Have I ever told you that I think tractors are really cool? Honestly, I love them and I always have done. Being a country kitty I have been around tractors and farm machinery all my life and no one understands why, but I am fascinated by it all. When we lived on the farm it was my job to clear out the combine harvester every year. They would take the covers off and I’d spend a happy hour or two getting rid of all the rodents that had moved in over the winter. How fantastic is that? And you don’t need to warn me about oils and stuff because I know those are bad news for cats and I never get even the slightest spot on me. Staff doesn’t know how I manage it and she’s long since given up worrying that I might hurt myself clambering on all the farm stuff.
To be a tractor mechanic would be a dream come true for me, I would love to know how they work. Manstaff and I spend hours browsing through tool catalogues and I’m not really sure which one of us knows the most about all the goodies on sale, I suspect it might be me!
We are surrounded by farmland at home – grass fields and arable land so I get plenty of opportunity to watch tractors at work. I thought I’d seen every type there is but wait til I tell you what happened recently!
I have had the most spiffing month. A lot of mature trees in a plantation near home were ready to be felled, I’d heard about this but didn’t realise what a fun time it would be. One quiet early morning about four weeks ago I heard a deep rumble and felt a vibration through my paws, and of course I had to go and investigate. Imagine my delight when I saw an enormous machine rumbling up the drive. It was MASSIVE! I nearly widdled with excitement! Apparently it’s called a ‘harvester’ and it’s used to actually take the trees down, cut off all the brash (branches) and cut it up into lengths known as saw logs. I was bowled over by the sheer size of the thing and the fact that it had great big tracks instead of tyres. As soon as the driver stopped to have a chat with Manstaff I climbed up to investigate all the knobs and levers and things. Staff came across and warned the driver about me and my ‘hobby’ and asked him to look out for me which he promised to do. The nerve of the woman! If I want to have a ride on the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, then no one’s going to stop me. I’m not stupid, I keep well out of the way of anything when it’s working but when it stops it is mine.
As if the harvester wasn’t exciting enough it was followed by another machine! This one is called a ‘forwarder’ and it went back and forth across the fields to bring the big logs and stack them just outside our garden. Wow! The harvester driver had warned the forwarder driver about me but I was quite safe sitting watching him work and admiring his skill putting the logs exactly where he wanted them. He was very nice to me and, even better, brought tuna sandwiches every day to share with me. When the forwarder driver finished his work I was very sad, not to mention short of yummy snacks.
But I needn’t have worried! As the forwarder trundled off down the drive, an enormous wagon turned up! A huge thing with a trailer and a sort of grabby thing for lifting the logs onto the back. I wandered over to greet the driver and enquire as to the contents of his sandwiches. He said “Oh, so you must be the cat I’ve been warned about!” and to tell the truth I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment or an insult. But since he had chicken sandwiches I decided he was probably ok. I spent the next week or so watching him load up his wagon several times a day, driving away then coming back for another load. He didn’t have a lot of space to work in so I was very impressed with his skill! Staff only drives a car and she can’t reverse half as well as Chicken Sandwich Man. I’m convinced I’d be a much better driver than her!
Sadly, the last load of logs was taken away today so I have no interesting machinery to watch now. I suppose I’ll just have to be content with climbing Manstaff’s tractor several times a day and watching him use the lawnmower or the chainsaw. Never mind, it’s been so busy and interesting for a few weeks I think I need to sleep for a week to recover from the thrill of it all! While I’m sleeping you can bet I’ll be dreaming of big machines and wagons and looking forward to the next time we have some trees to be felled.
PS Do you like the picture of me in my tractor mechanic outfit? The credit for that goes to my friend Thomas Archer, one of the best tailors on Twitter. Thankyou Tom!