I am not sure what’s the bigger bane of my existence, dead batteries or flat tires. Both have a way of taunting me that is entirely unbecoming of inanimate objects. Just yesterday a tractor battery went, “chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, click” which translated into English means, “You dimwit farmer, did you really think you were going to quickly crank up and go get a hay bale, then be back inside ten minutes later eating supper with your family? Think again, sucker.”
Ten minutes later, I not only had one dead tractor battery but two. I had now drained the battery in the other tractor by trying to jump off the first tractor. That meant I had to get my truck involved. Thankfully, my truck battery has proven more reliable than my tractor batteries, meaning it only dies bi-annually instead of annually. With the truck, I finally resuscitated the tractor and could now get a roll of hay for the cows. So twenty minutes fooling with batteries, ten minutes fooling with a hay tarp, five minutes opening and closing gates, ten minutes chasing a cow that snuck through a gate, and five minutes cutting strings off the hay bale equals thoroughly cold food when I finally made it back inside to eat supper.
“What took so long?” my wife asked.
“Dead battery,” I said.
“You’ll probably want to stick that in the microwave,” she said. “and by the way, can you check the air in my tires. My light came on today when I was driving home from work.”
Alas, a poor dirt farmer like me basically spends six hours a day sleeping, eight hours at work to pay for my farming addiction, and my remaining hours trying to keep my farm from falling apart, which isn’t easy when unruly batteries and tires are involved.
I take consolation in the fact some farmers have it worse than me. My neighbor keeps a battalion of broken-down tractors in the weeds just to keep a couple of tractors running and operational. How he remembers which parts he has already robbed off of which tractor is beyond me. He more or less mimics the frantic searching method of a bird dog, bobbing in and out of overgrown tractor thickets, to flush a needed part. On a good Saturday morning, he can bag his daily limit of parts and have them marinating in WD-40 by lunchtime. On a bad Saturday morning, he’ll have to go an actual tractor dealership to acquire his needed part, at which point someone will need to resuscitate him from sticker shock, but that’s farming.