(Confessions of a hired hand).
I was rod weeding with a JD 5020 and about 50 feet of rod weeder. I had
to pull up the rod when I was turning since it was so bloody long. I was
kind of new to the tractor driving business and hadn't learned how to occupy
my mind in this boring, tedious job. I had about half the field done and
had brought along a joint of some powerfull stuff. I stopped the rig and
walked off a hundred feet where it was a little quieter. I knew the properties
of Marijuana and that it worked well as a catalyst for the imagination.
In fact that was why I had decided to smoke a joint and drive tractor.
I finished the reefer and turned back to the tractor and there in its place
was a big, prehistoric lizard sitting there waiting for me to climb back
up and take control. Well that was right up my alley or my name isn't Conan.
I climbed up and me and the lizard went rumbling off. A while later I was
about halfway across the field when I just happened to look back and notice
that I'd forgot to put the rod back in the ground after my last turn. Now
this aint what great tractor men are made of. I felt stupid and rightly
so, I was there in the middle of the field with it obvious to anyone that
I had not only forgot to sink the rod but hadn't so much as looked at it
for as long as it took to go diagonally half way across the quarter section.
I realized that it would take some time to cover up the mistake. A good
thing about being high on weed is that when a crisis comes
along you can become instantly rational again. I figured it was more or less pointless to do anything but drop the rod back in and carry on. I knew that no matter what I did, the tracks I made would indicate that I had done something out of the ordinary. I got to the other end and did the special turning procedure but just went back further so I could turn back on to the strip I'd just done. I dropped the rod in and started back. When I got to the far end and all the tracks were covered up I heaved a sigh of relief. I realized that driving tractor and smoking pot don't mix.
I never smoked dope on the tractor again until a number of years later. I was helping an old guy do his harvest and we were both on the same field with these self-propelled swathers. I had smoked a joint and was pretending that we were fighter pilots in a dog fight. There were a bunch of sloughs on this field so we were winding around some maze-like chunks of crop. Whenever I was in a position where this part of my machine (which I had designated as the gunsight) was lined up with the other swather I would press on the trigger and go "ratatat tat etc." As luck would have it I was happily flying around the field when part of the front left suspension broke. The swather wildly yawed to the left and jerked to a stop, leaning crazily. What went through my mind when that happened was: "He got me!" I laughed when I realized what I had just thought. Then I was glad that his machine hadn't broke down while I was pretending to shoot at it. If that had happened and worst of all if he had got hurt I would have quit smoking dope altogether.
I didn't quit smoking dope though and have a few very small regrets about that. One time I was getting my Harley ready for a ride. It was a beautiful summer day and I smoked a fat joint before I went into my bike shop. Now a Harley and a tractor are certainly related, I've used my bike to give a battery boost to get a tractor started so I guess a story here about a Harley mishap is legitimate. Besides, my bike was the only tractor and the only Hog I had on that farm. Any how, the stuff I had on hand was really dynamite and I was really blasted. I kept on forgetting where I put down the wrench I was using. This is sort of normal but not every time. One of the things I did was stuff some paper towel in the mouth of the carb after I took off the air cleaner so nothing would fall in there. I did a check up on the points and adjusted the valves and la dee da and this and that and then finally decided to fire her up to see how she turned out. Well she fired about six times. I realized my error as I was going down on the kicker and made a grab for the paper towel but I was too late. I had to take the tanks off and the carb and the intake manifold and the heads and clean everything. I had to get out the valve spring compressor to clean the valves. I got the bike running again much later that day. It was too late to go for that ride, but I thought the mishap just may have saved my life if the pot was so strong that it made me goof up that bad.
Here's another story that isn't directly related to tractors but I know that a diversion of some back breaking work can make a guy happy to climb back on the dusty old tractor. I was working on a mixed farm in Saskatchewan in the early Seventies. Part of my job was maintaining a weenling pig operation. I forget the brand of old steel wheel tractor that I used to haul the manure out of the barn but it was a beauty.
One day I was working on the roof of a big steel grain bin that we had just put up. The corral where the seven sows and an old boar lived was just on the other side of the bin from where I was working. I had been in the habit once in a while of going around behind the barn in that corral to smoke a joint and sit and play my guitar in my spare time. I had more or less ignored the pigs when I did that and they more or less ignored me. Any how, I was up on the top of the ladder and I heard some splashing. I knew that the only puddle was just outside the pig corral. I climbed down and went around and discovered several of the sows enjoying the puddle. I opened the gate and they ran back in, then I found the spot where they had gone under the fence and repaired it. Then I went back around and climbed up the ladder to continue my work. I hadn't even picked up my tools when I heard splashing again. I went back down and this time the whole crew was out playing in the puddle. When I came around the bin they all took off running in a pack - away from their pen. I ran after them of course, wondering how in the heck I would ever catch them if they split up. I was alone on the farm and had no help to summons. The pigs ran around a ten acre part of the yard that was surrounded by trees and then down the lane and all of them ran back in to the corral. As I was chasing them, every so often one or another of them would look back and actually grin! I couldn't believe that it had worked out so well, all of us getting a little exercize out of the deal. I went over the fence and fixed up any spot that looked like a potential escape route. Then I got out a hose and made a new puddle inside the pig corral. Everybody was happy then, at least for the rest of that day.