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Archive for April, 2009

April 22 is a very important day for our family!

On this day, in 1954, my grandfather brought home a shiny new Ford NAA tractor that he paid $1800 for. His family thought he was crazy, because he bought it on credit.

Now, to us in this day of astronomical credit card debt for lifestyle purchases, this may not seem like any big deal, but in 1954 it was certainly a big deal for my grandfather, who worked a hard, blue-collar job as a night line-switchman for the railroad.

But this is also one of my grandfather’s proudest tales, the tale he tells me everytime he has a chance, about how we took landscaping work in his daylight off-hours from the railroad so that he could make that tractor pay for itself. And despite the disbelief of his family, he paid it off before the note was due.

He has owned that tractor free-and-clear for 53 years, and it has been his workmate for that many planting seasons.

It still runs beautifully, and although it is no longer beautiful by ordinary physical standards, I find it to be a thing of great beauty, this strong American tractor still working alongside this strong American man.

At the risk of seeming tritely poetic, the NAA is the totem of my grandfather: dependable, rough around the edges, strong but worn. Both the man and his tractor have worked hard to pay off their debts and live independently, and both just keep on working and living.

To honor the NAA that my grandfather loves, I’ll repost some pictures from earlier postings.

Here’s how the tractor looks today:

Granpda on his 1954 NAA Jubilee

Here’s what it looked like new:naa

So, Happy Birthday, NAA! I’m awfully glad that you joined our family those many years ago!

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Tomorrow, I will celebrate my 40th Birthday!  Yay! I’m pleased and proud.  No, really, I am!  As my grandfather says, growing older sure beats the alternative.   He also says that any day you wake up on this side of the dirt is a good day.  :- )

Anyway, I’m pleased and proud, but not feeling particularly festive about it.  I am  not feeling like having a party, although I would like to go out to a honkytonk and drink margaritas and dance to country music.  When people ask me what I want for my birthday, the most exciting thing I can think of is gardening  books and new Carhartt workpants for the season.  Maybe a new garden hat would be nice.

Along that vein, Tony gave me  a beautiful Gerber knife for my 40th that will be extremely helpful in the garden!  I love it!  It’s the first really practical knife I’ve ever had and I’ve already put it to good use.

I had hoped that 40 would be more inspiring.  Somewhere in my imagination I had pictured 40 with a trip to Vegas or something more monumental, but in the end, it will probably be a much quieter affair.  Dinner with the folks.  An evening with Tony.

Hopefully I will feel more inspired about the next 48 years than I do about the next 48 hours.  Honestly, I can’t even seem to work up any hoopla at all.

Phooey.  I was hoping to meet my inner wild-child.  Maybe next year…

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I am very sad this week.  Tuesday night, Lia failed to come home at her customary time of 10pm.  She is (was?) a cat of routine, and we could always count on her showing up at the front door at 10pm, wanting to come inside for the night. In fact, she had Abby trained to let us know that she was waiting for us.  And even though we told her so many times that the coyotes might get her, she still insisted, in no uncertain terms, on wandering around the property.

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I think that she sees (saw?) herself as a cat with the heavy responsibility of keeping our home free from chipmunks and volls, and nearly every day she would bring us some trophy.

I’ve hunted through the woods, called and called, and still there’s no sign of her.  I suppose that there being no sign of her should give me some hope, but she was a small cat and coyotes don’t exactly have delicate table manners.

I tried for years to keep her indoors, and she was an indoor cat until about 6 years old, but she was BY GOLLY going to go outside!  I can’t tell you the number of times we [inadvertently] slammed her head in the door trying to get in and out of the house without letting her dash by us.  I think that her odds were about fifty-fifty that either the coyotes would get her, or we would kill her with the door.  And if we actually succeeded in thwarting her escape….well…we had better not have left any laundry on the floor or she would get even with us…

I haven’t completely given up hope, but two days of no cat-sightings is not very encouraging.

So I keep calling, and praying, and hoping, and bracing myself.

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Trish on a Tractor

tractor

Many thanks to my Aunt Joyce for taking this picture last summer! This is the tractor I drive the most often, and as you can tell from the huge smile on my face, I get a huge kick out of driving it!

In case you’re interested, it’s a 1976 Ford 1600 with a LandPride rototiller.

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