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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How Hard Is It to Drive a Tractor? (or Move over Captain Kirk and Scotty)

I have added another job to my laundry list of "Things I Can Do."  Until this year, I haven't been out in the field during planting season, unless you count bringing food and running for parts or graphite! It is a lot of gadgets to have at the tips of your fingers, and it's a big tractor pulling two attachments, but with the right directions, it's not too difficult to drive a tractor.  Now I get to sit in this seat, kind of like the chair Captain Kirk sat in as he guided the USS Enterprise, and for a Trekkie, this is sooo cool!

Driving this tractor

After my trusty "Scotty" checked over the bearings and gave me a few rounds in the field to make sure I knew what to do, he deemed me ready to drive.  It does help that I have already driven other tractors, but each one is a bit newer or different from the others, and disking is different that pulling a grain auger wagon.

We are a minimal tilling operation, and this field had gone two years without any ground work.  We discovered some "varmint" damage along a couple tile lines.  Time to disrupt their habitat.  By varmints, I mean mice.  No endangered species were put at risk.  We flagged a few for Grandpa to check out.  This light turning of the soil will also help wet spots dry out.

HEY!  Welcome back Grandma and Grandpa!  Our little snow birds came home to roost last week :-) I've missed having someone to tease and engage in lively conversation! 

So this is my front view:

And this little screen tells me where I am going.  Now don't judge me because I am using the auto steer.  I'm out there driving the tractor so TG can haul grain, and I am pretty darned busy checking to make sure I am "lightly" disking the ground and looking for varmint holes to flag.  I think I did more swiveling in that chair than Captain Kirk fighting off Klingons or Chubby Checker doing his thing.

It's a shaky picture, but the whole goal was to keep that flag (the pinkish colored object just above the round red bar) in line with the whitish bar you see.  I could give you all the technical terms (maybe), but in short the white bar is the hydrolic cylinder stop that controls how much of the disk goes into the ground.  If you can't see it, then the disk is all the way in the ground and too deep for what TG was wanting.  You have to keep an eye on it because after a bit down the field, it all starts to settle, so there is a bit of switch flipping that goes on as I traveled up and down the field.  After a few rounds, I got into a rhythm, and every turn was easier.

Now, since TG was on the road in the semi, I really considered asking if I could have this Scot be my Scotty while he's on the road....

Oh.My.Gosh!  Don't tell TG, but this guy could beam me up any time he wants to!  (Hey, He swoons over Sandra Bullock so......)  Whew! I need all of you Outlander fans to talk to me about Sam and Claire!  I am on my second go round of the books.  I simply fell in love with this story, and I am thrilled to say that the series on Starz is very respectful of the story keeping all the great lines and a wee bit steamy moments true to Diana Gabaldon's books.  I was reading them in the combine last fall, and polished the last one off over the winter.  Sigh.....

So in conclusion, it's not too hard to drive a tractor IF you take it slow and pay attention.  Remember, every tractor is different, but most of the basics are similar.

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