Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tractor Operator

I've reached another milestone in my adaptation to country living as a farmwife. Yesterday, I learned how to drive a tractor.

I wasn't one of our newer (and fancier) tractors, but it was a good one to learn on.  We refer to it as "Old Magnum," because it is the older of the two Case International Magnum tractors that we own.

"Old Magnum"

"New Magnum"

We were expecting some rain last night (that didn't happen) and will continue throughout this week, so Travis needed help from someone to spread dry fertilizer on our remaining winter wheat field while he and his dad planted soybeans.

Enter the trainee.  My mother-in-law watched the boys and I went out into the field.

The tractor has been equipped with GPS auto-steering, so on top of learning just how to drive it I had to learn to operate that equipment and the hydraulics and PTO for the fertilizer spreader.

Just for reference, this is a picture of Travis driving the fertilizer spreader a month ago.  Remember that trip to Nebraska where Travis and I got stranded in Yankton, South Dakota, for an extra day due to a blizzard.  That was for a spreader that he sold the next day after we returned home.  This is the one that he decided to keep.

Yes, that is a reflection from my purse.
Who doesn't bring their purse to the field?!

The spreader distributes dry fertilizer (Urea) in a 50' spread by transferring it from the holding tank via conveyor belt and flinging it out on the wheel powered by the tractor PTO (power take-off).

After two rounds of driving through the field with me, Travis had me on my own the rest of the day.

The east side of the field was long straight runs where I primarily had to just turn at the ends.  However, the west side of the field was a lot of sloughs and mud, and pasture, to go around.  I am happy to say that I didn't get stuck once!

I even drove it on the highway and gravel to put it in the machine shed at home - all without hitting anything!  Thankfully there was really no traffic...

You should have seen the look of amazement on Charlie's face when I got home and told him what I had been up to (he had been napping when I left).  He was pretty impressed...and immediately asked for a tractor ride.

Maybe he'll consider me to be more than "just a house-worker" now.  Yes, my son tells me routinely, "Mom is just a house-worker."

Thanks for the encouragement buddy.

And now you all know that this house-worker is a certified tractor operator.


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