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Township Roads- Tractor Driving Lessons


Fri, May 16th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

I was out having fun with the tractor today. My son, Ted, and I had a load of firewood to throw on the neighbors wagon. The most fun for me is watching Ted start and drive the old Farmall H. We have a driving lesson every time we take it out of the shed.

Ted is almost fifteen and has had limited tractor experience. He is tired of hearing of how, by the time I was his age, I had spent thousands of hours on tractors and around machinery of all types. Im sure my stories are immensely tedious for him. My experience doesnt do him any good. Furthermore, I wouldnt allow him to do half the machine work I used to do. It is just too dangerous. I dont know why anyone thought that it wasnt dangerous for me, but I think it is too dangerous for him.

Starting the Farmall is the first challenge. Ted does pretty well. There are several things you have to remember. It needs a tug on the ignition button, a throttle adjustment, one hand on the choke rod, and then a firm push on the starter switch. The tractor usually starts and then dies just as quickly. It is not as eager to start the second time, but it does. Then you just sit there a minute jiggling the choke and hoping it doesnt stop again. If you try to speed it up or move it too soon, it will kill. You breathe blue exhaust until you finally ease it into first gear and toddle out the door.

Todays lesson for Ted was how to back up a four-wheel wagon. This is a challenge for many tractor drivers and it is a challenge for me. I didnt get much practice when I was growing up. My dad was so good at it he just did it. Patience and practice are the keys to good wagon backing. I tried to direct Ted as he backed the wood wagon toward the woodpile. Giving directions is evidently not one of the keys to good wagon-backing. I was no help at all to Ted. I finally did what my dad did when I was learning. I took over and showed Ted how it was done. At least I faked it adequately and got it close enough to the woodpile to get the wood loaded without our having to walk too far.

I made Ted park the tractor in the shop when we were done. He didnt want to do it because he had bumped a shelf on the wall with a rear tire when he drove the tractor out. He was worried that backing it in would be harder. It was harder, but he went slow and managed to put it right where it belonged. That was a confidence builder for him. Next time well try backing th .....
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Journal Writing Project: Matt Ruen

Fri, May 9th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Thanks to all of you out there,  Whove read this column omine.  Ive enjoyed writing it through the year,  The experience has been fine.  This is my ..... 
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Of People, Places and Things: Please leave guns at the door

Fri, May 9th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Is that a pistol in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?   Mae West

Please leave guns at the door.   That sign was on the front entrance of a pizza joint I frequented in ..... 
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Avoid clichs like the plague

Fri, May 9th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Editors note: The following speech was one of several given at the 2002 Fillmore Central High School commencement. It is reprinted here as a reminder that the graduation season is almost upon us. By Emily Torgrimson  The ear ..... 
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Another One From Flaherty: The Trouble with Harry

Fri, May 2nd, 2003
Posted in Columnists

Have you ever taken one of those self-improvement courses? A friend of mine did and he has driven everyone that he knows nuts. He took some sort of course that was supposed to enable him to win friends and influence people and now he has no friends a ..... 
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Township Roads:Chaperones

Fri, May 2nd, 2003
Posted in Columnists

My wife, Deb, and I just got back from the Minnesota FFA Convention. Our sons, Matt and Ted, both participated in the event. They are guitarists in a band named Near-Death Experience that participated in the FFA Talent Contest. Near-Death Experience ..... 
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Journal Writing Project: Eric Leitzen

Fri, Apr 25th, 2003
Posted in Columnists

By Eric M. Leitzen

Anger. Sadness. Indifference. Fear. Longing. This is what I saw on the bronze faces of the nineteen soldiers that made up the National Korean War Memorial. Those faces, so masterfully sculpted, will be forever ..... 
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