The was 1990-something when I was tasked with running a tractor for the first time. Even though it is, or was incredibly dirty, it was good clean work for a youth. This was a time when a thirteen year old was expected to work hard and develop an ethic for it. This is before the internet was common or entertaining. If you wanted to game, you waited until after dinner and busted out the dominoes.

I admit, I'd love to go on and on about how my first tractor was open-air, but I'm just not that old. Sure, we had them, but they were for pleasure cruising, much like Chad & Karen super-couples use boats today. My first tractor had a cab and an AM/FM radio, but there wasn't an FM radio station that came in even remotely clear, so I spent most days listening to AM stars like G. Gordon Liddy. The seat was on a big air-shock, so the ride was decent if a little bouncy from rut to rut. It had air conditioning too most of the time. It was when we refilled that system that I developed a habit of calling all refrigerant "freon." My job was to cultivate the land. That's a technical term. A cultivator is a type of plow, and that's what I pulled that entire first summer in that old big blue Ford tractor.

When learning how to pull that relatively short cultivator, there was an importance put on not overlapping your plow lines. You see, if you're plowing over plowed ground, you're wasting fuel... So you had to figure out a point on the windshield to keep that plow-line and keep it there to maximize your efficiency. Nowadays, the tractor is so tech-savvy that you find a heading, hit the autopilot, and GPS will pull every bit of efficiency out of your hard work for you. Not to say it's easier to farm these days, if anything, it's harder. Equipment costs are higher, pay is about the same as the 90's, it's a wonder any family farms have managed to survive this long. Thank goodness for credit and the individual being comfortable dying with a pile of it left to pay off.

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