10/16/17 – Colby, Kansas

Happy fall!

Randi Beckley – Beckley Harvesting

Fall harvest is always more stressful than summer harvest, at least for me as a harvester’s wife. During summer, the kids and I tag along with Jake wherever he travels next, with very few obligations other than to provide supper for our small crew. During fall, however, things are much busier. I have to take kids to school and various other activities, have commitments at school and church, have family functions to attend, and I still have to cook for our crew, which expands from six or seven summer guys to nearly two dozen in the fall. Thankfully, my sister-in-law and I share cooking duties, so we each have two days of cooking and delivering meals, and then two days off.
Fall harvest also means less sleep for Jake, as he usually leaves the house around 7:30, and typically comes home around midnight. This fall in particular will mean less sleep for everyone, since our new baby is expected to arrive within the next couple weeks. Normally, this wouldn’t be too big of an issue, since we would be nearly finished with harvest anyways; this year, though, harvest is expected to stretch until almost Christmas.

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06/06/17 – Leedey, Oklahoma

Randi Beckley – Beckley Harvesting

I have to admit, the first couple weeks of harvest are always tough. Yes, we get to play with the kids a lot when Jake is home, but for those days he is in the fields testing wheat or working on equipment, it’s just me and three little hoodlums inside the trailer house, with walls that seem to get smaller the longer we stay inside. I’m sure a lot of you HarvestHERs feel the same way. When I’m at home in Kansas, I have lots of things to do to stay busy: volunteering at school, going to the store, visiting friends, working on house projects, taking kids to school and various activities, and spending time with extended family. But when we begin harvest, my only job is to cook for our guys, and the rest of the time, I’m on my own. To go from being busy every day and having multiple commitments, to suddenly being in a small trailer house in the middle of nowhere, can be a little isolating, at first. I try to use this time to cross books off my ever-expanding reading list and to find fun things to do with the kids. Still, it’s a big adjustment every year.

Jake and I have been making the most of our time together and are trying to give the kids some good memories of harvest. Jake has been coming to Leedey for harvest since he was a little boy, so he knows all the fun things in town, and, of course, all the best fishing ponds. Each kid got an evening alone with their dad to go fishing and each one came back beaming, with tales of fish as long as their arms. We’ve spent a lot of time fishing (and a lot of time picking off ticks).

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05/27/17 – Leedey, Oklahoma

Randi Beckley – Beckley Harvesting

This has been a strange year for us. Our Texas stop got cancelled due to drought, and our Oklahoma stop was delayed due to excessive rain and storms. Finally, at the end of May, we’ve arrived in Leedey, Oklahoma to begin our harvesting journey for 2017.

I won’t deny, it was nice having so much extra time to work on our house and complete our new basement, and it was nice to spend extra time with our families. But the harvest bug seems to creep into our blood, it seems, and we were all itching to head south by the time our farmer gave us the go-ahead.

The kids were extremely anxious to move into the trailer house! They packed all their favorite toys and books, stuffed animals, blankets, and coloring supplies, and then marked off the days on the calendar until our final moving day arrived. By the time we finally moved, their calendar had six or seven different “mooving day!” squares crossed out and rewritten. I don’t think they believed us when we told them that we were officially leaving on the 24th, until we locked the house and finally drove off with the fuel trailer tugging behind our pickup.

This is one of the first years I’ve had to tow something behind me on moving day, but thankfully it went smoothly, even when driving through Dodge City. I hate driving through Dodge City. Then again, is there anyone who enjoys driving through Dodge City? I don’t think so.

Anyways, the kids and I made it to our trailer house, and all is well. We had a couple of days before we have to go out to the fields, so we’ve been relaxing and enjoying being together as a family, and being away from the shop. We took the kids fishing for the first time and they all caught at least one fish! Michael’s fish was only about 4 inches long, but that didn’t damper his enthusiasm. We also took the kids to the city to do some grocery shopping and, of course, we had to stop for ice cream along the way. This evening, we had a cookout and campfire with all the hired men, with plenty of s’mores to go around.

We’ve certainly enjoyed these past few days of being together and relaxing before harvest officially begins, but it’s time to get to work. Tomorrow, Jake will take the crew out to Sentinel, Oklahoma to test a few fields, and I will begin cooking and delivering suppers to those fields. It’s time to begin a new year of harvesting, to make some new memories, to meet some new farmers, and (hopefully) make some more money.

As each year passes with alarming rapidity, I find myself more and more grateful to be able to take my whole family on harvest and be together. Our lifestyle may be different from most, and our house may be smaller than most, but we are together all year-long, and we are happy.