To the Tractor Sign

From our house to the end of the road off our road is two miles. It makes a good four-mile run, or walk, or bike. If you go to the bend in the road, where the big puddle sits after a hard rain, and where the yellow-billed cuckoo called one morning, it is one mile, or two miles round trip. And it is a mile and a half to the tractor sign.

When our children were small we would ride our bikes down the road. At first to the steep hill, then just up the steep hill, but eventually all the way to the tractor sign. That extra half mile to the end of the road, past the sign, heads down a steep hill again, which means heading back up that hill to return. Given our children’s early biking abilities, the tractor sign was just about right.

Five kilometers is just over three miles, so going to the tractor sign and back is like completing a 5K. It makes for a good enough morning run when I have to rise early and fit that in before heading to work. Three miles still doesn’t sound all that far to me, but 5K? That’s solid.

The tractor sign is kind of a classic. Tractors don’t really look like that anymore. I mean, some people still drive old ones like that. With care, a tractor lasts a long time. And there are still plenty of old tractors around here. Witness the tractor parade each October in Charlotte. And that hat. I guess maybe some people wear those. They are (maybe) even making a comeback, but still, not really the style these days. So yeah, not current.

Tomorrow morning I plan to get up early enough to fit in that run before I shower and shave and generally get all prettified for the work day. It is pretty likely I will run to the tractor sign and back. I will give the dude on the sign a wave and turn back, mostly downhill, around that sharp bend, over the river and into the sunrise toward home. 5K before breakfast anyone?

Tractor Parade Portrait Gallery

 

The Pink Tractor Makes its Annual Appearance

 

My family and I went to the tractor parade in Charlotte yesterday.  It was the 10th annual event, held on the tenth day of the tenth month.  It delivered, as usual, even if it did start more than an hour after the start time.  But so it is.

I did not have a good spot to stand this time. We dithered a bit before things got started so, while the children were right up there next to the road, I stood behind some chairs that someone had set up and left empty the whole time.  I had a really tall guy uphill from me, in the direction the tractors were coming from. Plus, there were just simply people all around. So I changed my focus. Instead of taking pictures of the tractors, I took pictures of the people driving the tractors. Here is a gallery of some of those portraits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hinesburg July 4th Parade 2010

Went to the parade. Sweated. My son and I waited in the sun while the girls in the family scooted off to ride a float. They handed 0ut candy while we watched the procession. We ate a slice of pizza afterwards at Good Times Cafe. Skipped the festivities. Too hot. Watched the fireworks in the swarm of mosquitoes from the home of friends in town. A good show, especially with the neighbors starting things off. It is hot again today. And tomorrow. Heat wave, baby.

On the Way to the Start

Girl Scout Float

Lots and Lots of Firetrucks...

And Classic Cars...

And My Favorite Tractor...

And of Course Llamas

Even the founding fathers would approve of llamas. I have not doubt.

Beautiful Day and Up Early Tomorrow

Rode the ferry over to New York today. Had lunch, and an ice cream cone, and came back. Swam in the lake (only 59 degrees)–it felt great. A perfect June day. Tomorrow I am up early to go birding. 2:15. I could wait until 2:30 to rise but then I wouldn’t have coffee. No one has coffee to go at that hour so it’s make it or go without. Hopefully I will be successful in finding the birds I seek. Report tomorrow.

TTYL Vermont

One of two tractors, driven by teenagers, headed to New York

Like I said, a perfect day

Halloween Parade

Shelburne hosts a halloween parade every year. There is a lot of candy involved. While other parades (4th of July, Memorial Day, and the like) have discouraged candy tossing (in the name of safety! Children apparently, run into moving vehicles in pursuit of sugared confections), this parade seems to require everyone in it to toss the sweet stuff. My daughter wasn’t feeling well so it was just the boy (with the tractor costume recycled for a third year) and I. He hauled in the loot, despite his inability to bend over with ease, and willingly shared with his sister. Good kid, he.

As with most parades, the ambulance started things off

As with most parades, the ambulance started things off

There were clowns on carts...

There were clowns on carts...

and a paddy wagon of sorts...

and a paddy wagon of sorts...

and this witch cowboy themed float.

and this witch cowboy themed float.

Looks like a stacked deck

Looks like a stacked deck

And get this, after they all pass by, tossing candy all the way, they turn around and come back to toss more. Like I said, lots of candy.

And get this, after they all pass by, tossing candy all the way, they turn around and come back to toss more. Like I said, lots of candy.

Tractor Parade 2009

Last Sunday we took the trip over the hill to Charlotte for the annual tractor parade.  Next year it will be on October tenth, and will be the tenth one–10th on 10/10. The weather was pretty much perfect, candy was involved and the display of machines was impressive. Here are a few shots from the day:

The Crowd Gathered

The Crowd Gathered

The Pumpkin Lady Handed Out Candy

The Pumpkin Lady Handed Out Candy

No Tractor Parade is Complete Without a Sousaphone

No Tractor Parade is Complete Without a Sousaphone

The Band Got Things Started

The Band Got Things Started

This Guy Took the Lead

This Guy Took the Lead

Dressed for the Weather

Dressed for the Weather

Rainbow of Tractors

Rainbow of Tractors

Oddest Tractor Award

Oddest Tractor Award

Over From New York Again This Year

Over From New York Again This Year

Orange Tractor

Orange Tractor

Blue Tractor

Blue Tractor

Pink Tractor

Pink Tractor

Small Tractor, Large Man

Small Tractor, Large Man

Proper Headgear

Proper Headgear

There They Go

There They Go

See You Next Year

See You Next Year

Hinesburg July Fourth Parade, Three Days Late

Hinesburg Firetrucks on the Way

Hinesburg Firetrucks on the Way

There Were Old Cars...

There Were Old Cars...

...and Old Tractors...

...and Old Tractors...

...and a Pinkish Tractor.

...and a Pinkish Tractor.

There Were More Firetrucks, Including This One from Huntington

There Were More Firetrucks, Including This One from Huntington

A Horse (with Graduate) of Course

A Horse (with Graduate) of Course

A Motorcycle Type Jobber

A Motorcycle Type Jobber

Hardware Float...

Hardware Float...

...and Hippy Float

...and Hippy Float

That's All She Wrote

That's All She Wrote

Messing Around With the Tractor

I was home this morning with my son while my wife worked and my daughter went to school.  He had a good time playing, and I played with him for a while, but then I suggested we head and ride on the tractor.  He loved that idea.  He did not want to wear the ear protection at first but then wanted to make sure he had it on while I cranked it up.

He sat on my lap while we drove to the end of the driveway and tried to smooth out some of the holes.  The town put in a new culvert last spring and we have gotten these big pools there when the weather is wet.  We have a few other dents but the ones at the end are the biggest.  I did a fair job of scooping and dragging and lifting and dumping but I am afraid it is just too muddy.  It will need more attention and, really, some gravel.

At the other end of the driveway we have a gravel imbalance.  The snowplow pushes all the gravel to one end.  It sits on top of the snow piles until it melts, when it gathers in piles.  So the broad area where cars park and turn around has deep gravel on one side and bare dirt on the other.  I smoothed that out a bit today.  I couldn’t get to all of it without a lot more time and some care, but it is better.  Until next spring.

My little guy had a blast.  He didn’t mind the “ear foams, I mean ear phones” as he calls them a bit.  Once we finished he went to play in the garden while I made lunch and we waited for his mother to come home.  We had some quality outside time.  He came in for lunch pretty much filthy, and wearing a huge grin.  He did the work of being a little boy quite well this morning.

Messing around with the tractor, I did my best to set a good example for him.  I think I did all right.

Tractor Chores

I managed to get out on the tractor early this morning and get the field mowed. Well, not all of the field, but most of it. I managed to get stuck twice and had to use the bucket to pull myself out of the mud. Maybe 15% of the ten acres is not cut–too wet and mucky for this tractor.

My little boy came with me while I was out there. He wanted to come along so he sat on my lap. The tractor was at the edge of the field, close to the house, and needed to be filled with gas. I decided to drive it around to the garage, where the 5-gallon talk sat. Five gallons of diesel isn’t easy to lug too far. So he sat on my lap and steered us over there.

I was impressed with his steering ability. Maybe all that ride-on car/truck riding really has paid some dividends. He got us around the house without running into the clothesline or the wood pile or the car. I had to guide him a couple of times but really, only a couple of times. If he could reach the peddles he could almost do it himself.

I also turned the compost pile again and we hauled the old fence posts away. We took down a rotting fence this spring and all the posts were hiding, rotting, in the tall grass. We loaded the bucket and I drove them to the far edge of the field. I stacked them in hopes that some birds or other critters will shack out there while they take a few years to crumble. Maybe that is a bad idea and we will attract foxes who will eat our future chickens, but we have no real plans to get chickens so we are safe for now.

I am thinking we can get one more job in before we give the machine back. We have some dents in our driveway that could use some filling; fill them, smooth them, pack them and maybe we will not have to bump our way down the driveway so much. It shouldn’t take long.

I need to get the wood in still and I need to get cracking on making that pie. I should have enough time this afternoon to get to the latter. Maybe I can do some stacking while the pie bakes. But only if I get to it.

Ready to Get to Work, Now the the Weekend is Here

I had a busy week. I put in a few long days. I made phone calls at night, did paperwork after the children went to bed, and rose early to get letters out. I am ready to put down the job for a day or two. Unfortunately, I will have to do some work this weekend to make some deadlines. Actually, I already missed the deadlines but I want to be less late.

We did not finish mowing the field last weekend and the tractor still sits at its edge, waiting to be fired up. The garden is only partly turned. The wood pile is smaller than a week ago, but remains at the edge of the lawn. The front storm door still needs new glass. The compost piles need some work.

So I have plenty to do this weekend. I look at the wood pile every day and it calls to me that it wants to be inside, out of the rain. I need to listen to it. And we need to get the tractor back. It ain’t ours you don’t you know. With the dump run, a trip to the market and the cooking I’d like to do (my boy requested waffles for breakfast, and we need to use those apples in a pie) I will be busy.

How am I going to fit the running back in? I will start rising early next week and getting the miles in. I am hoping the week isn’t as busy as this one, so I can give up a little sleep. Once winter sets in those outdoor projects either need to be done or need to wait until spring. Then I will have some time to run. I will just need to stay motivated once the air gets icy.

We will get the field cut. I will get the wood in. Maybe I will get the garden dug and mulched. I might even manage to come close to those deadlines. I imagine I will do all right if I can rustle up some hot coffee and some waffles. And if I can bake up a pie, I can probably even get that broken storm door fixed.