Oh. My. Gosh. I did it again. I drove another very expensive piece of farm equipment.
It was time to harvest millet a couple of weeks ago to bring it to the grain elevator. One afternoon, I decided to ride along to spend a little time with Roy as he had been gone all day working in the fields. I got to the field and Roy was in the process of moving the truck to the other side of the field. He asked that I follow him in the combine. What? Drive the combine – all by myself? Didn't he see the anxiety ridden version of me when driving the tractor a few months back? And that was with Roy in the tractor with me! Is he sure he trusts me to drive the combine? Since my last “adventure” in the tractor, I was tentative because I lacked confidence in myself, but agreed because it would be a big help, not to mention it would save a lot of time … and if he trusted me, maybe I should trust myself.
Okay, here we go. I took a deep breath and got a brief lesson on how to make the combine accelerate, decelerate, and my personal favorite - stop! Accelerating to the top speed of 6 mph and I have to say that I felt pretty good about driving the combine. That is until I decided to push my comfort zone a little further to drive the combine while operating the pickup header in the front of the machine. Just like driving the tractor, there was a lot going on. I had to learn when to raise and lower the header to be able to navigate the uneven ground. It all looked the same to me so I was glad to have Roy by my side for my maiden voyage in the combine. He was able to tell me when to raise and lower the header so I didn't ruin the crop or the equipment. But that was not all I had to do. When the combine was full, I had to line up next to the truck and move the unloader over the truck bed to unload the millet. That was an adventure in itself. Again, I was glad Roy was there to help me with that.
All of the dust that kicked up when loading the truck with all of the millet we just gathered made my allergies go crazy! When we made a trip to the grain elevator the next day, my allergies were even worse. Back in Chicago, I had allergies growing up but as I got older I sort of grew out of having allergy attacks. I guess my system got used to the pollens and other allergens in the Chicagoland area well enough that my body was no longer reacting to them as I did as a kid. Now in Colorado, my body has to get used to a bunch of different allergens. Luckily there is a solution without having to take allergy medicine as I am not a fan of taking pills – local honey. I am glad that we have honey bees, so I can eat the honey to help with acclimate my body to the new local allergens. It certainly is a delicious alternative to allergy medicine because consuming local honey helps develop immunity to local pollen. It is similar to how allergy shots work. When exposed to allergens in smaller doses, your body builds up immunity to those allergens. So, these bees better hurry up and make a bunch of honey. I need them more than they will ever know.
All in all, driving the combine was an okay experience. I am getting more comfortable with developing my farm equipment driving skills and pushing myself out of my comfort zone more each day. Roy said that all he has to do now is get me driving the semi-truck. Uh … gulp … nope … not going to happen … but that’s what I said about the tractor and the combine and look at me now. We will see how long it takes to get me driving any of the trucks!