Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 17th Installment

couple of feet (sort of like a rearing horse), and I would be going along on the tractor's rear wheels and the rake wheels. Of course, with the front wheels a couple of feet in the air there was no way to steer. So, to stay on course, I would have to steer the tractor with the brake pedals which on a tractor could be operated separately. I would tap one or the other to guide the tractor sort of like a bulldozer steers by braking one or the other track. This is scary fun to be clipping down the road with only the brakes to steer. Of course, when you hit both brakes at the same time the front wheels would come down and usually stay down a while. That was the fun part; the hard part was raking in the right direction. There was a certain way to open a field going one way around, then back the other way around to leave a space for the baler to avoid running over the windrow. To make it more difficult I always had to rake in the direction the hay had fallen (into the leaves) because if I raked against the stems the rake would miss some of the hay. This was a mistake you only make once on our farm! I shutter to remember.

Grain was done and in the granary, and spud harvest was coming up in late September and October, usually during the baseball world series. We hauled the hay in a somewhat different way than most farmers. A couple years earlier Russ and I had helped Vernon bolt together a slip.

       “Lay out the four 16 foot 2 x 12 planks,” Vern instructed. I could pick one up but Russ struggled with his.

       “Wimp.” I said.

       “Am not!”

       “Are to!”

       “Quit your bickering and lay out the planks; two of them side by side, leave a four inch gap in the middle and then lay the other two,” Vern commanded. We quickly did as we were told. He put two short four–foot planks across one end, and we nailed them down with about a gazillion nails.

       “Ok, turn it over,” he said.
       We gave it a Herculean try and about busted a gut to move it a few inches. “We can't!’ I admitted.

       “I thought not,” he sounded amused. Vern picked up the edge and hoisted it up in a swift clean jerk. We jumped in to help but it wasn't necessary, the deed was done. Vernon was a powerful man. It was rumored that he once threw a hundred pound sack of potatoes over a loaded spud truck. I got my body type from Vernon, but I hoped not his looks. Russ got his lanky frame and looks from Edith; oh, and blue flannel shirts. The rest of us kids always said “Edith liked Russ best!” This would always get a rise out of her.

500 more words tomorrow

Related Articles


Post a Comment


Powered by Blogger.