Friday, September 16, 2011

Big Iron

This week was the annual Big Iron Farm Show in Fargo (technically West Fargo).  In my previous life, to say that I was attending an agricultural show, someone would have had to been pulling my leg.


But I am living on a farm now, and going to Big Iron is just what farmers do.  That, and Charlie LOVES to look at tractors, so we knew that he would really enjoy it after experiencing his reaction at the County Fair.

Truthfully, I was more than a little excited.  Not just for Big Iron, but because I would be returning to civilization a place with more than one stop light.

I could tell when we arrived at Big Iron because there was a big banner saying that only pick-ups were allowed to enter and any sissy cars better just keep on moving down the road (similar to what you would find entering a parking ramp, but the opposite requirements).


Okay, not really, but I think that is the most pick-ups that I have ever seen in one parking lot.  We didn’t drive a pick-up, and I could hear the other attendees mocking us.  The only reason they let us in is because our car had the badge of country life honor – enough dirt and dust caked on from top to tires that it is obvious we live on gravel.

Just kidding…there is no one manning the parking lot or entrance.  They figure farmers are logical enough to figure it out.  This would never happen in the city.

Travis had already been to Big Iron the day before to scope the place out for us actually get something accomplished.  His dad had to work at a booth for his other job (the not-farming one…not to be confused with what some city people might mistakenly call a full-time or “real” job), so they rode up together.

On the day Travis, I, and Charlie went, Levi stayed at home with Grandma (Travis’s mom).  We figured it might be too much for a 7-month-old, or too much for us to handle a toddler and baby.

After parking the sissy-but-gravel-stained-car, we bundled up with our jackets, mittens, and hats (it is September in North Dakota after all) and headed in.


Charlie thoroughly enjoyed the complementary cookies and treats.


I think I remembered to brush his teeth that night…

After we had a little snack, we were ready for the tractors (and combines…whatever you want to generalize them as, thank you Charlie).


Are there ever tractors at Big Iron!  Every manufacturer seemed to have a show area.  There were more than I even knew of (surprise, surprise) and I have been studying.

(Please note that it is not snowing indoors in some of the photos.  The dust from the wood chips/saw dust made good picture quality impossible.)


John Deere.





Case.

(Sorry, picture missing.  This was not intentional. We are not brand biased, it was just the last ones that we looked at.  That and it was really, really windy.)


New Holland...dust alert.



Caterpillar, or “Cat” for short.


Also known as “Kitty tractor” in Charlie-speak.



Massey Ferguson.



Gleaner.



The list goes on and on…and Charlie would have sat in every one had we let him.

And for those that are stuck on technicalities, please be aware that I now know that Massey Ferguson and Gleaner are the same company – one name is tractors and the other is combines, but they are under the same parent company, AGCO.

Same with Case and New Holland, same parent company.

My "ag" knowledge is shocking, I know.  (Crickets chirping.)

After sitting in a bunch of these large pieces of machinery, I am beginning to wonder if I will ever be able to really drive one – in the field.  I mean, seriously, look at these controls!


Where is the on/off button?

Oh, wait, I spotted it...I guess there is hope.

Charlie is already an expert.  Maybe he can help me…


However, I think that this is more my speed.


Yes, that is a lawn mower.  Mowing the lawn will be one of my “duties” on the farm someday.  My mother-in-law does it now.

But you know what?  I have never even mowed a lawn before, ever.  Not even with a push mower.  Growing up my dad would not let my sister or I mow the lawn because we had a really big hill and he said that it was dangerous.  That, and he was a control freak about the yard work.

So baby steps, right?


Charlie also got to sit on lots of four-wheelers.  Here he is on one just his size, but he still admitted that it was “too big a me.”


At the end of the day we were pretty tuckered out.  Charlie was amazingly well-behaved for a 2 ½ year old.  When we were hurrying through the Case booth Charlie spotted the toy tractors that were for sale.  He immediately pointed to the miniature version of one that Grandpa has and said, “I want dat!”


So you know what, I bought it.  I am not a huge impulse buyer, but this was well worth it.  I told him he couldn't open it until we got to the car, so this is how he sat in the stroller on the walk back.


He has played with it every moment since the package was opened.  Right along with his John Deere tractor and combine that one of my co-workers got him right before we moved – both of which are also just like Grandpa’s too.

Charlie fell asleep shortly after we were driving away.


I could have really used a snooze too, but this place was calling my name!


REUNITED!

Anyways, we had a great time and will definitely go to Big Iron again next year.  If not for the tractors, for the Target shopping that a trip to Fargo brings.


Farm Equipment “Expert”,
Dana

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