I realized after moving back to small town America how often the directions we give are quite confusing to others who aren’t familiar with the area. We start out with phrases like “You know down there where the Jack’s used to be?” or “turn right down yonder passed so and so’s Grandma’s house” It makes perfect sense to those familiar with the area and of course the giver of the directions knows perfectly well where they mean. However, to the unfamiliar traveler or someone who isn’t sure who so and so’s Grandma is, it can be quite confusing.
So it is with most things in life. When you are familiar with your circumstances and know your way it is much easier to take directions. It is not so easy to understand directions on farming when you are an ex preschooler Special Ed teacher turned farmer/business person. I found myself in yet another unfamiliar situation as I observed a broken part on the tractor.
I have never known such a fragile piece of equipment as a tractor. In my observation something is always broke, or fixin’ to break at any moment. This is a complete mystery to me. I suspect a plot hatched up between tractor salesmen and tractor PART salesmen but that is another story… As we stared at the broken piece on the tractor it is described to me as a link adjustment. “Ok. Well, how do we fix that?” the process is described and the “run to town” made and the part purchased. Now for those of you who don’t live out in the country let me explain how this works. A tractor never breaks at a convenient time or in a convenient place. While you “run to town”, a trip that takes at least an hour because we are 25 minutes from ANYWHERE, the tractor remains smack dab in the middle of the driveway. Now a broken tractor is something like a beacon to other farmers in the area. It seems to call out, “come look at me being broken! Give advice on how to fix me and parts to buy!” So before getting back with the part at least 5 people had come by to make sure the problem was diagnosed properly. Each on looker gives an opinion and advice until you are utterly confused. Now as we began trying to get the old part off it becomes apparent that there is about 60 years of dirt and grime that are most likely holding the tractor together and most of that will end up on your shirt.
I will readily admit, I was mostly an observer in this process. My dad describes how to properly replace the part, my brother grunts and struggles and hands me bolts to hold. I was pretty good at that part………Eventually we get the part replaced and up and running once again. I add the instructions on how to replace a link adjustment on a tractor to my skill set and we continue on.
I am getting more comfortable with farm life as we go and the directions and instructions get less and less confusing. I suppose it’s like anything else in life. If you are in the middle of a driveway with a broke tractor in your life, fake it ‘til you make it!! Hang in there because eventually it will all make sense! Even if you have to figure out where the old Jack’s used to be before you start.