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Rockin' and Rollin' on the Ranch

Well we were, until it started raining. Then snowing. Then sleeting. Then some kind of weird rain fog that was like getting sprayed in the face with a misting bottle. But we are still smiling because this kind of soaking moisture will likely double our hay crop and do wonders for the pastures. And it means no one can drag me out and make me farm. 

This is a column I wrote a few years back, explaining why that's a good thing. Bonus points if you can spot baby Max the Cowdog in the first photo. 


Yep, it's that time of year again. The snow is mostly gone, the tractors and plows and seeders have been fired up. Commence farming.

I am not a farmer. I will, in fact, go to great lengths to avoid farming. If you could just go out, climb on the tractor and plant some stuff, it wouldn't be so bad. But no. The getting ready to go farming takes longer than the actual farming itself. Hook up this and fill that and oops, the hydraulic hose is leaking on the air seeder and darn that tire on the plow is low again and the battery is dead on the truck with the fertilizer in it so we have to dig out the jumper cables and by the time it's all finally geared up and headed out to the field I'm already fried.

Despite my best efforts, I do occasionally get tagged to help with things that involve farm equipment. Today, it was moving the rollers over to the far north hayfield. I am pleased to announce that for the third year running, my marriage has survived the process of hooking these things up. Why? Well, consider that there are three of them and each has a separate hitch, which means the process gets increasingly more complex as you add each piece and are trying to back up not just the tractor but first one, then two big steel rollers. And the jack on one of them is broken so it has to be lifted with the loader on another tractor, adding another level of difficulty. 

Hooking up any towing vehicle involves hand gestures. Pointing and waving, palms up and down and out. Most are easy to interpret. Forward. Back. Left. Right. Stop. Go. And, as my niece calls it, the tall finger wave. In case you weren't sure, when your wife gives you that one you probably shouldn't expect dinner on the table at the usual time. Or ever.

So today we went through the usual routine. Husband on ground, me in tractor. Hand gestures slightly more complex due to using the tractor bucket to lift the hitch into place. Finally, he gave me the thumbs up to indicate the hitch was in proper position. When it was pinned in place, he pointed back. I backed up. Then he pointed straight down, then waved a hand toward him. And I went, "Huh?" He did it again. I went, "HUH?" He walked over to the tractor and yelled up through the window.

"That means put it in Park and come down here!"

Of course. Why did I not guess? Next, we lined up the second roller. He backed the big tractor into place. I gestured for him to stop. He did, but when he put the tractor in Park it rolled forward a couple of inches. I waved that he needed to back up again. He did. Then he took both hands and made a circle and bounced them up and down like he was trying to smash a coconut on a boulder. And I said, "Huh?" And he did it again. And I said, "HUH?" And I walked up to the tractor and he yelled out the window, "That means grab one of those big rocks and stick it front of the first roller to keep me from moving!"

Duh. How dense of me, not to figure that one out.

But now the rollers are hooked up and he's happily squishing rocks and I'm happily pecking away at my keyboard. All is well on the northern front.

What's that you say? You don't understand why anyone feels the need to drive around squishing rocks with massive steel rollers? Well, we live in what's called a glacial moraine, so it's like this:

If they don't get squished down into the ground, they will get picked up by the swather, the baler and the combine header, and as you can imagine, bad and often expensive things ensue. Therefore. we squish the rocks, so I have thousands fewer reasons to avoid farming. 

Coming July 30th! The re-release of my very first published novel, The Long Ride Home, with a new cover, title, AND available in print at a bookstore near you and at all the usual online vendors! Find the pre-order links on my website by clicking here:
Copyright © 2019 Kari Lynn Dell, All rights reserved. 
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Kari Lynn Dell
HC91 Box E-11
Cut Bank, MT 59427
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Kari Lynn Dell · HC91 Box E-11 · Cut Bank, MT 59427 · USA

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