Driving a tractor is not most people’s idea of a good time. However, the fresh air, the great views and bird watching make it well above time in an airplane, subway or car. Our three children, all experienced with the previous three, feel that any ride, which surpasses three hours at a time, can be described as “cruel, but not unusual, punishment”.

However, if your farm life is typical and you are constantly fielding questions about equipment repairs, early or late pregnancies and the latest scientific breakthrough, a little motorized time can actually be a gift. You can get things done on a tractor assuming it is raking, hauling, or lifting in the prescribed and expected manner. Later today, I will get to test the following theories.

Rake Hay While the Sun Shines: Of course you can’t read a book or a magazine while driving a tractor, but there’s nothing stopping you from writing one.  This self-imposed separation from papers, to-do-lists and yes, cows, milking and feeding, is a great space to develop that talent you don’t have enough time for.  What about singing?  No problem with the right key — being “pitchy” sounds perfect on a farm. Reframe what is important in your life from the highpoint of the tractor seat. Seeing the big picture is much easier – literally – from the top of a hill or from the back 40.  Admiring your handiwork (leg and tractor work) from afar gives an entirely different prospective than when you’re on hands and knees figuring out why that fencer isn’t working.

Cruising Right Along: Think about it!  No one can interrupt you.  This is the time to focus on that problem that is harder to solve than the perfectly straight rows you’re managing at the moment especially with no phone calls to interrupt you.  Seriously?  You have your phone with you on the tractor? That is just wrong. This is time for thinking outside the inbox. With a two to three hour window with no family or other work responsibilities weighing on you, you can put all your creative thought processes to solving those big picture problems.  When will you take your next real vacation? It should not involve heavy equipment.  Where will you go?  Again – it should not involve animals. Oh well, perhaps a zoo.  No feeding the animals.  Well…Marineland could make that more enjoyable. The point is everyone needs time to revive and refresh.  Away from the chaos.

Counting Your Blessings: If nothing else, tractor time gives you pause to consider the great things that being a dairy farmer brings to your life.  There go your neighbours down the road to their office jobs, traffic jams and stress-filled eight-hour days.  Granted your days are often double that but you have fresh air (mostly) and job satisfaction on a daily basis.  They’re going golfing you say? Seriously.  If putting small objects into small containers was really so satisfying, everyone would pay money to milk cows for you! Think about it. You’ve got tractor time.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

When, as far as the eye can see, you are the only one working in your field today, who needs anything more?

Disclaimer: No small animals were harmed (or run over) in the pondering of this article.