Friday, December 02, 2011

Rush Hour

Two weeks ago, it was corn harvesting time; the fields were crawling with combines and the roads were full of tractors.  I had to slow down a couple times. I really like watching combines.  They just devour everything in front of them. Like a boss. They are frickin' HUGE.  They can't go down the road with the header attached.  A pickup truck has to pull it down the road on its own trailer.  It's all very impressive. I'm impressed and I'm not even a five year old boy!

That is actually a very small combine up there. The one we had when I was a kid was smaller.  It didn't even have a cab. Nobody uses a combine with no cab now.  Nobody has a tractor with a piddly little gas engine anymore. Nobody farms 50 acres anymore.  They're out doing a few hundred acres at a time and they're in that machine for like, 12 hours, and they want A/C and a stereo.  You would too. 

I don't even have A/C and a stereo in my truck.  

I should wipe the dust off the dash of my truck. 

 So last weekend, we got stuck following the honeywagon for a few miles. Now as much as I don't mind slowing down for farm activity, I gotta admit, being behind a manure spreader is naaaaasty.

BUT.  Look at this thing.  One side is on the gravel and it's still almost over the yellow line.  MAGNIFICENT MACHINE.  You better respect.  It's a s****y job but somebody's gotta do it. 

And if you're gonna have to do it, get it all into the biggest tank you can fit on wheels, and get it over with.

Eventually those of us in lowly cars get to pass the behemoth. That's something else you wanna just get it over with.  

I took this accidentally cool photo on the way past.  

Sense of scale: see that little silver mirror in the bottom left corner?  That's our VW.  Those tires are just about the height of the roof of our car.

This is not yer grandpa's farm equipment.

(Although maybe it is. Does your grandpa still farm?)

Farmers have a lot of pressure on them, more than ever.  Partly because people like me come along, who want to live in the country but don't have the time/ persistence/ knowledge or GUTS to actually farm, but we take up valuable quality land to put our hay-burners and other useless critters on. Not to mention, subdivisions.  So they have to produce more, with less land.  They gotta work. These guys have a job to do.  


They are not screwin' around here.

So I don't bitch when I have to wait a mile or so before I can get around them.

Anyways it's not so bad. That **** is fast.


Paul Tee said...

I live in the country, and often times in the season I'm stuck behind a machine that takes up all of the road, towering over me. Somewhere in the heights sits the driver in a cab, air-conditioned, fully stereod, with GPS and autopilot to put down a straight furrow, and heated/cooled cushioned seats. He moves along at a majestic pace, looking down the world, leaving me to eat his dust, stirred up by his giant tires.

But that's OK and I always wave as I somehow squeeze by: they are working the land, that is left over by the expansion of the subdivisions, a tide of which is coming north, threatening to engulf me. They are monster machines.

One winter a sudden snow fall buried us very deep, choking off our long driveway, trapping us. There was no way I was going to move that height of snow with my puny little Ford 2000. I was worried about how long I would be caught in this trap.

I got a call, from my son, just up the road, turning onto our driveway. He said there was something monstrously green on our lane chewing through the accumulation. What is it? I asked and what is it doing?

"It's God, and he is shooting the snow a half a mile into the air."

"What?" This I had to see. I struggled through thigh-high snow and looked into the valley that first went down and then steeply up to meet the road. At first I could see nothing, but a tornado of snow that was coming on with an angry roar. It took a while to make out the green John Deer behemoth of my neighbour, who still made a living farming. He had a snow cannon attached and it accelerated the snow into a high arch, the stream of it breaking branches and limbs of trees that lined my access lane.

He reached me, gave me a thumbs up, but had hell of a time turning around with his monster machine. Finally he went over land, through the fields and the fence line that separate us.

I was grateful: he accomplished in fifteen minutes what would have taken me two-three days with the Ford 2000.

A half hour later I got a call again from my son still up on the road. "Is God gone? I wouldn't want to meet him head on a single lane." I could give him the all clear.

Heidi the Hick said...

Paul I love that story!