Monday, June 6, 2011

Tractor Disaster! The big bang theory

My best friend is one of those girls who has balls…

I know this doesn’t sound very lady like but let me explain. When we were in High school we had to go do a practical training period of one week at another school, usually in the northern part of Holland where we wouldn't sit in a classroom but drive tractors, milk cows and do stuff “for real”. This training would be one week long and when we finished that week we would return to our own school and get new theoretical things to study.

And because we went to a High school especially for the Agricultural sector there were a LOT of boys and not so many girls…


Kamie was awesome driving the tractor, not like me as you can read in Tractor Disaster & Tractor Disaster, Driving in Circles, but really really good! Of course the boys thought they were better and so it would be amazing to see her jump on the tractor with tanker, put it in reverse and back it up 500 feet true an overhead door, with no more than a couple of inches to spare on each side of the tanker, into a barn… You should see the faces of those boys when she would do that… pure jealousy, pure lust (after all it where teenage boys) and pure and utter disbelieve that a GIRL was capable of doing such a thing with a tractor!

I just stood by and watched ‘my girl’ do her thing…

In high school we also had to go to a local farmer and spent one day a week for half a year on their farm. This was believed good for your education because you could practice the things that you had learned in class on that farm and ask the teacher or farmer questions that might arise.

I went to a dairy farmer… can you believe it… and I would help him milk in the morning, feed the cows, clean the (free stalls) beds and helped the farmer with whatever needed to be done that day. I was pretty determined to do it right and after a couple of weeks; the farmer asked me if I could come in the weekends too. I thought this was a good idea, learn more about dairy farming and make some money, so one day I could buy my own BMW (hehe…)!


On a beautiful spring day, after milking was done, the farmer asked me if I could drive a tractor. I told him “yes, I can…”. I also explained to him that I didn’t do so well on my final exam but that I had been doing some practicing and that every day that went by I felt more comfortable, not as comfortable as my best friend (i told him about the boys and her driving) but comfortable enough...

Don’t tell me I didn’t warn him…

Soooo, long story short, he put me on the tractor to spread the grass he was cutting. My tractor had a machine (rake) behind it which you normally would use to make nice little rows (dunes) of cut grass, but instead of me making nice little dunes I needed to spread the grass around, this is called 'raking'. Imagine that the grass he cuts is laying in a nice little neat row, but no air can get underneath that pile of grass, so I needed to drive over it and “spread” it over the entire field so a lot of air can dry the grass quicker. If the grass is dry enough, you take the same machine, but adjust it a bit and make nice little rows (dunes) again, so the farmer can bale it. Some people make little bales (normally for horses) or big bales (for cows) and feed this to their animals.

He had cut all the grass and I was just driving around in circles over the fields spreading grass, having a good time. I made sure that my tires were good and i wasn't bleeding… yeah…. And that I didn’t drive true any holes and stuff.

After lunch I headed back to “my field” and started up again. There were some posts in the field… normally this is not a problem, but I didn’t see the post until I was already past it… Which is no good…

I stopped the tractor immediately and to my amazement one of the rakes went already past the post and the second rake was right after that. So you had rake, post, rake.

My blond and healthy farmers instinct said, “Ok, just put the tractor in reverse and the rakes will go backwards and just roll out of that post again. My theory: roll in, you can roll out again… right???


Well, in theory it should have worked, except I forgot the PTO… a PTO is that thing that goes round and round which makes the actual rake do what it’s supposed to do. And you should NEVER put a tractor with a rake behind it in REVERSE…

There was a HUGE BANG!!! No not a little bang, or crack, NO A BANG that you can hear 5 miles away and the PTO, the tractor and the rake stopped and things were FLYING!!! And really, all the blood that was running true my body just stopped running… “OH, OH, OH…. What have I DONE???"  While I was recuperating, the farmer, who lived half a mile from where I was raking, came running up to me! Yes, Dejavu all over again…. PTO broke, rake broke, some wheels inside the rake broke.... disaster all over...

Important lesson to be learned here; NEVER EVER EVER put your tractor in reverse when your PTO is still on….

I was allowed to come back to the farm the next week. My school was called and their insurance was not happy with me… I brought the farmer a homemade pie…



...

35 comments:

Julia said...

I sure admire you determination. You are teaching me something about never put a tractor in reverse if the PTO is on. I never learned to drive a farm tractor because if I learn, they will make me work harder. lol...

Hugs. JB

Shellsea said...

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-Shellsea

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LindaG said...

Wow.

Thanks for that tip. Good to remember. :)

Sharon said...

No worries here, wouldn't catch me on an expensive piece of equipment - now that you have told us about your incidents! :-) I worry enough about the lawn mower!

Dreaming said...

OH, no..... as soon as you said 'reverse' I started to cringe!
That poor farmer!

I love that your school system worked to truly prepare kids for independent living doing something! Just look at how it helped you! You can tell us all kinds of amusing stories!

texwisgirl said...

oh, i think with your tractor track record, you should stay away from large machinery! :)

Buttons said...

This is so funny I can relate to this the first time I raked with our new double rake I hit a big rock in the rented hay field I just broke 8 tines( oh I should have said shiny new tines). MY Hero was not happy either but funny thing was I baked him a pie too. Seemed to work. LOL SO funny. B

Buttons said...

This is so funny I can relate to this the first time I raked with our new double rake I hit a big rock in the rented hay field I just broke 8 tines( oh I should have said shiny new tines). MY Hero was not happy either but funny thing was I baked him a pie too. Seemed to work. LOL SO funny. B

Pam said...

Terrific story.. I love the way you tell it, Leontien. I learned something new, which is good for my ole brain :)

hugs,
Pam

Larkrise garden girl said...

Leontien, You should be a teacher the way you explain things.The closest to a awful moment for me was I was sailing my dads sail boat and got too close to the shore and I ran it aground. I was so startled. The lucky thing was his boat had a retractable keel.So he was able to crank it up. The sail boat was bobbing sideways and the people on the shore were staring! I never liked to sail after that.

farmer said...

I always enjoy your posts.

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It's me said...

Wat een geweldig verhaal...hoe je het ook verteld...wat doe je voor werk ???...fijne gezellige week lieverd....xxx...

Sandra said...

still smiling, what a story. i do so wish they had this when i was in high school, since i really really hated high school and would have loved to drive that tractor. and of course i would never ever never put the tractor in reverse with whatever the PTO is. love the story

Clint said...

This is why I normally prefer a mule over a tractor. You don't have to worry about stuff like this. Of course, you might step in something, but it washes right off.

Dianna said...

I've never driven a tractor - used to ride on one years ago. Interesting story! Loved reading this - looking forward to catching up on some previous posts!

Debbie @ Swampbilly Ranch said...

You're so brave! I would be afraid to get on such an expensive piece of equipment.

Anonymous said...

Great post!

bon bon said...

i hope tractor disasters come in threes, so that you have all these trials behind you. at least he allowed you to come back! :o)

Joey said...

Girl, I started to giggle the moment you hopped on that tractor. I KNEW something was coming.

My Daddy told me that if I EVER got a scratch on one of his tractors I was gravy!

Little did he know, was that his friend helped me COVER up some big problems while he in another field.

I love this post, and I miss the farm. The worst part of it, is that I told my Daddy that I would NEVER, EVER marry a farmer...

and here I am, in the metroplex longing for cows and tractors.

Gotta love your life.

Joey

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Out on the prairie said...

I would have acted like i knew all the ropes also.great story to share.

Lana said...

Well thank you for sharing your lesson because I did NOT know this, and sooner or later I WILL be in a place where I need to know this bit of info. It is now stuck in my brain! One less lesson I won't have to learn the hard way! Hugs to you and forgiving farmers! ;-)

Alica said...

A home made pie works every time! :) Well, almost...

Gerreke said...

Lieve meid, ik heb je blog nog niet gelezen, maar ik wilde je zo graag even laten weten bedanken voor je lieve reacties op mijn blog!
Liefs,
Gerreke

Dawn said...

Hehehe...too funny! AT least you took him a pie;)

Chai Chai said...

What a great school program, look how well your remember the lessons to this day!

Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek said...

I'm going to file this away in my (blond) head in case I'm ever allowed to drive a tractor!

~ Janis said...

Great tractor story. You are lucky to have survived it.
Older Rakes and tedders are sometimes dangerous to back up.
Glad the angels have not come for you...
Stay safe.
Janis & the Herd
www.tailgait.blogspot.com

Unknown Mami said...

Oh no!!! You must have been mortified. Makes for a great story.

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