Tractor Man Tales... by Cole

    About thirty years ago I was swathing with an old Case tractor with limited hydraulics. It was a chore getting the table of the swather up or down not to mention all the strength it took to raise or lower the reel. It was a nice day and I was rolling along when I noticed some disturbance in the crop ahead of the swather. I didn't know what it was but I didn't want to hit it so I raised the table a bit as the swather caught up. When I had gone a ways I stopped the tractor to see what it was. I saw a fat, old porcupine waddling away with the quills on his back shaved off to about an inch long.

    Another memorable event from my farming experiences was not as cute. I almost got eaten by a combine. The crop was a little damp in the wind rows and every once in a while the feeding apparatus would plug up. There was a lever beside the seat to disengage the feeder, with a hook to hold it up. I had one foot on the screw and the other foot on the belt while I was pulling the jammed stuff from behind the screw when I felt a slight motion in the belt. I instantly leapt onto the combine and stood there watching the feeder whirring away, with my heart hammering. I went up to check the lever and sure enough it had come out of the hook. There was no one else around for miles. I never would have believed it could come off that hook, but it did and if I hadn't been really agile and if I hadn't responded instantly I would have been chewed up. I decided to shut the engine off if it got plugged up again. Oddly enough it didn't plug up again.

    One day I was building a steel grain bin and was up a ladder working on the roof. On the far side of the bin was an enclosure with seven sows and a boar who were participants in a weenling pig operation. There was a puddle outside the enclosure and after a while I heard splashing and  I realized that some pigs had escaped. I climbed down and went around to several sows laying in the puddle with smiles on their faces. I opened the gate and chased them back in. Then I found where they had gone under the fence and repaired it. Then I went back to my work on the bin. I had no sooner got to the top of the ladder when I heard splashing again. I went  back down and found the whole crew in the puddle this time. When I came they all took off running - away from their corral. I went chugging after them, wondering how the heck I would ever get them back in that pen. They were having a great time and occasionaly one or the other of them would look back and grin! They went around a treed part of the yard about ten acres in size and then down the lane and back into their pen! I closed the gate behind them and then went over every possible place in the fence that they could get out. When I had the fence done to my satisfaction I got out a hose and made a puddle for them inside their corral.


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