Saturday, November 3, 2018

The New Kid

This would be one of my recently published stories. I hope you enjoy it. I have moved my blog and changed my blog name. I have missed you all. You can click on this link and see what I have been up too if you like. Hugs B

There was a time when any farmer could find the help they needed, easily. You would put out a call, and there would be lots of takers. These days, with technology and less physical jobs out there, it is a bit more difficult. 

It is no secret that to get someone who wants to stand up in a sweltering hay mow, for hours, and pack square bales of hay, you are going to have to search long and hard. That is one reason why we bought a round baler. There are those who still like to work with square bales. Cheaper than a gym membership, with its cardio in a sauna combination it makes for a great workout.

Talk to the very few dairy farmers who are still left out there. Ask them how difficult it is to get someone to work in a milking barn. I am not talking about those new fancy automated barns. That may be any kids dream. Heck, I even want to see one of those work. No, I am talking about the barn with the milk machines that still need to be placed on the cow. Lifting, lugging, getting up and down and dealing with manure. A difficult job that has some strong, lingering aromas. I admire those farmers who are still holding out in this automated world. They labour long and hard and deserve great respect.

There was a time that we would hire family and friends to help with the hay. Also, we would hire for the always fun backbreaking work of rock picking in a worked-up field. I have to say that we always had very energetic and hard-working kids.

I remember one nephew who thought he could go right to the job at the top, instead of working from the ground up. Yes, I am talking about driving the tractor. There are not too many people who would not trade a job behind the tractor for the one on the tractor seat. This young man thought he should do that job because he was “the man” (yes, that still makes me laugh). He was naive, and honestly, it was a good try on his part.

Well, the others, who were standing with dirty faces, and rocks in their hands, which just happened to be all girls, stood and waited for my reply.
He was probably sorry that he had made such a statement when I jumped into why I drove the tractor, and he walked behind. I started with the fact that everyone must prove themselves in any job. Very few, start at the top of the ladder and work down. That was just the wrong direction to go in anything in life.

I told him about my own struggles to get to the tractor seat. It had taken me years to learn how to drive the tractor, and to accept the responsibilities that go with having control of something with so much power. I was once the new kid just like him. He understood. Well, he accepted my long story and went back to picking those rocks.

Those of you who follow my column know all about our tractors Big Red, Little Red, and Rake tractor. It is no secret that the farmers running this farm have now crept up in age and with that comes questionable abilities. I will not speak for my husband fondly known as My Hero, but I certainly have noticed that my abilities have changed. Aging farmers (at least this one), need to realize that they cannot do things the way they used to. You know, with all that snap, crackle and pop of those joints.

Years ago, I started to struggle with the job of hooking up machinery when it needed to be changed. An example of this would be switching from the rake to the baler, and then to a wagon. If you have ever lifted a PTO (power take off) shaft and tried to hook it up, you would understand the strength it takes and the maneuvering. There is also a special hitch on the tractor that needed to be taken off to hook up a wagon. This job eventually became something I could no longer do.

My Hero, who knew I struggled, and wanting to make it easier, eventually, had every piece of equipment we needed all hooked to its own tractor. This meant no switching. He is brilliant. Easier for me, and he would never admit it, easier for him.

This brings me to the point of this story. The new kid.

A few years ago, we bought a tractor without a loader, to handle those odd hauling jobs when every other tractor was tied up. Big Red was hooked to the disc bine. Little Red, the round baler. Rake Tractor, well, that is self-explanatory. Every tractor had its place and had proven it could handle the job it had been assigned.

The other day, the youngest tractor, which I now call The New Kid, with me behind the wheel, hauled a very wide, high and heavy load of round bales down the road. She handled it perfectly. She had indeed proven herself. She was very proud of herself, as she should be. She may now be ready for the stone picker.



  1. I have missed you.
    Congratulations. Yet another thing learned and another goal reached.
    Off to read your new blog now.

  2. Nice to see you again. I know nothing about hooking up machinery, but have noticed several things that aren't as easy to do around the house these days. Age is catching up with me too.

  3. Beautiful and well-written post, Button! Being a rural kid, I recall my first jobs during the late summer harvests. Then, after high school, I drove truck in the hop harvest for a few years. Vaguely recall working indoors for 10 years before I had to go outdoors again --never regretted it, retired as a laborer-gardener for the school district in 2009. Strangely, my kids didn't want to follow in my footsteps. Good thing too! Part of the human saga, our loving progress.

  4. What an interesting story that I enjoyed

  5. It is great to have you back! How I have missed your stories. The milking comment made me laugh. My sister and her husband used to work on his parents dairy. As they tried to slowly create their own way, they had to hire someone to take up weekend milking. They interviewed a teenage boy who demanded weekends off. He expected the hired man who had worked there for 6 years to take Friday's and weekends. Needless to say he was not hired. I hope you had a good hay season. Sounds like the operation is streamlined.

  6. A good story... I agree with what you say about getting help is not an easy job anymore. I'm frankly very tired of the hardship of running an old farm that is falling apart, little by little. Good help is hard to come by now a day. I'm getting ready to retire at the end of November even though we still haven't sold all our cattle.
    Hugs, Julia

  7. Hi Buttons! I have missed your blog! I am glad you surfaced in my feed this week.

  8. Even the tractors have to earn their place.


The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean more to me then I could ever express. Hug B

Please do not copy my work. If you like it let me know I am sure we can work something out. Copyright is in place.