Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Our First Tractor

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After much deliberation, Pappa Bear and I have decided we needed a tractor. We can’t always be hiring Bobcats to move poop and weed piles, or hiring somebody to harrow or brush mow our little acreage, at this place or the next one. Alas, tractors are pretty expensive, even used. So we settled on this multi-purpose tool – a 300cc Honda ATV 4x4, 2000 model.

My Tractor The young fellow who delivered this afternoon (Josh, who looked to be no older than C-baby) drove a new looking big white pickup truck pulling a very long trailer, with only our little bitty ATV on it. For a minute I wished we had purchased the big red Arctic Cat 650 behind me in the picture above. For a minute I wished we had a big pickup truck and a long trailer. But I got over that when Josh drove our machine off the trailer and into my driveway. He was handing over the paperwork and keys, and I was smiling like a Cheshire cat, nearly giddy at our first major farm purchase other than Brigid, when he asked if I wanted to drive it before he left. Um… no? I’ve never driven an ATV before. Josh assured me it was very easy, he’d explain it all to me. I still didn’t really want to, but I didn’t want to lose face in front of a kid half my age, either. Besides, if I can move 480 cubic feet of manure all by myself, I should be able to move an ATV from one end of the driveway to the other. So I agreed, with some trepidation. Josh started explaining everything – “Push the shifter down for Neutral. Push in the red button and pull back the lever to put it into reverse. You will pull up with your foot to shift up into each gear – there are five gears.” Easy for you to say there Josh – you’ve probably been riding one of these since before you could walk. We managed to get it into reverse (and by “we” I mean Josh) and I backed very very slowly up the driveway. Then he showed me again how to shift it into gear. I was really confused between the handbrakes, foot brake, and shifter, but somehow I managed to drive it forward around and up the other side of the driveway without running into anything, like his very large pickup and trailer filling my driveway. Once again we practiced ‘reverse’ and I backed it up to the garage. That was about all of the lesson I could handle at this point, and I asked him how to turn it off.

To his credit, he was exceedingly polite the entire time. I didn’t once catch him snickering at my driving inadequacies. Once again he reassured me if we had any questions or problems help was only a phone call away. Then he left. I thought about firing it up again, before I forgot everything, but I had a pressing phone call to make for work, so I left it until this evening, when I got out there and tried it again. It took a few tries to get it started, but then I got it going and into gear and drove it into the pasture, over the manure and hay piles, and around the front where it's just dried mud and manure. I even shifted into first gear! I drove it back to the garage (without having to put it into reverse) and chalked up another new life (and farm) experience.

So now we have our first farm equipment. I can't wait to check out the farm implement auctions around here. Anyone got an ATV-sized snowplow blade, brush mower and harrow they’d like to sell me? Or possibly a manure spreader, aerator or seeder? Happy Trails –

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