Wednesday, January 9, 2008

"Tractors For Dummies"

The Bag Lady has decided she needs to get back on track with her blog posting. By that, she means it’s time to talk about ranching again.

As some of you know, she is a transplanted city girl, living on a cattle ranch, and doing most of the chores while her “Cowboy” works off the ranch. She has had some amusing experiences and some heart-breaking moments. The first time she drove a tractor was terrifying for her, but amusing for the audience.

The instructions went something like this:

The cowboy: Go down to fathers’ and bring the tractor here for me.
The Bag Lady: But I don’t know how to drive a tractor.
Him: It’s just like driving a car. Besides, the old man is there – he’ll show you how.

So she hopped into her little, low-slung car and away she went. Really, how hard could it be?

She arrived at the other place and climbed up into the tractor. Sat there and stared at the confusing array of dials and buttons and levers. There was a key, so she turned it. Nothing happened. (Damn, the battery must be dead...)

About this time, along came Father. A big, gruff, scary guy, who made no effort to hide his contempt for city girls. He climbed onto the step of the tractor.

The instructions went something like this:

Him: You need to move this lever into this position. Then turn the key.
(The tractor started with a roar.)

Him: This lever controls the speed .
(Must be why it's marked with a tortoise and a hare.)

Him: That lever controls the gears. Put it in high and 4, push up on this lever (he pushed it almost all the way to the hare), and let out the clutch. But wait until I get off. Oh, and don’t touch these levers.

The Bag Lady did as instructed and, with a lurch that almost unseated her, the tractor took off and fairly flew out the driveway and onto the highway. The tractor rocked along at a fair clip, the Bag Lady clinging to the steering wheel and trying not to hyperventilate. (Just like driving a car, huh? A big, HIGH car! -- the Bag Lady is afraid of heights!)

Fortunately, she didn’t have far to go along the highway before she could turn off onto the road leading to home, so was only a danger to the rest of the world for a very short time!

When she tore up the driveway into the ranch, the cowboy’s head jerked up and he appeared ready to run. She ground to a halt in a cloud of dust, mere inches from where he stood. He jumped up onto the step and did all that needed to be done to shut the tractor off. With shaking legs, she climbed off the tractor.

Him (trying not to laugh): Why didn’t you slow down coming around that corner?
Her: I couldn’t remember how…

In her terror, she had forgotten about the lever with the tortoise and the hare.
It was another two years before the Bag Lady attempted to drive the tractor again.


Hilary said...

A true hare-raising experience!

Leah J. Utas said...

Good one, dfBag Lady. And, umm, tractors are nothing like cars.

the Bag Lady said...

Hehehehe - guess they do that for those illiterate itinerant farmers...

the Bag Lady said...

dfLeah - that's so true! The front-end loader that I use now resembles a car more than the tractor did. It has a foot-feed for the gas, and an automatic transmission. The tractor was confusing for someone who had never driven one before, except for that time you and I played around on your dad's old tractor - remember?

Leah J. Utas said...

dfBag Lady - I don't recall it offhand. Is that the really old John Deere or did we try something with the Allis-Chalmer (it was orange) or whatever the red tractor was? Massey-Ferguson maybe?
The second JD we had was easy to operate, but then dad got one with two gear shifts. Sigh.
Hmm, as I think on it, I think we did try something with the orange one.
As I continue to think--bad, bad move-- should that be Allis-Chalmers? Dang. I'm going to have to look.

the Bag Lady said...

It was such a long time ago, the Bag Lady isn't sure what colour it was. She knows it didn't have a cab, nor did it have 2 gear-shifts. She does remember it was great fun for a couple of young teenagers!

P.O.M. said...

That is so fun. Another thing to cross off on your list of things to do...

By the way, my "big g" is a Garmin - it's a running GPS gadget thingy.

Reb said...

I think it was the orange one, I was there too!

Funny story Sis, did you at least slow down turning onto the hwy?

Hilary said...

And did you turn into a Shell station (for the tortoise, of course)?

the Bag Lady said...

Whew - just got back from doing my chores - had to go to the other place today to feed the horses. The frost was so pretty around here, I took my camera and spent quite awhile taking pictures.

p.o.m. - you have no idea of the "fun" involved in living on a ranch!! Your Big G might come in handy for those foggy days on the coast - it'll tell you where you are, right?
Reb - I think you're right, it was orange.
Hil - unfortunately, no Shell stations between here and the other place...

Emily said...

ohhhhhh, so funny! We have an industrial sized lawn mower that I was scared to death to learn how to "drive" (this is from the girl that can't even drive a stick shift.) Well the husband finally had enough and made me learn- a very frightening experience for sure! I can do ok now but i'm still not allowed to cut the grass or it will look like a crack head did it LOL!

the Bag Lady said...

Emily - good for you! The Bag Lady LOVES her ride-on lawn mower, even wishes it was a little bigger. It takes her over 3 hours to mow her lawn...