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Moving Target

Posted Sunday, November 22, 2009, at 10:25 AM

Doin' It The Hard Way!
Long time readers of The City Slickers likely recall that our neighbors have been an almost unbelievable help to us since we bought our little farm(stead). I'm sure they would counter that "it was nothing", but to us, it's been much more. From tractor spreading out 5 yards of road gravel that we had planned on spreading by hand, to climbing on our roof to help secure a new chimney and feeding our barn cats while we were gone, we couldn't ask for better folks to surround us.

I have offered to help any way I can, but my debt of thanks for help around the farm kept getting bigger and bigger. To make matters worse, though I was pretty sure that I was going to get the opportunity to help by running a grain cart during the corn harvest to help repay some of their kindness, family issues had us out of town when normally the harvest should be in full swing.

Yippie! Well, maybe not for my farming neighbors, but as far as I'm concerned, the fact that they have not finished their corn harvest has given me the opportunity to indeed help out at least to some extent. I got my first solo with a tractor, let alone a loaded grain cart, and to tell the truth, I had a great day! Unfortunately, I may not have been as much help as I'd like to think... let's face it, from zero experience to solo took just a bit of valuable time to educate me in the fine art of tractoring (my term).

First off, I have to say the the John Deere I was operating was about as plush a machine as I could imagine. Air conditioning, power everything, and surprisingly quiet inside the enclosed cab. The arm-rested seat and fully adjustable steering column made for a comfortable operator area, and the ride was surprisingly smooth. There was a radio that probably worked just great too, though I didn't turn it on to see. Cup holders I bet came standard.

What a hoot for this city slicker as I learned the fine art of low level formation flying. Well, formation driving would be the appropriate term really. Running through a field in a coordinated fashion allowing transfer of grain from combine to haul cart while in motion is really exciting for some reason to me. I've never actually been a moving target before, so this has been quite the experience! My love of machines got a good boost too, and being in the middle of the action just made it that much better.

The good news... I didn't wreck or break anything, though my very first solo pass with transfering my load into the semi trailer was a bit harrowing in my opinion. Too close for comfort would be my description. No harm no foul and close only counts in horseshoes and... well you get the idea. Sure glad I got the hang of it quickly!

I've been asked back to help out again, and knowing my neighbor, I'm guessing I'm at least a bit of help or I wouldn't be useful again. Now if I can just always remember to lower that danged auger!

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You are the sort of HONEST TO GAWD NEIGHBOR every farming community should get from the city.

Being part of a real farming or ranching community may well be the greatest blessing anyone can have.

Congratulations, you are now entitled to wear your John Deere cap with the bill tilted up and the High Plains sun on your face.

Just don't get so wrapped up in the controls of one rig that you try to operate another exactly the same.

Some of the old timers, or those who attend the antique tractor shows and examine closely will understand a Farmall "pro" getting on a Poppin' Johnny to pull a silage wagon forward and "hitting the clutch" real hard with the left foot.

Until we changed out that steel pipe wagon tongue, my Kansas uncle had the only wagon tongue in JayHawk Land with a perfect U-shape.

Never knew before that you can wrap a steel tongue around the left rear wheel of a JD, park the tractor right alongside the wagon with the tongue still attached -- and bring an entire silage harvest crew to their knees laughing.

-- Posted by HerndonHank on Mon, Nov 23, 2009, at 2:48 PM

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