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Things to do, things to do…

From the Farm

October 21, 2011
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

In previous columns I have written about having the amazing technology of auto steer in a few of our tractors.

I have poked fun at my husband for not having to do any manual labor while driving a tractor up and down a field; allowing a satellite in outer space guide each round.

I have explained how I have thought that it would be extremely boring and that I would have to make sure I took my latest read out to the field to make sure I had something to do while putting all my faith into a large metal flying object with no common sense.

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

Wednesday was my first chance this fall to do a little tillage work. I was "chosen" to spend my time pulling the ripper across the harvested corn fields. Unlike a plow, the ripper lifts and mixes the dirt with the corn plant residue.

I was a bit anxious to take over the tractor. It's been a year since I have been in the field during harvest. It didn't take long after Steve's confusing lesson for me to feel at ease shoving my hubby out of the cab so I could be alone in my own happy version of solitary confinement.

Immediately upon having the space to myself I thought, "Geez, this space is so big I could do an Irish jig in here." (Don't ask me why an Irish jig popped into my head.) It was very difficult to not get up and practice my awesome dance moves. Later, I also figured out that I could put my feet up on the door handle; my hands behind my head and relax while the satellite did all the work.

It also didn't take long for me to figure out I should be able to actually get a lot done. It's just that I hadn't brought any important work with me. All I had was a 32-ounce bottle of sports drink, the all-important tube of Chapstick, my good looks and my cell phone.

So, to pass the time, I started taking photos with my Blackberry and posting instant images to my facebook page.

I find it remarkable that people were responding to my posts in real time. It took less than one minute for a relative from California to comment on my photos; she knew at that very minute that I was actually out in the field. Amazing!

Thursday morning, while Steve and I were discussing the day's activities during the morning milking, he asked if I wanted to drive the ripper again.

"I don't know," I said. "I have to admit that I did get a bit bored out there."

Steve doesn't understand the concept of boredom. He drives me nuts always having to do something.

"You mean you don't get satisfaction from looking at the black dirt?" he asked.


"Don't you think about the past planting season and next year's planting?"

"Uh, no."

"So you don't think about this field being planted to soybeans?" he asked.

"Really dear?"

"Really," he replied.

"Do you really want to know what I am thinking when I 'drive' a tractor up and down the field?"

For once, Steve was interested in what was going through my mind! I wasn't going to pass on this opportunity!

"I am thinking this: there is a humongous pile of clothes in my laundry room that need to be washed. My large laundry basket is also full of clothes that need to be folded.

"I should have vacuumed the rug under the kitchen table before I left. The recliner is full of Lilly hair.

"I have to type my column and between working in the field and Russell's football game, I am not so sure I am going to have time.

"Dang, I forgot my camera, and I still have to take images for the Hub Club's Web page.

"God, the dishwasher is full of dirty dishes and I know there is a pile on the kitchen cupboard that needs to be washed.

"Did I feed the lizard? The dogs? The fish?

"How am I going to make that hotdish for the Cathedral football team next week?

The upstairs area in my house is a disaster. The dust bunnies are getting so big they're starting to look like jackrabbits."

Steve didn't say a word. He just stood their looking at me like I was from outer space.

Now maybe he understands why I don't volunteer every day to drive tractor during harvest. Until they find a way for me to do laundry, vacuum the rugs and take the kitchen sink into the comfort of the spacious cab, I probably won't be readily available.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at



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