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BLOG: Too much weather going on

30 January 2013 No Comment


Lately the weather has been, to put it politely, wonky. Blankets on, blankets off. Do I take the blankets off? Maybe, but oh wait there is a massive ice storm planned tonight followed by 60 degree temperatures. Mother Nature seems to be one confused lady.

With all of this lovely, befuddled weather comes mud and muck. Mucky mud. The kind of mud that sticks and adds 10 pounds of weight to your boots. Or better yet, the kind of mud that removes your boot as you make your way across the pasture with hay for the hungry, hungry horses. Have you ever tried to put a mud-leaden boot back on while judging how many strides until El Crazy Horse comes along to battle you for his precious hay? It’s insane to say the least.

Because we have mud and muck and mucky mud, we also have the need for mechanical assistance. When we first moved to The Farm we didn’t have a tractor, just a wheelbarrow and a variety of pitchforks. I figured that I had spent my early mucking years with just the basic equipment so it would be just fine for us to forgo the tractor. The upkeep, the fuel costs, the need to understand random tractor talk at the feed store, these all seemed mundane and unnecessary for the iconic farm image I had pictured.

My image quickly changed with the constant “tractor talks” between myself and Dad Villa.
“We need a tractor.”
“No, we don’t.”
“I can’t pull this stump out of the ground without a tractor!”
“You don’t need to pull the stump out!”
“I need a tractor with a bucket!”
“No, you don’t!”

These lovely “conversations” I thought would come to an end when we brought home our first “tractor.” The little Husqvarna lawn tractor was meant to mow pretty lines on a lawn, not pull a muck wagon day in and day out for two years. But the “little tractor that could” soon became the “little tractor that we had beat to death” and now needed to be put out of its misery. Sigh. Back to the “conversations.”

My husband, who would like to be known on this blog as Buck (you may roll your eyes at anytime), helped to bring our tractor dreams to fruition – well, my idea of tractor dreams, but Dad Villa’s are WAY different. Our first real tractor was a graduation present given to me about two years ago after I graduated with my master’s degree from Wilson College. I was surprised by the gift to say the least. During the after-graduation celebration, I thought our neighbor who has many, many tractors was coming up the lane (I may have a little tractor envy), but nope! Buck and Dad Villa had managed to hide (for a week!) a 1953 Ford Golden Jubilee tractor in the barn. Love it, love it. Did I mention I love it?

Of course, loving it meant learning how to drive it. Dad Villa taught Yogi and I how to drive the Jubilee, which included a first-hand what-not-to-do-on-the-tractor lesson. Yogi and I couldn’t figure out if we were going to die because Dad Villa purposely tried to get us to fall off of the back of the wagon while shouting words of tractor-driving wisdom, or if we would die from laughter. Funny, Dad Villa required us to wear closed-toe shoes to avoid foot injury but there wasn’t any mention of a helmet in case of a fatal wagon injury. I think what I enjoy more is seeing the family using the Jubilee to go on tractor rides to the pumpkin farm or to cut down our Christmas trees. Heck, even the dogs are used to riding in the wagon! And nothing says “I’m the cool kid on the farm,” more than rolling up to a pumpkin picking patch with your own tractor and wagon. Yeah, we’re that family.

Unfortunately, the Jubilee is more of a showpiece than the needed everyday workhorse. Back to the “conversations.” Buck was able to find a mid-size Ford diesel tractor with four-wheel drive and working hydraulics. A family friend mentioned the tractor to him and worked out a deal. Woo-hoo!

We use the smaller Ford to plow the lane and muck the fields everyday, which brings me back to mucky mud. Today, with the high temps, the fields have thawed to mucky mud consistency and they were in desperate need of a good scrap. Using a scraping blade and my weight on the top of the blade (please don’t try this at home kids), we managed to successfully push the mucky mud around in the fields. Did we accomplish anything? Maybe. But the weatherman is forecasting rain. Bring on the mucky mud and have a tractor handy.

And as for the “conversations” with Dad Villa? Just had one the other day.
“We need a bucket to scrape the fields.”
“No we don’t.”

Meg B. lives in Newburg, chronicling life on a small family farm with plenty of animals, fanatical family members, and loads of adventures.

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