Farm boys learn quickly, practice what they see


At this busy time of year for farmers, my nephew looks for ways to build time in to seeing his young sons as he goes full-throttle on the dairy farm.

One recent evening, Todd had little 3-year-old Oliver with him in the truck and as they drove past the machinery shed, Oliver said, “Oh man! Why did somebody take the hitch off that tractor?”

Todd, surprised that the little boy even noticed, was speechless. Oliver continued to look over the equipment in the machinery shed.

“Man! What are they thinking? Somebody took one of the duals off the Challenger! What is going on?”

Todd explained the need to take one dual off to avoid running corn over when chopping. The next day, Oliver watched the corn chopping intently with his grandmother, my sister Debi.

He said, “Uh-oh, I think something is wrong. Uncle Danny is coming this way with the tractor and he is not chopping. I bet he’s going to go to the machinery shed and fix something that’s broken. Come on! We got to find out what’s wrong and I got something to show you there anyway.”

The blonde-haired, blue-eyed little boy says, “See, there is only one dual wheel?”

My sister asks why that would be, and Oliver answers in his ultra-wise old man voice, “Well we had to take it off or we would run over the corn … you know that one row … and we wouldn’t want that.”

Little Oliver is a man’s man, and finds the women in his life sorely lacking in the agricultural knowledge department. I know from first-hand experience. While doing some living room floor farming with him, I drove the tractor right over a perfectly good stand of soybeans to get to the barn.

“What are you doing?” Oliver shrieked at me. I said I was going to get the corn planter.

“It’s a bean drill,” he said, shaking his head, “and the beans are all up cause I already planted them a long time ago.”

He politely told me it might be better if I took care of the animals. He was right. I was really good at calling the vet, as it turned out. At the end of the day, Oliver let me pick him up, and as he hugged me he said, “Good job.”

In light of the fact that I was just a hair away from being fired, that was better than any pat on the back I’ve had for a very long time.


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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