Once the snow/slush/mud gets to be too deep for the Gator to travel from the house to the barn across the river or from the barn to the outdoor feeders, the tractor is used. We secure a plywood topped pallet to the forks of the front loader creating a solid base. Bales are stacked on the pallet and someone (me) gets the opportunity to ride on the bales out to the feeders.It is harder than you think to snap a picture while being bounced around bales on the front of the tractor while holding on for dear life.
And did I mention that it was snowing?
I have to make a special note here lest you think poorly of me or my dutiful driver. I am on the front of the loader because:
- I have yet to have actually sit in the driver seat of this new tractor even though we have owned it for 6 months (I’ve been busy and never got around to it)
- From the amount of swearing coming from the driver seat every time the new tractor is operated, it is apparent that there are many ‘new and improved’ gizmos, buttons and levers that I do not have the foggiest clue about
- I’m not sure where the owners manual actually is in order to familiarize myself with the aforementioned issues
- I don’t think I could find the rocked path in the snowstorm even if I knew how to drive the darn thing
- Have you seen me drive? Let’s just say, for safety’s sake, it is prudent for me to be clutching the bales that I am flopped on top of while Mike takes control of getting us out to the feeders intact
Now that we are clear, I’ll continue with the story.
By the time we get the tractor with the bales all the way around the barn and barnyard out to the feeders, the cows are very hungry and do not wait patiently for the feeders to be filled. It becomes a feeding frenzy with critters pushing humans and other critters around. They have been known to grab the bale with their teeth and pull the whole thing right out of your arms, right out of the Gator or right off the loader platform. So we take the high road.
Each of the three feeders needs to be filled quickly so all the critters have a chance to eat before the more dominant ones edge the more timid ones out of their meal. Maneuvering the tractor between the three feeders, dodging cows and keeping me stable so I don’t fall off is an important job for the driver and I am happy to have such a competent chauffeur during our feeding excursions.