On the Road with Dave Gohl
Tractors and Farming
by Dave Gohl
I never thought I'd live to see the day, when I could call myself a farmer. What allows me to say this? Well, when our family moved to our 20 acre site near New Prague, Minnesota, I had one thought in mind. You guessed it, farm it somehow. A little history is in order. In my younger days, mom, dad and my brother made frequent visits to dad's youngest brother Pete, who took over the home farm from grandpa MIke. It was the typical set-up, milk cows, pigs & chickens. In the winter, we'd play in the tin shed making a horse out of hay bales and a huge rope swing that we'd crash land into a load of bales. In the summer, it was work, work, work, till you dropped. When I reached an age where I could drive, I would spend weeks at a time on the farm. Uncle Pete always had John Deeres. His biggest tractor when he retired in the late seventies was a model "50". There always seemed to be a model "B" around and a Farmall "A" or a Ford "9N". Summertime always meant baling hay. It was hard, but to me, enjoyable work. Ya know, there's nothing like a sunny day with a light breeze, and a jug of ice water and baling hay. To me it don't get no better than that!
Fast Forward. It's now 1998, and if there was one thing I wanted to do when we moved to our acrage, was to do some kind of farming. Since I had the winter to think about how I was going to section off the land for farm use in the spring, I decided to split it into 3 sections. Grass hay, oats/clover mix, and rent out about 8-9 acres to a neighbor for corn. Good job I thought!
Last fall, I purchased a Minneapolis Moline grain drill for $50.00. Now I thought this was a good deal, till this spring when it was time to plant, I found plenty wrong with this gem. Additional disks were needed, a tinker here and there and it was ready to use to the best of "it's" ability. I purchased oats from a near by co-op, and my new neighbor, Jim Schmitz gave me left over clover and alphalpha. Since this was my first ever "plant", I was more curious on how this was all going to work. It was a Sunday morning in May, I told my wife Barb that I think I'm going to church on my tractor this morning, since it looked like rain. Somehow, I didn't think the Good Lord would mind. I hooked up the drill to my John Deere model "620" and off I went. This old rig had to be watched just like a child. Oats would fill up in the hoses and it was up and off the tractor so many times, it gave a whole new meaning to Preperation H. My cardiologist would have been proud too! It took a good part of the morning to plant, and the rain? It never showed.
At an auction about 3 months ago, I was on a mission to purchase some haying equipment. Let's just say I was in the right place at the right time. I bought another John Deere model "60", a New Idea model "290" hay bine, (or as it says on the unit itself, "mow/ditioner") and a hay rack with heavy duty running gear. Even though my wallet took a "hit", I think I did pretty well.
Today, May 24th, I hooked up that "60" and "mow/ditioner" 290 and off I went to my grass field and see what would happen. This also was my first attempt at this type of task. I pulled the pto lever and I was off and rolling. After finishing the first row, I noticed a novice miss step, I forgot to pull the pin that allows the unit to spread out wide, oh well. I finished without mishap, which was a mircle in it self. At last, I'm farming!
How did the baling go? I'll let you know next time.
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