Agvocacy 2.0 Contest
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When I was very young in the 1960's my father still raised livestock and my older brothers had all the farm chores. But for some reason when I was about 10 years old I got rounded up to help drive the tractor while making hay. When I think about this now I am amazed because the driver of the tractor although not having to lift heavy bales around actually has a lot of responsibility to get all of the hay picked up off the ground by the equipment, and especially on hills it can get tricky if something is going wrong when you are heading downhill with a load of hay stacked up on the rack behind you. So really I feel badly telling on my dad like this but on the farm, when the need arises it seems things like child labor are the only option that farmers struggling to make a living off the land can think of. After the fact, of course it made me feel very proud to be required to be part of the hay making team and I proved to be a good driver from the beginning!
This was proven in later years as well when my brother got stuck in the field one spring with the big tractor and disk. He asked me to come and help pull him out with the smaller tractor that I was used to driving when making hay. I was about 15 by this time and there was a nasty wet spot down on a hillside next to the draw reaching to the creek. We tried a few times pulling straight out from the "tar pit" and then I had a brilliant idea and I used hand signals to show I was going to back up and go at the problem with an angle to the "stuck". It worked! I was very proud to have helped solve the problem that day!
Farm life can be dangerous but it provides so many opportunities for learning widespread life skills, that is why I treasure my early years on the farm.
by Melanie Block