I have a new name.
On Friday The Prairie Daddy was cutting hay. Hay season is demanding and is weeks of The Prairie Daddy being in a tractor ALOT. The swather, which cuts hay, is it's own piece of equipment unlike the baler or the rake, which attach to the back of a regular tractor. The swather is also the only piece of equipment that has two seats.
I like to ride along when The Prairie Daddy cuts hay so that I can actually see him a little bit. Here is an new "You Might Be A Prairie Mama If...Date Night takes place in the swather."
Last year The Prairie Daddy asked me if I wanted to drive the swather. I did for about 10 minutes. It was frightening, exhilarating, and short and sweet.
As we were riding along on Friday, The Prairie Daddy asked if I wanted to drive again. I was hesitant, remembering the white-knuckled adrenaline rush of fear last year. He and I began to dialogue about what was what. "This is the float. I keep it between 1200 and 1300. Here is how you change it. The higher the number the less pressure on the header."
Lost? So was I!!! It was like he was speaking Yiddish!
"Here is the tilt. I keep it around 10 but if there is a hill or something I will keep it at 8. This is raises the header up and down. I put it half way up to turn around at the end of a row."
"And this is your throttle. I always throttle up and down slowly. I push this button once forward, then to the middle, then forward again, and to the middle."
"And you want to make sure on the turns that you watch your inside tire so that you don't dig a rut with it while you turn."
"Keep the edge of your row between the yellow line and the end of the reel."
"Are you ready? It's your turn."
Plain English. OH CRAP!
So, he coached me as my heart beat and my palms sweat and I cut a row or two. Then, the unthinkable happened.
"Why don't you keep cutting so I can go check the yearlings' water and salt."
My understandable reply in plain English: "No thank you."
But his response was as if I was speaking Latvian: "You'll be fine!"
"No really! No thank you!"
"See ya later. It'll be about 30-40 minutes."
It was 4:30pm.
This is a great opportunity to tell you a little bit about The Prairie Daddy's lack of "timing chromosomes." Somehow he ended up with webbed toes instead of timing chromosomes. You see, he doesn't really know how to calculate how long things will take, or to factor in the inevitable breakdown or detour in plans that normally take place in ranching. And yes, he has webbed toes. He thoughtfully passed on some of these lovely chromosomes to The Prairie Kid. Thankfully, there weren't enough to web, just to fork The Prairie Kid's little toes. Whew.
I stopped cutting hay and got home at about 10:00pm.
The Prairie Daddy did check in with me a time or two and we stopped for a quick supper (hey Ol' Nebraska Farm Boy, thanks for the ribs...).
Here are two clips of me cutting hay. Yes people, especially those of you who think "she doesn't seem like a rancher's wife," THIS IS ME!
And then, on Saturday, I became Jane Deere again! And I cut hay for another half of a day. In fact, I cut 2/3 of the field that is across the street from my house! I even learned to replace a section on the header. What is a section, you ask? Well, it is one of the MANY blades that are run back and forth to cut the hay. When you hit a rock or when they wear, you have to replace them. Here is a video with The Prairie Daddy working on a section:
The Prairie Kid likes to hang out in the swather too. I took some video inside while riding along so you could get an idea of what it is like.
Guess who's hired a babysitter so she can go out and cut hay tomorrow? And by the way, none of the "swather talk" is Greek to me anymore!
I am a rancher's wife (that doesn't have to look like one) and HE thinks MY tractor's sexy!