Wednesday, July 13, 2016
I just love manuals and instruction books. They are my adult equivalent of Linus's security blanket ("Peanuts," Charles Schulz). For two days, John had been sitting out alone in the hot sun and I was feeling pretty guilty. And sad. Here I had a brand-new-to-me tractor and we couldn't communicate. Printed pages in hand, I went out after the heat of the day had lessened to try again. The John Deere manual comes with lots of pictures, too, so I was hopeful we could get a dialogue going. Throttle up, turn the key, vroom! So far, so good. I'd gotten that far on my own the other day, but John had balked and wouldn't move. There is a parking brake lever that wouldn't release. Turns out I hadn't pushed hard enough on the brake pedal. Getting braver, I squooshed that sucker down and, ta da!, the lever released. I looked all over John and I checked the manual again, but I'll be darned if I could find where they'd hidden the speed control lever. (Light bulb goes on.) John is an automatic, no clutch, no shifter. Who knew?! John is in the Rolls-Royce category of yard tractors and I had no idea. Cautiously, we moved forward, and then I got brave enough to try reverse (another foot pedal). Forward, reverse. Forward, reverse. Gaining confidence, it was time to lower the mowing blades on an isolated patch of star thistle where there was no danger of sparking a fire. And, nothing. Huh? Lowered the blades farther and tried again. Nothing. I even considered that the blades were missing, silly me, but what good is a mower that wouldn't cut warm butter? Back to the manual, and discovered what that PTO (power take-off) button was for. With a roar and a cloud of dust, John chomped down a ten-foot patch of thistle in no time flat. How I wish the weather was more amenable to mowing; I can't wait! Flushed with success, I tucked John into his little shed for the night. I think we're going to be just fine. Given John's superior suspension, it's not the same as bucking around on Fu Manchu, but it's good to be up on a big bull again. Cowgirl up!