Monday, November 25, 2013

Adventures of a Stay-at-Home Mom, Skid Steer Tractor Driving Mama!

One of the things I love most about my that it is never dull! There are always challenges and unexpected opportunities to use my "mad ranch-girl skills!" Here is one of those unexpected opportunities, inspired by a phone call I received from "Handy Hubby" the other day. It went something like this: "Handy Hubby", "I have some extra asphalt from the job site today, I'm sending a dump truck your way. Do you think you can go out and spread the pile with the Skid Steer?" "Me: Um...Yeah...Probably." Him: "Or...I could just leave the job and come home and do it." (He must have sensed a little hesitation in my voice which prompted his response!) Me: "No, that would be silly, besides if the truck is already on it's way, the asphalt will be set up before you can get here. I think I can do it." I do have some minor experience running a skid steer loader, but minor experience in making the machine go and getting asphalt spread out and to look good are two different things! And you must understand, yes, I own half of the construction company we call ours, however my half-owner duties generally include accounting, taxes, payroll, HR, PR, gopher-ing and the like. I am more of a support crew. (Yes, I have my own hard hat, yes, it is pink!) My husband on the other hand is the excavator extraordinaire! He is truly gifted at operating heavy equipment (gifted meaning it's like the machine is an extension of his own body, he so naturally makes them do things I never knew were possible, effortlessly and smoothly, and fast too!) So the hesitation I had came from the thought that I knew I could not do as good a job as him, but I knew I could do it. (When I run heavy equipment there's a lot more jerking and stopping and not so much of the previously mentioned  smooth and effortless!!)
To make matters worse asphalt comes hot and easily mold able, today just happens to be the coldest day we have had in a while, so I knew I had to do this somewhat fast! The other dilemma I then realized I had was....what to do with our 2 year old. It would not have been safe to leave him in the house alone and where the weather was so cold, time didn't allow for finding a baby sitter or the asphalt would be set up. So I grabbed boy and we headed outside. The truck driver quickly arrived and I asked him to spread it out as he dumped it as to make it easier to spread. However when he dumped it, it came out in one big steaming pile. (It was already setting up, Ahhh!) The driver said as he pulled away "you'll wanna get right on that!" "Yep, I said." As I was thinking to myself, now get outta here, I sure don't need an audience! As we got into the skid steer and started it up, I looked out the window to see my dog, Bella, a sweet, gentle Australian Shepard look at the steaming pile of asphalt and then look at me. If I could read her mind she would have said " sure you can handle this? This is more Dad's thing!" And she was definitely right! But here goes anyway! We had a job to do and we went to it. At least my boy had more faith in me than the dog! He was having a great time, he got mama and a tractor at the same time! (I'm kind of his favorite person in the whole wide world. and this makes me happy!) I went to work, immediately scooping up buckets full of asphalt and then moving it to areas on our driveway that needed to be filled in. Dumping and spreading the asphalt. Then I would go over the area with the bucket to smooth and flatten. I continued until the pile was no more. Did I do it? Yes. Was it as good as "Handy Hubby" would have done? No. But I can fill in when in a pinch! (I had the excuse that I did it with a 2 year old on my lap to use if needed!)  This experience got me thinking that there are a lot of women out there, farmers and ranchers (excavators) wives that are asked to do a lot of things that maybe are stretching their comfort zones just a little (or a lot!) And what admiration I have for such ladies! They have been asked to help doctor sick animals (which don't always appreciate the help and chase them up onto the fence if they were lucky to make it there!), asked to drive big scary trucks or farm machinery (and sometimes end up with a truck load of sheep hanging on for dear life as the truck tires hang over a ledge!),  warm and nurture baby calves (even at the expense of letting them bathe in your personal bath tub!), or sticking her hands into a pigs womb to help deliver baby pigs because the sow couldn't do it herself and her husbands hands were too big. I could go on with stories of how rural women continually step outside of their comfort zones for the sake of their farms, ranches and husbands. I'm happy to say that I belong to that group of women. Today's post is dedicated to all those ladies who aren't afraid to get a little dirty or take on a task that may seem a little scary. Do something everyday that makes you uncomfortable! You will be surprised how liberating it feels and gives you a boost of self confidence.

Here are some pics from our asphalt challenge today:
Bella wondering what I've gotten myself into!

The boy (who needs a haircut!) And his tractor driving mama.

When the boss got home I asked him how I did. He said I did great!

1 comment:

  1. hands into a pigs womb to help deliver baby pigs because the sow couldn't do it herself and her husbands hands were too big.kiralık bobcat