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Tractor Safety For Dummies And City Folk

by Terrye

Collin driving a brand new Case I/H (Source: TToombs08)

As the summer begins to wind down, fall fills the air with the sweet smell of ripening vegetation. Yes, it’s that time of year again, when farmers across the nation head back into the fields to begin the harvest. Soon truckloads of wheat, corn, sunflowers, beets, and all the other wholesome foods will find its way onto the tables of hungry people everywhere. Well, at least in places where the severe drought hasn’t fried the crops to a crisp as farmers stand in their fields and weep uncontrollably.

Timmy, only eat what you kill.

Time For A Vacation
Many families like to squeeze in one last vacation in the fall, to enjoy the outdoors before the unbearable colder weather starts to slide down from the North and engulf the country in freezing temperatures, piles of impassable snow, and bitterly cold winds. Wanting to get back to simpler times, a lot of metropolitan minded folks like to take those trips in the country; where life tends to move along at a little slower pace. This excursion might be to an orchard, a ranch or a farm. All of these destinations have several things in common; fresh air, kind hearted locals, and tractors.

Unfortunately, this mingling of inner-city citizens and harvesting agrarians have led to some deadly encounters. It seems that fanatical friends of farming, their hearts so overwhelmed with appreciation for the hard working cultivators and their equally hard working and absolutely adorable tractors, have caused pandemonium and mayhem on the farming population. In their excitement at spotting a working tractor in the field, many a visitor has slammed on their brakes on the highway, leapt from their vehicles, ran across fields and attempted to hug said tractors. I blame the movie ‘Cars’ for this sudden uptick in accidents…tractor tipping, seriously? Where are P.E.T.T. (People for the Ethical Treatment of Tractors) now?

Under normal circumstances, tractors do not mind a good hug; when they are resting in the barn, getting a good wash down, or while waiting for the farmer to kiss his cow goodbye for the day. Therefore, in order to try to prevent any further senseless deaths and traumatizing innocent tractors, here are a few safety rules to keep in mind when escaping urban chaos for the lure of the peaceful country:

Tractor Tipping hurts innocent tractors!

1. Never Approach a Moving Tractor
When gallant dirt wranglers and their trusty tractors are in the field, they are concentrating on nurturing, tending and harvesting their beloved crops. Do not attempt to approach them as this may startled the dashing duo and result in the exalted farmer losing control of the noble tractor.

The frightened tractor may begin to buck and rear up, resulting in the careless urban dweller being trampled, plowed under, harvested, or killed. Little Timmy does not want his final memory of his parent to be the horror of watching them disappear under the oversized wheels of an out of control John Deere in slow motion madness; unless there is a sizable inheritance waiting for him back home, in which case, little Timmy is probably already ordering his new sports car on his iPhone.

2. Make and Maintain Eye Contact with the Farmer
If it is absolutely necessary to approach a working tractor and it’s hayseed plow-boy because you need directions to the nearest souvenir shop or ice cream parlor, stay a safe distance away from the working tractor and wave your arms, small squirming child, your wife’s hot pink thong or other highly visible object to attract the farmer’s attention. Once they have acknowledged your annoyingly ecstatic presence, maintain eye contact so that they know where you are and don’t accidentally on purpose, run you over and plow you into their fertile soil.

Although, you may provide infinitesimal additional nutrients for next year’s crops, unless you’re a politician and then you’re probably just full of crap and would best serve as fertilizer. Wait for the tractor to come to a complete stop before moving towards it to present your annoying request for directions. Note: This author is in no way responsible for the misadventures you may encounter once the farmer has given you directions to your presumed destination. Proceed with utmost caution.

No, that ain’t the mouth!

3. Never Stick Your Appendages Into A Tractor or A Farmer
You do not like having a zealous stranger approach you out of the blue and begin to feverishly poke and prod your private parts, so what makes you think that an unacquainted tractor or farmer would appreciate the same kind of unexpected treatment. Always ask permission before attempting to touch or caress a tractor or farmer; in most cases, the kind hearted farmer will show you the correct way to pet and stoke his cherished tractor.

Do not take offense if the adoringly shy farmer, himself, does not wish to be petted or stroked, they are kind hearted, but not usually soft and cuddly; unless you offer them a tall glass of sweet tea or an ice cold beer first. Treat tractors and framers like a diesel engine; they start cold but once you get ‘em warmed up, watch out, momma!

A sad & lonely tractor put out to pasture.

4. Passing Slow Moving Tractors
Practice extreme caution when attempting to pass a slower moving tractor on the roadway. Every year, 50 tractors are killed or seriously maimed when impatient city drivers try to pass in their rush to get to one more trinket stand before lunch and end up involved in a fender-bender. Collisions frequently occur when exasperated drivers happen upon slow-moving or turning farm apparatus as the equipment rounds a hill and the speeding driver cannot stop in time, resulting in an injury to the innocent tractor.

Those tractors that survive the accident and are no longer able to work the fields are led out into some unused back pasture, abandoned, and left to rust. Nothing breaks your heart worse than seeing an old tractor sitting by the fence with a sad, distant look on its face, watching the farmer that once loved it, tending the field with this year’s sleek, new model sans dents, dings and chipped pain. Think before you pass, the life you save may be an International Harvester.

Thank you, Mr. Farmer & Tractor!

Thank the Farmer And His Tractor
When your little soiree into our nation’s breadbasket comes to its melancholy conclusion, contemplate all that you have witnessed and learned. Farming is a hard, thankless job. The farmer and his tractor would appreciate hearing a thank you for providing the foods that we enjoy and depend upon to keep our families fed. If it wasn’t for them, we’d probably be really hungry right now. Now go make a sandwich and celebrate our nation’s hard working farming industry!

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