we got to the park, there were all these cars and kids there. In Tribune, they have a group of moms and kids that meet every other Wednesday called Learn and Play. They were super inviting and the kids had a lot of fun.

Meanwhile, Bruce and Leigh had buzzed past Tribune and had to get cutting in Chappell. The wheat looked phenomenal but must have had some disease as it had 80+ bushel straw and only 30 bushel yields. How disappointing for our farmers! The crop looked great, the price dropped, and then the yield wasn’t what you thought it would be and it is just a bummer. When we left Tribune, we made a pit stop in Chappell. Blake changed out his cracked rim and the girls got to spend some time with their grandma. The next morning, we made our way to Chadron.

We were going to skip Chadron and have friends cut it for us. The weather in Circle had dramatically cooled and our friends were having a hard time getting there. So Blake and I arrived Thursday, set up our camper and the bunk house, and off they went with two combines and two trucks to cut west of town and our friends cut east of town. Friday, my mom and sisters came for a visit and stayed the weekend. Blake finished up Saturday and the boys headed to Chappell to help move up the things from down there. Blake blew off equipment and loaded a combine and then that night, he was able to go out to eat with the rest of us. 

Sunday morning, my family left with more baggage than they arrived with. Briar and Adeline headed back with them to spend some time in South Dakota. A couple hours after they took off, Bruce, Leigh, and the crew showed up ready to move everything to Belle. The guys parked the loaded trucks up there and we got the campers set up in Sturgis for the next few days. While the guys were busy shuffling equipment between Chappell and Belle and Circle, Leigh and I did supply restocking for the time we had left in Montana and before we knew it, we were making the final move up to Circle on Wednesday, July 20.

I took Cal pal to the clinic in Glendive on July 22 for his two month well child checkup and shots. Per usual, he did great. Then that next Monday, Cal and I headed to Bismarck to meet my parents to pick up the other two. I have about the world’s best travelers and about 15 minutes out from Circle, Cal started throwing a fit but we persevered and made the trip without stopping. 

As soon as we got up to Circle, we were able to cut out the 900 acres of winter wheat right away and then started working on peas. From there, some red lentils, spring wheat, green lentils, durum, chick peas, and back to some spring wheat. Blake is impressed with cutting seven different crops in one location. They have really diversified their crops these past few years up here, even significantly since I’ve been coming. We used to do a few lentils and peas and we will see how the numbers work out but just doing some quick estimates in my head, I think it will be about 50/50 at our Montana stop this year for percentages of cutting wheat versus non wheat crops. 

It was a rush to get up here for the winter wheat but when we got here, a lot of the spring wheat was still grass green. Fortunately, we haven’t had hardly any days of sitting with all the different crops we have cut. It seems like we have been able to whittle away at some extra jobs and have been able to keep relatively busy. We haven’t had many huge days with moving from area to area but still feel so fortunate that we haven’t been just sitting waiting for spring wheat to ripen. It would have made for a long month. 

About three weeks ago, I asked Blake for an estimate of time left. He told me three weeks. A week went by and again, I asked how much time we had left. And again, he told me three weeks. This happens every year. But, as of a week ago, we are down to two weeks. And I think that’s what we would tell me again if I asked (but will not in attempt to be not the most annoying person in the camper – and I have some tough competition this year).

I always start getting a little anxious to finish up but driving in the other day, I decided it doesn’t really matter how long we are here. I literally have everything, and everyone, I need with me. Of course, I’m excited to see some of my other people like my parents, our six nieces and nephews and their parents, and our friends. I’m also excited for my bed, my closet (as lacking as it may be), my countertops, my walk in shower, and my washer and dryer. I don’t need those things but having been away from them for twelve weeks now, I know I will be appreciative to have them back. 

So now, we will wait. Depending on how quickly things finish ripening, and how quickly we can cut it, that will determine when we get home. It’s getting closer and another summer on the road will be in the books. 

Maybe I’ll check in again soon and maybe I’ll see you again next harvest. It’s a real cliffhanger. 😉 Take care!