Farm life was difficult. Working the land took a lot of effort and skill. The tractor was invaluable for the farm.

Attached to the rear of the tractor was a 4-inch square steel bar on wheels. The bar stuck out a couple of feet on either side of the tractor. It was strong to keep from breaking when plowing, but it was difficult to make sharp turns with the bar back there. The plow mechanism was be used to plow weeds down or break the ground, and to plant seeds or seedlings. If you misguided the plow, it would completely destroy several rows of planted seeds.

Dad (Lester) was such a skilled driver that when he approached the end of a row, he could pull the “power takeoff” lever for the plow, raise the plow about 4-6 inches above the ground, turn, and go back the other way to plow or plant the next row. It was difficult to correctly time all of these actions, because if you got it wrong, the bar would get caught in the fence, or worse.

Several times, when I was driving the tractor, I would mis-time the turn, and the plow would hook the barbed-wire fence at the edge of the field, tangling wire around the plow mechanism. At least one time, it knocked a fence post out of the ground.

When this happened, Dad would frown and say “good night, Billy.” Then he would get to work untangling and rebuilding the fence. Regardless, he wouldn’t take me off of the tractor, he’d put me back on it because he expected me to learn how to do it. This was typical with most important life activities.