My husband’s in love with a tractor

FOR a vegetable farmer, the only view better than a paddock of healthy carrots is one which includes a tractor.
When I lived at Main Beach on the Gold Coast – it seems a lifetime ago – there used to be a fellow who regularly caught my eye.
He drove an ageing Ferrari (bright red) and always sought to park the love of his life outside whichever café he was posing at that day.
If a prime park was not available, he would often jump up from his café seat the minute one became vacant, leave his man bag and cigar on the table and rush off to move his Ferrari to the new, more prominent, parking spot.
How sad, I thought at the time, he’s in love with his car.
Fast forward 10 years and I now realise it’s a ‘man thing’. If Tedder Ave was wide enough to take a John Deere, Mr Bean wouldn’t think twice about taking his beloved tractor for a spin down the coffee strip.
Farmers, like the Ferrari driver, are not happy unless their tractor is parked in close proximity to them, preferably somewhere where it can be seen from all vantage points – toilet, kitchen, TV room.
It’s always been a sore point with me – I mean really who wants a great big noisy dust creator parked outside their house?
Not me; I told Mr Bean this very early in our relationship.
‘Don’t assume I’ll be one of those farmer’s wives who will tolerate tractors at the front door, harvesters at the back door and a work shed around the side,’ I told my husband during our compulsory pre-marriage counselling workshop.
When we celebrated five years of wedded bliss – well five years of marriage – it became clear that the tractors had finally won.
It happened last year when we filled in at the Bundaberg farm Mr Bean has a share in so the farm manager could take a long-awaited holiday.
He and his wife had bravely opened their house to us – little Beans included – for our stay.
They had been warned to ‘hide anything you care about’ from the rough hands of Baby Bean and Little Bean who wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of the Super Nanny.
Mr Bean travelled ahead of us, arriving a few days early to make the ‘handover’.
He rang home and it was obvious he had found new love. The Bundaberg farm is bigger, better and more challenging than anything he’s experienced at home and he was in heaven.
The peace, the views, the soil, he gushed.
‘I’ve never seen soil as good as this,’ he droned on and on.
It didn’t take long to see why my husband was so enamoured with our home away from home.
The house was located in a prime position – 20 metres from the work shed, 30 metres from the tractor shed, 50 metres from the chemical shed and with a 270degree view of the crops.
There were carrots, onions and sugar cane as far as the eye could see.
He was in heaven. I was in hell.
Mr Bean rose early each day, threw on his work clothes and said, ‘I’ll just duck out and get the guys started and then I’ll be back for breakfast.’
We were lucky to see him again by 10.30am.
When he did make it home he was usually accompanied by a group of working men, all of them looking at me expectantly.
Turns out that the farmer’s wife is meant to provide smoko for the hungry men.
Trish – the farm manager’s wife – is an awesome cook of great repute. I am not.
However it seemed rude to offer nothing, so I raided the pantry and thanked the good people of Arnotts for the assorted creams.
In the house we were kept company by the constant chatter on the two-way radio as Mr Bean and the farm staff discussed the merits of various farming methods.
The warmer Bundaberg climate has allowed Mr Bean and his colleagues to make a foray into some new crops – soya beans and peanuts – a decision which has brought many headaches.
Peanuts, it turns out, are difficult things to harvest – particularly for the first time – and Mr Bean spent much of our week up north studying the finer details of ‘peanut fluffing’.
This, for the uninitiated, is not what one does when they have consumed too many peanuts. Peanut fluffing is the term given to the process undertaken after the peanuts have been dug from the ground.
A second machine – the fluffer – travels over the peanut bush and ‘fluffs’ it with little metal fingers, moving the peanuts to the top of the bush where they dry and wait to be picked.
After much experimentation Mr Bean was finally satisfied that the fluffing was going well and he agreed we could return home to our lovely house which is nowhere near a tractor shed.
Since we’ve been home he’s resisted the urge to park the tractor in the carport, although I notice Baby Bean and Little Bean’s ride-on tractors have been parked in my kitchen most of the week.
Might be time to issue a few parking fines.

  • Jenny Jenner

    I knew in the worst possible way that i was definately a farmer’s wife when the fertiliser spreader was unhooked from the tractor onto the rear pergola of our lovely new house. I can cope with the crops being not 20m from the front and rear doors, but really walking around the fertiliser spreader in the pergola was a bit much!!