There's a job for just about everybody when wheat harvest gets rolling at the Lange farm in southern Kansas.
"We have 19 grandkids and just about everybody is out here at some point," said Sandy Lange, who was manning the grain cart and driving trucks to the elevator over the weekend.
Sandy and her husband, Royce, had harvest help from sons Ed and Clint and son-in-law Nick May as three combines rolled through their ripe and waving fields. Grandson Ethan, was helping Sandy with grain handling, while Evan played next to the truck with a toy Caterpillar excavator.
"Usually, the back of the pick-up is full of John Deere toys," Sandy laughed. "I think they are all out somewhere."
Three more grandkids were occupying the buddy seats in combines, she said.
Harvest looking good for Sedgwick and Sumner counties
Harvest was going well for the Lange family, she said, and for most of their neighbors in Sedgwick and Sumner Counties.
"We got really lucky. The wheat wasn't far enough along for the freeze to get the flag leaf and we had some recovery time when the weather really cooperated. And it seemed like when we really needed it, we'd get a shower."
Farmers in the western part of the state have not been so lucky. Drought and freeze decimated thousands of acres of wheat and continued dry weather has meant most farmers have limited chances for harvesting fall crops as well.
"One of my sons travels regularly out toward Liberal for his job," Sandy said. "He said it just breaks your heart to see what those people are going through. The drought is just as bad this year out there as it was last year and the year before. They are really suffering."
With hot, dry and windy weather in the forecast for all of this week, the Kansas wheat harvest is expected to move quickly through the state. Most wheat from the southern border to the central part of the state is ripe.