Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mike's Tractor Rampage

A few nights ago Mike took the Kubota tractor out for a random rototilling in the garden with Ella on board. I am not sure what he was really trying to accomplish other than recreate. Obviously, my husband also has a certain penchant for the Kubota, or slightly more fondness for tractors than the average farm raised kid. He has been around tractors since a child and likely was taught to drive by his Mom and Dad as soon as he could be trusted, which would have been later not sooner on the sliding scale of childhood since he was the most pesky of his siblings. Everyone in his family was required to operate the tractors on their farm since they grew something like 100 acres of oat hay and raised all kinds of livestock.

The tractor represents a few things in life for Mike, such as: man concurs land, man partners with machine, and man relaxing. Additionally, much like Sunday football for normal men, the Kubota is a form of mostly passive entertainment for my husband. Mike can mindlessly drone about the property and say he is putting in his part for grounds upkeep with minimum physical effort on his behalf. Also driving the tractor probably provides his much needed mental escape from daily job related chaos. I guess if I really had to choose I would rather Mike drive the tractor around than watch TV.

Often times our son accompanies daddy Mike on his mindless tractor rampages around the property perimeters and the interior fence lines.
Wearing his protective ear muffs, Wyatt stoically sits on Mikes lap watching the scenery go by. I like looking out the window and spotting the pair of them buzzing the tall weeds on the back fence line. Mike in his sunglasses and wide brimmed camouflage hat and the little blond boy with what looks like big black beetles eating away at his ears.

Mike likes rototilling and mowing with our Kubota. And I do mean everything. When he fires up the tractor and says he is going to do some work with it I sigh and wonder what he will destroy on this joyful day. Victims of his tractorizing include tennis balls, large bouncy balls, golf balls, plastic shovels, small metal Tonka toys, and more linear feet of drip line and garden hoses than I care to measure. I have come to the realization that basically anything on the ground is fair game. I can’t discern if he really does not see what lies in front of him or he is a mercenary intentionally running the things down. He has been known to say with a smile, “I want it all baby…” when I point out the carnage that results from his mowing. From time to time Mike will offer up a disclosure on what he has broken with the Kubota. “Uh… your drip line on the south fence was not in line with the trees, so it got hit… ” At these special moments, I think his kindness to me knows no end.

After the motor dies down and the likelihood that I will get hit by a stray rock or other flying debris is eliminated, I go to assess the damages that have been accrued in my irrigation system. Most often I discover the lacerated black tubing in my orchard and the shredded green garden hose on the back lawn. Add in the bonus items like the filleted yellow tennis ball torn into three pieces next to the sand pile, its inner rubber core exposed to the curious, and the carnage is complete. This path of destruction is not limited to the Kubota, but extends to the John Deere riding lawn mower as well; and with Mike at the helm, it executes things in its path with the same deadly precision as the tractor.

Me and sister-in-law Suzi both know that when Mike gets ready to mow, it is time to dash out and retrieve anything of value from the premises since there is a good chance it will not survive to see another day if left to defend it self. We console ourselves with the fact that the weeds get mowed, and thus one more task does not fall upon us. Mikes eccentricities aside, it is nice to having someone else take responsibility for something without having to ask.

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