Thursday, October 16, 2008

Farmgirl Farming

You'll probably never guess what I did on Tuesday.
Give up?
I drove one of these:

My friend, Dale, the local dairy farmer and supplier of my donkeys' hay, needed help plowing 20 acres of pasture and he actually called me!
Well, what do YOU do when a friend calls asking your for help? You go and help them, right?:

So I drove a 1980's International tractor:

...pulling one of these:

It's called a "discer" (disc-er) and it is used for chopping up big clumps of dirt and preparing the soil for planting:

After being given about a ten minute overview on how to drive it, I was left to my own devices. So off I went:

Take a ride with me? I promise to be careful:

Now that wasn't so bad, was it?
You felt safe, right? Good. Because you wouldn't believe how complicated this thing was to drive. This pedal is the brake for the RIGHT tire:

This pedal is the brake for the LEFT tire:

This pedal's the clutch:

To my right, on the floor, were three levers. The far left one raises and lowers the discer blades. I never did figure out what the other two levers do:

To my left was the gear box. The far left lever puts the engine in high or low, the right lever then sets the specific gear:

And up on the dash is the throttle:

I fortunately manipulated all pedals and levers correctly and in the right order, and managed to avoid winding up in the creek:

At the end of the afternoon, the field was "disced":

There will be oats planted here:

And that was my Tuesday.

Somehow this post wouldn't feel complete without a few gratuitous, cute animal photos, so here they are. This little cutie is one of about seventeen, small, barnyard cats running around Dale's farm:

One of Dale's very cute calves born this spring:

and who can forget farm doggy, Roxy, here in the sunshine with her chickens:


  1. Way to go! So now you can add expert discer to your resume.Nice boots. I wish I had a spring just like that running along my property.

  2. Wow Danni! I am very impressed! You are one brave and hearty farmgirl. How did you manage to film that video and drive that big tractor all at the same time? I love tractors. Never have driven one though. Cute photos of the kitty, calf, Roxy & chickens too.

  3. Wow Danni!! Youre the man....I mean the woman!!! The multitask queen!! Drive a tractor, disk a field and video it without a hitch!!! Well, that's it, this weekend I'm going to go learn how to drive my tractor!!!

    HI ROXY!!!!
    PS you need to bring one of thoses kittens home!!

  4. I never would have figured out how to drive that thing. I love the picture of the cow!

  5. You get to have all the fun! LOL

  6. Did you have your camera strapped to your head? I swear I saw both of your hands in that video!

    I have driven various farm equipment over the years. It's so fun. I have never driven one with two seperate brake pedals though.

    Me thinks your friend has permanet part time help.

  7. It looks like you had quite the harrowing experience...literally!

    I stole a bit of time on a backhoe once and was surprised at how hard it was to control all of the stuff to actually dig a hole. It gives you a new appreciation for the skill it takes to run machinery. Great job!

  8. Too much fun! This is definitely a new skill you can put on your resumé. I love it that with all the sophisticated and complicated levers and pedals and thingamajigs, tractor manufacturers still use the rabbit and turtle symbols on the throttle.

  9. Ethan LOVES riding with you Danni!! "Again! Again!" :) I have a feeling my hubby will like it too, it'll bing back memories. Thanks for sharing!

  10. wow , what an experience. you did a great job!

  11. Wow! Now that is something I'm not even sure I would want to attempt!

    Our little Kubota can be a challenge sometime!

    Thanks for the vid of part of the ride, it was almost like being there. :) You definitely made it seem smooth....had no idea you had so many pedals and handles to manipulate!

    Roxy looks so content hangin' with her chicks. :)

  12. How cool! I've never driven a big tractor like that. It looks like fun.

  13. You are a woman after my own heart . . . or however that saying goes. I'd love to try that! Way to go, Danni. Who got to ride along side you as your "camera-man?" Does this chore get you a nice discount on your annual hay supply? Great video, it just makes me want to go out and learn to drive some of the big equipment here at Park Sierra. There is a big mowing tractor I bet I could learn to drive. Hmmmmm. . .

  14. Great job tractor driving Danni!!! How fun for you...

  15. Nice. You are a professional tractor driver now. Im sure he will be calling you all the time for help now...discing, delivering calves, giving out meds.....

    And I so would not put it past you to strap a camera on your head so that you could get come pictures.

  16. Woo Hoo! You go girl!!! Oats ain't Peanuts, but they ain't hay! :)

  17. You really did that? You never cease to amaze me. What in the world are you going to attempt (master) next? Glad I don't know about some of your adventures; you know how I worry. I bet Dale the farmer was very glad for your help.....

  18. P.S.
    The baby calf is adorable, as it seems all baby animals are!

    So, Danni . . . did you adopt one of those barn kitties?

  19. The first time I ever drove tractor I was probably 7 or so and my dad told me that if I needed to stop, to push down on THAT pedal. That pedal being the clutch. I mean, since we were just putting along and they were loading handlines on the trailer, he figured I'd just gently coast to a stop then start again. Um, unfortunately there was a HILL in the field and when I tried to stop using THAT pedal, I picked up speed and went careening down the hill screaming at the top of my lungs... snot a flyin', tears blinding me... my dad was shouting HIT THE BRAKES HIT THE BRAKES and I was screaming I AM I AM. When they caught up to me stopped at the bottom of the hill... my dad said "Why the hell didn't you hit the brake?" and all I could say was "I thought I was". Needless to say, my tractor driving had room for improvement. (Sorry for the long story)

    Speaking of cute donkeys Didn't know if you'd seem these.

  20. So cool!!
    I remember when I first learned to drive a tractor pulling a hayride. It felt so cool to be doing something that the average Joe doesn't get to do. I even thought about putting it on my resume'. "Can drive really old blue tractor." :)

  21. I am so IMPRESSED that you were able to drive, steer, work all those foot petals, and film all at the same time!!!!
    Love the picture of you sitting in the cab.
    This post reminded me of a job I had as a teenager at a golf course. The guy who mowed the greens quit, got fired, didn't show or something and they needed a greens mower ASAP...well, I was elected. The mower had foot pedals that controlled the blades.
    Best as I remember,you had to push the pedals down to lower them when you started at the edge of the green and then again to raise them when you reached the other side and had to turn back around in the fairway.
    Goes without saying how MANICURED golf courses are....well,not this one after I got done!!!!!!

  22. Woo Hoo! Good for you. Why NOT drive a tractor, I say? You did a damn fine job figuring it all out, too. I was lost after the second pedal...

    (BTW, I want to take that barn cat home with me.)

    Roxy looks like she's posing for a fancy layout in a fashion magazine. Too adorable, that one.

  23. Danni-Cam, I love it! Seriously, did you put your mascara on while you were plowing up that field? Because you seemed to be doing everything else!

    I've been collecting photos and videos of riding along in the corn fields here, with Clint, while he helps a farmer harvest. Lesson #1, in my opinion, is wear a SportsBra; no smooth ride in those things!

    Cool post. Again.

  24. I'm so jealous! Someday I'll have enough land to ride around one of those in and you'll have to come teach me how.

  25. Hi greywolf - what a hoot that would be to add to my resume. Those high-tech folks would think I'd plum lost my mind! You like my boots, huh? :-)

    Hey farmer jen - what a wonderful compliment to call me a hearty farmgirl! :-) thank you. Regarding the filming while driving, it's a trade secret.

    Hi eve - No, YOU da man! Ha! I am, indeed, quite the multi-tasker in other aspects of my life, so this comment from you does not surprise me - and, thankfully, it did go off without a hitch! :-) (NO KITTENS, EVE!)

    Hi nancy m. - Isn't that calf the sweetest? That's either a Jersey or a swiss cow, sometimes they look very similar, but they have the most beautiful coloring and they are so tame.

    Hi pine pod farm - it was a blast!

    Hey peggy - Ha! I really did feel like I won the prize on Tuesday. I smiled so much my cheeks hurt that night. :-)

    Hey sugarcreekstuff - you always make me laugh! That's what I totally need...a headlamp-style camera! What an idea! You're totally right - I will be doing this again! :-)

    Yo jimmycrackedcorn - it really was great fun - who would've thought? :-)

    Hi warren - you're funny! Now driving a backhoe would be very cool, too. I think of all the other machinery and equipment my friend, Dale, drives on a daily basis and I'm in awe now!

    Hey 7msn - Thanks - it's pretty cool doing something you never would have imagined ever doing!

    Hi farm mom - aw, I love that Ethan enjoyed the video!

    Hi homemoma - thanks for commenting! I had the best day!

    Hey wrensong farm - with all you've done in your life so far, driving that tractor would be so simple for you! :-) What all do you do with your Kubota? Our property is so steep and uneven, I don't think we'll ever be able to have a tractor here.

    Hi christy - Your headed down the path to doing this too, you know! I'm already anticipating the videos we'll be seeing from you! :-)

    Hey californiagrammy - Aw, that's fun to hear - does this mean we're kindred spirits? Now, don't tell, but I was my own camera-man. Do as I say and not as I do: never drive a big-ass tractor with only one hand while manipulating a small camera with video capabilities. :-)
    ...and, no, I did not adopt a barn kitty. I would love to, but I am, sadly, tremendously allergic to cats. :-(

    Hi judy - thanks - I had a very good time :-)

    hi frugalmom - I don't know if I'm a "pro" now, but it sure felt good mastering this big piece of machinery! And, um, yeah, I've received a call every day since asking if I wanted to plow some more! :-)

    howdy marigold - I absolutely LOVE having a goat as my personal cheerleader!!

    hi zitrone-mom - Yes....I really did that. But I was really, really careful and you didn't have a THING to worry about. :-) And wasn't it kind of your daughter to not needlessly worry you?

    Hi meadowlark! What a great story - of course, it was clearly terrifying at the time, but jeez...those are the kinds of stories that stay with you FOREVER! :-) You poor thing...but in your defense, you did exactly as you were told! Did your dad ever let you drive a tractor again?
    Thanks for the link - I've seen some of her donkey pics before but not those. Very cute!

    Hi ceecee - thanks for the kudos!! I love that you're a tractor-driving-gal, too!! I wish our property was level enough to be able to do a hayride kind of thing...that would be tremendously fun! And, seriously, why shouldn't we put incredible feats like this on our resumes??!

    Hi tracey - I love your story about mowing the golf green. Way to rise to the occasion, girl! Your machine sounds even more complicated than mine was! :-)

    Hi carolynn - Truly! Why NOT drive a big ol' tractor and plow a field, right? You never know when experience like this might come in handy...
    You definitely *should* take home that barn cat...they have way too many! :-)

    Gnightgirl! LOL - Danni-Cam? How funny...
    And you aren't kidding about the sportsbra. There were some pretty rough parts of the field that had the seat bouncing all over the place. Completely off my seat at times! At one point, Iooked up at the ceiling just to make sure I wasn't going to give myself a concussion and I realized the ceiling was padded - about 6" worth of padding!!

    Helloooo pyryt nest - If you want to come drive a tractor any time soon, you just let me know...I will introduce you to my friend, Dale - he's always game for new help! :-)

  26. I am very impressed and jealous.

  27. Good driving and that is quite a tractor he trusted you with. I get on John's little tractor and I'm a bit on edge.

  28. Kudos Danni! Looks like you did a good job and not putting it in the creek gets you bonus points! Cute calf poking her head out of that corrugated shed. Did Roxy get to ride in the tractor too?

  29. Hi Danni, well truth be told I think we use our Kubota for mostly bringing up the firewood. :-0 Our property is extremely hilly and I have brush hogged it before but it is very time consuming....I have to back back up the hill. Oh, I also use the tractor for hauling feed down to the barn. :)

  30. Very cool! My dad sold International farm machinery in Alberta before we moved to Oregon, decades ago. I only hung out on the tractors in the sales yard and I felt brave! You go girl!

  31. You really are a farmgirl! Way to go Danni.
    I am really impressed.
    I use to drive tractors but not so much lately.
    Now I now who to call when spring plowing comes
    The plow looked like our harrows.
    Good job.

  32. That reminds me of my family of wheat farmers in central Washington. I was fortunate to spend summers riding in the back of wheat trucks while my uncle, grandfather, and dad, rode the combines. I have a few pictures of my grandfather working the land with horses before the machinery. Thanks for sharing, and again getting to live vicariously through your blog. If you ever need a hand let a Portland girl know.

  33. You are a true Renaissance woman. And I LOVE the calf photo!


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