How many nickie-new-guy-farm-folk does it take to unhook a tractor? My dad and I felt like numskulls trying to pry the stupid thing apart. I’d put the mower on twice, but I’d never had to take it off. I got the drive shaft off all right, but the two sides that swing on one arm - each on a pin - were ridiculous. And I did not want to call Duane again for more instructions. I’m sure I’m already discussed around the coffee pot in Lynden with chuckles and snickers. So we continued to pound with the sledgehammer. driving the tractor back and forth, trying any way we could think of to loosen the darn thing - while all the time my dad kept repeating, “This can not be the way you’re supposed to do it. This is insane.” Eventually we did get it off. I don’t know what he was complaining about. My entire life he’s “fixed” things by hitting them with a hammer – not always with positive results, but in this case it worked.
Fresh from our success we headed down to the pond. My father drove and I walked to get some steps in, as I’d had to stuff myself into my jeans these last few mornings. I guess the elastic waist on my coveralls hasn’t been doing me any favors, so I’ve been trying to wear my jeans. It seems I’ve been rewarding myself a little too well for a hard day’s work. Unfair that I have to work like a farmhand and still eat like a city girl.
The job started out much easier than I anticipated. Together we lifted one of Wally’s trees, hooked the cable around it in two places and off we went. My dad drove, and I walked back to the pasture to deposit our first load. Simple. My dad was smiling. “This is working better than I ever expected.” We went back for Tom’s next tree we were about to steal from our resident logger. I wondered what Wally would think when he woke up to find his trees missing. Would he go into a beaver rage? Would he be confused? Or was he watching us and plotting his revenge?
The second log we got from the woodpile. It required a bit more effort, but not too much, and, again with Irish’s help, we put it next to the first. Another log, another thousand steps for me. Was it my imagination or were my jeans fitting better already? The third log was where we hit a snag. Wally hadn’t severed the tree from the stump completely. Shoddy workmanship. So we’d have to use the chainsaw before we could get it. Seems simple enough.
(Anna in the pasture with flowers)
We got the chainsaw out and looked at it. Neither one of us had used this one before. We bought it last summer and either Tom or a workman used it. After much fidgeting and wiggling we figured out how to get the gas cap off. I looked in my file where I keep all the manuals, but it wasn’t there. We tried again. We pulled and pushed and toggled the switches, but not even a sputter. We downloaded a manual; we stared at it and finally we decided – like it or not, we were beat. My dad would take it back to Al’s where we bought it, and have them show him how to work the “farm boss”.
Not wanting to quit for the day since it was only 7:30PM and there were at least two more hours of light left, I threw my coveralls on over my jeans and drove to town in the truck. I love driving Daisy the farm truck. She's got a springy bench seat and windshield wipers that have their own personality. As I'm bouncing along I suddenly start talking like I'm on Hee Haw. I sing truck songs to myself.
I saw my neighbor Renata walking along, so I stopped. She told me there was a big community meeting tonight about releasing wild turkeys in the area. She thought that would go with our camp there perfectly. I told her it was something Tom had wanted and I drove on. No one had told me about the meeting. I guess I wasn't one of "them" yet.
I got to Lowes™ and started loading 4X4X8 treated posts onto a big cart. I needed more than I could probably fit in the back of the truck, but I'd get enough to get Tom started on the fence for the dogs. I was feeling mighty proud of myself when I dropped a post on my fingernail. Intense pain swept over my body and I had to think to breathe. Luckily, I'd gotten a "Beef Master" tomato plant that had cool moist soil from their garden center and I used it as my makeshift "ice".
After that, I let the nice eager guy with the gloves load the wood while I stood by chatting up another fella. "You building a fence?" he asked.
"Yep," I replied in truck talk. I glanced over. He had a white truck, too.
"I built a fence just a little while ago. Real beauty."
"Gets expensive. Lot of trips." The idea is you don't want to talk too much - no extra chitchat.
"Yep. Never can get everything the first time." Long pause. "You grow up in Deming?" Whooo hoo.
As I drove home, I called Tom. "I've got wood and cement in the back of my truck as I'm driving along Mt. Baker Highway."
"Oooh. Are you wearing your coveralls?"