Saturday, November 16, 2013

Day 11 - Watch out for the Girl in the Tractor

I'm not sure why I first agreed to learn how to drive a tractor.  I don't even recall when or where it was. I do remember Ted's forethought on this subject came years before it actually happened though.

We were engaged and I was living near O'Hare airport working in my first hotel job out of college.  My car was just about shot and it was time for a replacement.  Ted and I went car shopping and I fell in love with a cute little black Saturn, mainly for its power sunroof and 6-CD changer.  Ted thought it was a great car because it was a stick shift and was sure he could teach me how to drive it.  The wheels were turning in his head at this early date, he later fessed up.  If I can teach her how to drive a stick shift car, she will surely drive a tractor someday.  He helped me buy that cute little manual transmission Saturn, and drive it I did.  It wasn't pretty.  A word to the wise, don't attempt to learn how to drive a manual transmission in Chicago traffic.  Also toll booths really stink when your power window is broken (before the days of the IPASS).  I don't know how many times I killed the thing coming out of a toll booth.  After I tore up the first clutch in 6 months, I think Ted was reconsidering his brainy idea.

That car lasted about another year before it was time to trade it off.  His mission was accomplished though.  We had moved back to the farm by this point and I did finally have a decent understanding of how to not burn out a clutch, therefore becoming a viable candidate for the tractor seat.  

I do not claim this position full-time, but I don't mind helping out when needed.  Over the years, I've done my share of time as the auger cart driver.  Thank goodness we don't use the little wagons anymore, I need a BIG target like a semi-truck if you don't want a big pile of corn on the ground at every single field.  I've also been a part in the post harvest fieldwork from time to time.  The year I stayed at home with Amber, we spent many hours ripping fields together.  She was a good tractor buddy, and so was her Dora the Explorer movie.  I must have taken a break for a year or two because the next time I did field work, there was a handy dandy gadget on the steering wheel to help me steer straight.  What a concept for a girl who's fieldwork resembled more arcs and s's than straight lines!  Ted was giving me a refresher course with the girls in the cab.  I had to kick them all out when Samantha started telling me how I was doing it all wrong.  Age 7 and she knew how to run the auto-steer better than I did.

I found myself back in the cab of the tractor multiple times this year.  I'm happy to say I left behind no dents and only a few small piles of corn.  Today when Ted asked for help, Amber brought along her little white cat and we headed to the field together.  Now that I've learned how to run the auto-steer and move the seat forward so that I can reach the pedals, I can relax and enjoy my little farming partner.  I even let her drive every once in awhile.  The rain is coming, get 'r done.

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