At last, I have found an activity to take my mind off COVID.  Shredding with the tractor.  For my big-city friends, this means driving the tractor around the pasture and cutting the weeds, shrubs, and grass with a device attached to the back.  The bush hog will shred small cedar trees as well as the nasty weeds with thick stalks that have attacked my land.

While we’ve owned the tractor for twenty years, my husband would not allow me to drive it.  The chore was his domain, something I couldn’t do, so he kept telling me.  Because of his disability, he finally allowed me to give it a try.  By the time he gave multiple dire warnings about the inherent dangers of running the tractor, I was a nervous wreck.  Unfortunately, I needed his instruction to learn how to drive the thing and engage the bush hog.

He began yelling instructions from afar that I couldn’t hear with the motor running.  After the lecture, I backed out of the barn, nicking the side with the front-end loader.  I won’t even tell you what came out of his mouth—and my mouth.  Suffice it to say it was a rocky start.

Eventually, I got the thing into the pasture and began mowing.  When I passed where I started, I realized that nothing was cut.  More cursing and gnashing of teeth.  The contraption has what is called a shear pin that breaks if too much pressure is applied to the blades.  Fortunately, he broke the pin the last time he drove it.  I was totally innocent!  More screaming and yelling.  The pin replaced.  Back to the job at hand.

I’m proud to say, I’ve now become a veteran.  I just love going out, climbing into the seat, and numbing my mind to the outside world.  Because of stumps, fallen limbs, trees with low hanging branches, and patches of rough ground courtesy of the feral hogs, you must concentrate.  No time to let your mind wander.  Both hands must be on the wheel.  While the rumble of the tractor mutes the noise of the countryside, I still get an occasional whiff of fresh manure and the cool dampness of the morning on my face.

For several blessed hours, I’m taken away from all the chaos in the outside world.

What takes you away from the pandemic?

P.S.  Full disclosure.  The picture is of my husband’s one mowing run this year before he let me try.  Note the dastardly weeds on the bottom left.  My mission is to obliterate them.

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