This was first posted February 21, 2010.
Every morning, most people commute to work…Work being at a desk…sitting…pushing paper…or computer keys…Every morning, Vernon walks out the door (usually at 7 am) and is on the job. Occasionally, I help, so now you get to come along and share in our work!First, we feed the cattle.You need a tractor and hay… and oddly enough, we have both!
The tractor is a Ford/New Holland… NOT John Deere and NOT John Deere green, either!
The hay is placed on the hay trailer… Boomer stays aboard… staying out of the way. The trailers have been around forever… we even have one with “skis” when the snow gets really deep… which it hasn’t for a long time or we scrape it off with the tractor… I remember it a bit 30 years ago, when we still fed with the team of horses!
Hook up the tractor to the trailer with a simple pin…
Hop aboard with the dogs… “hop” being a descriptive term, not necessarily the action I actually *used* to get on the trailer. Here’s where you break out your pocket knife and cut the four strings off of every bale. Forgot to take pictures. Duh. Pull the strings off of each bale to add to the huge mountain of twine we have built up. <Someone figure out a way to recycle those things… PLEASE!>
Here’s where Vernon and I exchange places again. Pitching big bales takes upper body strength, and I have none. I can do it, but it takes much longer as I pitch less at a time! It’s easier if he pitches and I drive. Tractors are just like a car with a *few* extras. The red lever on the left is Forward, Neutral, Reverse. Clutch pedal on the left… Two brakes, one for each big back tire (where you can make TIGHT turns using them – not recommended while pulling a trailer)… and a little gas pedal on the right if you need a smidge more oooomph. <Sorry I didn’t quite get them in the photo>
The joystick on the left runs the head… the thing that loads the bales… The orange knob is used the most to change gears… The bunny (faster) and turtle (slower) have been rubbed off. You can see I’m in Forward (F) and going B2 – which is slow. Slow is good when feeding. Slow means you can avoid running over cows and especially little stupid newborn calves. Definitely not recommended.
Oh, and this stuff. Forget it. You’re not to that level yet.
You’re off! Uh… Miss that cow and that power pole, though.
And keep an eye on that guy in the mirror. Guys do not like to be bounced hard or tipped sideways or have you hit the brakes. And if they start waving at you, you better notice them… they want you to stop for some reason… and traveling an extra hundred yards means the cab of your tractor is gonna get tapped by the pitchfork and an irritated feeder man is gonna frown at you! Not that I would know that by experience or anything…
Repeat as needed for the next three hours or so… then you can take a break. Have a Pepsi and a cookie if the cookie fairy has left any. Then you are free to… go repair electric fence, or fix the tractor, or spread some fresh bedding, and check the heifers every hour or so, and if worst comes to worst… there’s always paperwork!Find me here!