Tuesday 19 June 2012

Borrowing the Tractor

 Local old boy and neighbour, John Deere Bob is becoming a firm friend and frequent visitor. He arrives at random times, chugging gently up the drive in his tractor, giving everyone a nice excuse to stop working, settles himself into "his" chair, accepts tea and sometimes a fig roll or two. He always protests that he can't eat that, or cake, because he's diabetic but Mum will charm him up and he usual gets persuaded to have one. Mum thinks he's very handsome.
He's a twinkly eyed old fella with a lovely sense of humour. He and his family have lived in this village for ever and he has a wealth of knowledge of all things local as well a sound knowledge of Irish history and old politics so he enjoys a good spar with Mum, who is also well versed in such things. Dad has been accepting loads of calf manure from his calf house, nipping down there to shovel muck into the box on the back of his tractor, while Bob did the tractor driving. They'd cleared Bob's barn and had started on a calf house belonging to Farmer McG (with his blessing).
 It was a nice surprise then, when on Saturday, out of nowhere, Bob showed up and suggested that Dad carry on with McG's calf house on his own on Monday while Bob was in Galway for medical attention, and Dad might borrow the tractor for the day to do this. Dad was delighted. He's driven a couple of Massey Fergusons in student jobs 35 years ago but has not sat in a tractor since, and never a John Deere. John Deere's were always seen as expensive, Rolls Royce style tractors - very posh, although we suspect that maybe JD have expanded the range downwards, and Bob's one may not be THAT exclusive!
Dad asked for a supervised practice session to re-acquaint with the works - starting has to be in neutral, stopping is with a "strangler", the three point linkage and hydraulics and the fancy gear box with its 'road' and 'work' ratios.

So, Monday came and Dad was up nice and early, walking down to McG's to find the tractor. The fun began. Dad shoveled 3 and a half loads out of the calf house in the morning. You can see the size of the box on the back of the tractor in my 5th picture. On the final load, he took his flat UK-style shovel down there so that he could give the calf house floor a really good scrape and clean, the way that Farmer McG might be suitably impressed and invite him back next year!

Now we have 6 or 7 neat piles of calf manure sitting in a row along the allotment waiting to be spread as each crop finishes, from which we can also borrow to fill raised beds as we complete them.

We love John Deere Bob!

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