Seeding winter wheat in Montana.

Tippy, Sidehill Tractor Crisis


The last few days we’ve been seeding winter wheat, & I’ve taken a few shifts in the tractor so Farmer Farver can take care of some other jobs that I wouldn’t be much help with.  (Chasing cows off the highway by the South pasture, hauling seed from the seed plant, taking care of some paperwork at the Farm Service Agency, taking a soil sample to send off & have analyzed….can you say multi-tasking?!)

Anyway, during one of my shifts, the part of the field we were seeding was pretty steep.  At least I thought it was steep.  Can you see where those darker strips disappear in that picture down there?  It’s because there’s a huge coulee between where I am in the tractor, & the other side of the field.

Okay, maybe not huge.

But kind of huge.
Seeding winter wheat.

Huge enough that I was nervous.
Wearing a seat belt in a tractor.

I asked the Farmer about it.

The conversation went something like this.
Me:  That looks pretty steep.
Him:  It’s not that steep.
Me:  Could the tractor tip over?
Him:  No, the tractor won’t tip over.
Me:  But what about that sidehill?  It’s going to be really ‘tippy’ (yes,…that’s an official farming term)
Him:  It’s not that tippy.  Do you really think I’d ask you to do it if I thought the tractor could tip over?
Me:  No.  And thank you.  Do I have to slow down when I’m on the sidehill?
Him:  No, you don’t have to slow down on the sidehill.  But you could slow down through the bottom.
Me:  How much should I slow down through the bottom?
Him:  Maybe to 7th or 8th gear.
Me:  What will happen if I forget to slow down through the bottom?
Him:  Probably nothing, but the weeds could plug up the seeder.
Me:  If the weeds plug up the seeder, will it make it up the other side?
Him:  (Rolls eyes.) Yes, you’ll make it up the other side.
Me:  What should I do if it powers out because it’s plugged up?  What if…..????

I hope you’re getting that the man has the patience of a saint.

In case you’re wondering, the coulee wasn’t that huge, the side hill wasn’t that steep, and obviously, no, the tractor did not tip over.  Or even come close to tipping over.  At all.

Two rounds into it, I was surfing the XM radio channels and replying to texts on my phone.

Tippy, side-hill tractor crisis averted.  Marriage blisfully intact.  Farmers Wife a little braver.  Winter Wheat in the ground.  All in a day’s work!

2 Responses to "Tippy, Sidehill Tractor Crisis"
  1. I mentioned once about helping Blondie get started harvesting the summer when I was 15. It wasn’t tippy but coming from the flat land of Minn I was not use to hills. Going up hill the steering was like power steering the front wheel barely touching the ground. Going down hill the front wheels were so heavy I could hardly steer.

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