Farm Horizons, September 1997

Tales of tractor terror

By ANDREA VARGO

The worst thing I ever heard was the scraping sound of the bucket on the gravel as the tractor followed me down the driveway.

I turned to look - there was no way I could safely stop it.

As my life passed before my eyes, I frantically tried to open the door on the new pole barn. I hoped the tractor would run harmlessly into some barrels of sawdust in the barn. I was too late. The tractor came to a halt with the bucket part way through the metal on the door.

Could I blame someone else? Nope! All three boys stood and watched the whole thing.

Someone said, "Boy, are you in trouble, Mom."

Marty, the mechanical one, said, "Don't suppose you thought to set the brake?"

What brake? I stopped and turned it off. It should stay put!

I still don't set the brakes, because I never remember to unset them and drive around the field with this foul smell drifting up from the wheels. Parking on a hill is something I don't do any more, though.

Well, that was my first tractor experience. I avoided the machinery thing for years. I had three boys!

Even the weed whip held hidden terrors for me. I could just see me removing the legs from an inquisitive kitten.

Three years ago, when we moved to the farm out by Wright Co. Rd. 35, I had to help out. The boys were grown and gone, and Ron couldn't do everything by himself.

I was introduced to "Alice," my Allis Chalmers tractor. This is a neat little tractor that fits me just right.

She handles well, has new brakes, (remember the foul smell from the wheels), but she needs a new seat.

My first experience with her was not her fault; it was Ron's. I was learning to rake hay. That wasn't hard, and I am really getting good, now.

But, this field has a lot of big hills, and I was terrified of tipping over. Also, I figured if the tractor went down the hill too fast, I was baling off, and Ron could fish it out of the river, if he wanted it back.

As the minutes went by, and I felt more comfortable with the whole situation, I got to thinking, "This is kind of fun!" Until I got finished, that is.

Can you picture this? I turned the key off, and nothing happened. I didn't start it in the first place and now I couldn't turn it off.

"What am I supposed to do?" I thought. Ron is somewhere in another field, and I can't turn off the tractor.

I drove back to the house, managed to turn around, (Wow! I can back this thing!), and drove around until I found Ron. I had no hope of running out of gas; it had a full tank.

Now, he tells me what you knew all along. It is a diesel, and you have to cut off the fuel supply before it will stop. Thanks, Ron.

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