I got a little ahead of myself last time when I thought my harvesting days were over. But, now I think it is officially official. I thought it appropriate to share some funny things I’ve learned and a few snapshots I was able to take when I wasn’t busy operating heavy machinery.
1. Desperate times may call for desperate measures …. and corn shucks can come in very handy.
2. Interpreting sign language wasn’t part of the job description, but it was very important to understand the hand signals coming from the combine when I was without a radio.
– Hands shoulder width apart, palms facing down (some might interpret this slow down) meant stay where you are (also sometimes accompanied by both hands spread outward in a “he’s safe!” kind of motion)
– Index finger point in the direction of the truck (semi) meant take the load back and switch tractors.
– One hand, palm facing inward motioning quickly meant follow me.
– Index finger pointed upwards in a circling motion meant turn around and follow me.
– The universal ‘one hand across the neck’ meant STOP whatever you are doing.
3. That little knob on the steering wheel is BRILLIANT! At first, I thought it was more like a tumor on a normal steering wheel, but I quickly realized how useful it was for sharp turns. Sometimes, when Eeyore was working on a long row, I would practice (slowly and carefully) backing up so I could be prepared if the need ever arose (and it did!).
4. Some little kids (boys) don’t believe it’s possible for a girl to drive a tractor and will say, “You’re a girl, you can’t drive a tractor,” while he is riding in my tractor. Some girl tractor drivers might get defensive.
5. I never really shook off the nerves of driving such important, big, and expensive equipment. Eeyore said that was alright.
6. One time, I was driving with Partner and it was one of the loooooong days. I guess there isn’t a pre-requisite for my loopy stages, but this was one of those times. I told Eeyore a joke on the radio… and he didn’t hear. I said it again… and he didn’t hear. I said it a third time and THEN realized I was talking into the wrong side of the radio. There are only two sides.
7. I didn’t really ever step foot in the combine (which I’m glad for because there were LOTS of buttons and computers and chances for me to screw something up!). But, Eeyore did enlist my help to oil the chains. Every once in a while we would stop and I’d climb up and sit in his seat (where my feet wouldn’t touch the ground) and I’d push the only three buttons I knew – so he could oil the combine chains.
8. I’ve got to be honest, I think it takes a special kind of person to farm. It’s you, your machine, and the field … ALL day long. As Eeyore would say, I “have the gift of gab” so the time spent harvesting these rolling hills has been a bit of a stretch. Farmers can only take so much “gab” and it’s important to be sensitive to the limit. I had my journal and studies with me, but I had a limit too. One time, at AWANA, I was running around chasing kids and some parents were kind of looking at me like, “where in the world did you get that energy?” and I just explained, “I’ve been trapped in a tractor all day long!”
9. I learned a bit about farming and tiling and terraces and yields. Mostly, I can throw around terms that make a lot of sense to some people, but I tried to store away useful information (just in case my contribution to a commune someday is as a farmer). For example, these days you will see only one ear on a stalk and they are engineered that way because it allows the plant to focus on producing one very healthy ear of corn instead of splitting it between two. This also means the stalks are closer together.
10. There is nothing like an Iowa sunset.