From the Farm: Men and their toys

There are very few events that can get a dairy farmer excited.

I could easily list more dairy farming activities that some consider “ho-hum.”

For instance, Steve rarely gets excited when a calf is born around here. I, on the other hand, find every new calf to be a joyous event. I have said it in the past and I will say it again, “Watching a calf being born and then the mother taking care of it, never, ever gets old.”

Steve knows that I find new baby calves to be moving, so each time a calf is born and I am not aware of it, he will send me a text message with an attached image. The text always tells me if it’s a boy or a girl – in bold letters.

Another ick-factor for Steve is winter-time weather.

“I hate winter,” he whines. “I hate snow. I hate moving snow. “

I am not really a fan of winter either, but I am a fan of fresh, crisp-white snowfalls at five in the morning. That’s the best time to go outside and appreciate the perfection of a new blanket of snow. There are no dog tracks, people tracks, and car or tractor tracks messing up the pristine image.

Bob, the Wonder Dog, hasn’t had a chance to roll around in the snow yet either. I think she is the only one around here that absolutely adores snow. It’s not unusual to have to let her back into the house covered in a thick layer of snow. She’s overweight. I think snow is the only thing that

keeps her cool.

That early a.m. snow fall is like a blanket of satin sprinkled with glimmering diamonds.

There is no other way to describe it other than beautiful.

Steve doesn’t like fixing anything either. It’s too time consuming. I, on the other hand, love fixing anything, as long as I am able to figure it out.

Right now I can think of one thing that really floats Steve’s boat. In fact, this one thing floats everyone’s boat.

It’s a big green and yellow new-used tractor we, along with Steve’s brother and father, purchased to be used for fall and spring tillage.

It’s a 9530T. My 1939 John Deere B looks like a little green pea next to this new tractor.

The 9530T large and in charge.

Notice it has a letter T after the model number. That’s because this tractor does not ride on four tires. Nope, it has tracks. This is the first time we have ever had anything that has run on tracks. Well, I guess I did when I was in high school, but that’s another story.

It’s almost like we won the lottery. Everyone is super-pumped about this tractor.

I am surprised it doesn’t have a name. Everything else we love has a name: Lilly, Bob, B, Chubby.

This is one thing that didn’t thrill me as much as the testosterone-laden beings in our household. Sure it’s nice, but I don’t get pumped up about it.

Russell asked if I wanted to drive it and I said, “Nope. It’s too big.”

The other night Steve made me drive him out to the field where Russell was tilling the soil using the 9530T, because he wanted to go for a ride.

“Want to come with?” he asked.

“I don’t think there is enough room in there for three of us and I am sure Russell won’t want to give up the steering wheel and I don’t want to come back out to the field to pick you up,” I said.

Well, wouldn’t you know, the beast is big enough for all three of us rather large and in charge people to fit in the cab. By all means we were not super comfortable and I am quite sure Steve’s legs were going numb because I was sitting on his lap. Even Joey could have fit in there with us. (He misses out on a lot of things now that he’s in college.)

So there we were, the Hoffman family spending quality time in a green and yellow 9530T driving up and down the field. Russell and Steve were commenting on “how great and amazing this tractor is compared to the one we traded off.”

I just sat there amazed at the wonder and admiration in Steve’s and Russell’s voice.

There’s the one thing that makes two farm guys happy – a big green and yellow toy.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at

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