Even after I hit the brakes I can feel the tractor slide a little downhill. The bush-hog rotary mower spinning behind me just seems to help push me along. There is an extra heart beat or two that thumps through my sweaty shirt, but eventually the tires grip the earth and bring me and my Kubota to a stop. As I turn around to mow back up the hill, I inhale that wonderful smell of summer hay and can see me and Mr. Larry here some sixteen years ago when Sharon and I began our adventure here in the country.
|Larry in the black hat, me in the red shirt|
One day after his son left for college, he told me that he wouldn't have time to mow due to his other farm obligations, but said that if Ole Blue was down at the barn, I would be welcome to hook up the mower and take a stab at it. Well my first attempt ended quite quickly. I was driving up the gravel road from his place to ours, like I've done many times before. Unfortunately I got distracted by a deer running across the road and didn't turn the wheel in time and the next thing I knew I had one side of Ole Blue's front and rear tires in a four foot ditch. I struggled for an hour trying to get it out, but only made it worse. I eventually walked back with my head hung low and he pulled me out with one of his other tractors. Mr. Larry never let me forget that one. My second attempt a few weeks later was more successful and after eight hours, I had the hollow all cut. Well, almost all of it. My legs were so sore the next day from using the breaks and hitting the clutch to stop from running into trees and rock. There was one section though that I chickened out on. Mr. Larry laughed when I told him how the tractor started to slide and that I thought I saw my life pass before my eyes. The next day he was back up there and finished it up, though he saved the last two vertical strips for me. The school house door was back open and he taught me about how to work with gravity, how to use the bucket to help stop, how to lock one side of the brakes at a time, and when to turn the rotary mower off in the worst case. From that day on, I was a country boy and have never looked back.
I just finished washing off all the wild seeds and brush from the Kubota. The sun is casting that wonderful 7:30 PM golden glow on our barn. I can hear the crickets and the frogs beginning their evening serenade. I walk back towards the farmhouse and if I could jump to the side and click the heels of my boots together I surely would.