Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weeds Can Wait, There's Tractors Out There!

We're out there just giving it all we've got to get the garden in shape for the Red Hat group coming here on Monday.  The weeds are just frolicking around the garden, romping and cavorting. Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to capture the weeds and extricate them from the ground.  Kinda sad to break up their party, but somebody has to do it.

The weather has been hot and muggy and the sweat flows freely, causing us to take mini-breaks in the house, gulping down water and seeking relief in dreaming what our life would be like if we didn't have a garden to tend.  We spent all that fun time exploring other people's gardens earlier in the month, which is something we could do a whole lot more of if we downsized.  But the pesky downsizing is taking a lot of time, too.

Since all work and no play makes Carl and Karen dull people to blog about, I thought I'd let you in on a little secret.  We've been goofing off again.  Look where we went after dark on Tuesday night (yes on a work night....but I made sure to get Carl home before 10:30PM).  

Uh-huh, that's right, Carl and I went to the Fair on Tuesday night!  Oh, this brings back so many memories.  As a kid, we lived for the Outagamie County Fair, it was the highlight of the summer.  My friend Val and I would save up our money and beg one of our mothers for a ride to town.  Then we'd spend a joyous afternoon riding all the rides and having the time of our life.  We didn't eat at the fair, heck no, it was all about the rides. We'd start out small, like the Tilt-a-Whirl and the Scrambler and the Ferris Wheel, and then we'd work our way up to the last ride of them all, The Zipper.

No, that's not the Zipper, but it looks scary enough, doesn't it?  We saved the scariest one for last because if you rode the Zipper first, all the rest of the rides felt like the Merry-go-Round.  (I took these pictures with my cellphone, so Pardon the Blurriness if you would.)
Look at all those people dangling up there.  Years ago, that would have been me. 

NOT Carl, however!  Carl is not into rides in any way, shape or form.  He detests anything he cannot control and continually points out all the rickety looking welds and missing bolts and things he sees as safety issues. I twisted his arm into riding on the Ferris Wheel once in our 38 years together and he literally turned green.  I was seriously scared for him, he didn't look well and nearly crushed my hand as we went round and round, up and down. That was the last time he tried an amusement park ride.   He doesn't mind if I go on the rides alone, though.  He'll stay down on the ground, ready to pick up the pieces as they fall, lol.
The rides sure are pretty at night, and we had such a good time, strolling hand and hand down the midway.  We were way outnumbered by young people, but I felt just as young as any of them, it was just so much fun.  There was a tractor pull going on, too, but we were late for it and didn't feel like spending full admission to see only half of the show, so we just looked at the tractors that were lining up and listened to the roar of the souped-up engines from outside the gate.  It was ok that we didn't go, we both forgot our earplugs.  Dang those tractors are noisy.  I do love a good tractor pull though.  Maybe we'll get going earlier next year. 

For those of you not besotted with tractors, a Tractor Pull is a contest where they take a farm tractor (but nowadays they're modified to have a whole lot more horsepower, heck you couldn't work land with these crazy machines, you'd fly out of the field, lol) and they hook up to a machine called an 'Eliminator' which has a large counter-weight that moves forward as it goes down the track.  As the weight moves closer to the tractor the load increases and the tractor works harder and harder and finally grinds to a stop.  The tractor to pull the longest distance wins.  Sound thrilling?  Ok, so it's not everyone's idea of fun.  It helps if you like tractors, ok, make that love tractors.  And I do.  What follows is a video I found online of a similar tractor pull to the one on Tuesday night at another county fair:

It was better when back in my childhood some of our neighboring farmers would take their regular farm tractors to town and pull a stoneboat (basically a metal sled-like thing) across the ground and there would be men lined up to step on the boat as it was moving down the track to increase the weight the tractor had to pull.  When it was your very own neighbor's tractor you saw working so hard to pull the load, then it was really exciting.  We never took our tractors to town since my dad didn't care to try pulling with our old, littler ones.  It was just a good time to see the neighbors compete.  I'd sit next to Dad in the grandstand and we'd both hold our breath as each man solemnly stepped on to the stone boat as it came his turn.  The tractor driver would rev up his engine slowly but steadily, increasing the RPM's at a rate that wouldn't make the tires spin, but yet give him enough power to pull the rapidly increasing weight.   The tractor would be working harder and harder and the engine would go right down to almost a stall before the boat stopped.  There would be a man with a flag running backward in front of the tractor and he'd wave frantically when there was no more forward progress to tell the farmer to throttle down the engine--that's it, you're done!   Then the men would run out and take the measurements of the pull, and the announcer would relay the distance to the crowd.  Cheers or boos would ensue.  Sometimes tractors simply stalled when the going got tough, or worse, threw a rod.  It was always a guaranteed good time. 

The Farmall tractor in this video is just like the one I grew up driving......and also just like one Joel bought two years ago:
Antique Tractor Pull

 I'd give up a day of weeding in the garden to go to the event shown below---a Tractor Square Dance!  I've never been to one of these, but just watching it on YouTube was fascinating enough, the skill it takes to drive these tractors without crashing into each other is absolutely amazing!  I don't think this has ever been done around here.  Like I said, I'd give up a day of weeding to watch this:

Ok, so enough of the goofing around, we have weeds to pull.  But tomorrow is another Big Deal......the Symco Thresheree and there will be a huge tractor parade and and and............well......guess where I'm going?? 

Something tells me we may have Mad Hatters running around in a weedy garden come Monday.


Sue said...

Looks like you had a fun time! Hubby and I aren't much for rides. We prefer the food vendors. It's kind of nice once in a while to defy the doctors and eat all that JUNK. Of course, we pay for it later. Oh, to be young again!

I'm pretty certain (positive, actually!) that your garden is going to absolutely floor the Red Hats---they're NOT going to notice a weed. Trust me on this!

Sandy said...

Oh it's been a long time since I've been to a Fair... I remember going to a few back in Illinois but not many. A Fair at night can be exciting with all the lights and people. So glad you and the hubby had a great time.
The "Red Hat Ladies are coming so
back to the weeds!

Darla said...

I'm with Carl on the Fair rides! Tractor pulls were a family affair when I was, so much fun!

Anonymous said...

I never saw a tractor pull, but my favorite was tractor dancing. I remember doing something like that with horses, but it is hilarious with tractors. Thanks for videoing the tractor events, Karen.

Barbara Rosenzweig said...

You've certainly earned your goofing off time!!

HolleyGarden said...

It's been a while since I've been to a fair - you make it look so enticing! Pretty lights. I'm impressed with the tractor square dance. Never heard or seen anything like that before! You work hard in your garden, you deserve some time off. Every gardener has weeds, and it will come as a relief to the Red Hat ladies that your beautiful garden has some, too!

Alison said...

What fun it was watching that tractor square dance! I've never seen a tractor pull. We had county fairs when I was growing up, but all I was ever interested in was the rides.

Great reminiscences of your time growing up, running around the fair to go on all the rides with your friend. For some reason I'm willing to go on a roller coaster but not a Ferris wheel, so I sympathize with Carl.

You totally deserve some time off from the weeding. Was it your son David who recently said you don't know how to relax? He was wrong!

The Dutch Baker's Daughter said...

The Outagamie County Fair is the best! It has been so many years since I've I have the Minnesota State Fair to go to. But the memories! Cheri and I would get a lift in on her dad's milk truck (after we made some money washing dishes in her family's restaurant). The rides were great back then, but I can't do them anymore. We lived for the fair back then....thanks for bringing back some memories. :)

El Gaucho said...

There's really no debate in the pull weeds vs. go to the fair debate. Weeds are so nice and patient that they're more than happy to wait for you to come back from your fun times.

Rosemary said...

When you play you find the most interesting places and things to see and do....Been years since I have been on a fair ride, somehow that joy I can easily pass on now....I am a Red Hatter and I am sure the ladies will enjoy the garden even with a few weeds, shows how human every gardener is, sometimes the weeds do get ahead of us, besides playing is important too.

Beth said...

Loved the photos of the fair! It brings back memories, and causes me to think ahead to our upcoming state fair. I don't do rides either, Carl...I used to but I am not as brave as I used to be! But the fair is much, much more than rides!
Blessings, Beth

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Karen, Oh, how you make me look forward to our local fair at the end of August. We have the rides, tractor pull, etc. too. Can't wait. P. x

Dandelion and Daisy said...

I miss going on the rides but not enough to go, I'll just watch..thank you! I do love the County Fair. Our grandson is raising goats as a 4H project, so he will be staying at the fair for one week in August. So, I guess I'll take "Gramps" and we will go see the fair...the food, the animals, the displays, the arts and crafts...they have it all.

Zoey said...

You brought back so many memories, Karen. I also lived for the county fair and I loved all the same rides. My hubby, like Carl, does not do rides. When we were dating we went to fair and he agreed to ride the tilt-a-whirl with me.

It was not a good idea. He got sick and deposited his freshly-eaten Elephant Ear all over the ride. The worker had to stop the ride to let him off. The poor guy. I no longer ask him to ride anything. I am not even sure if I could take the rides anymore.

I hope you take pics of the redhatters oohing and ahhing over your gorgeous garden today. I do love to see your garden tours.

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

Oh, my goodness, that tractor square dance is hilarious!!! I'm sure you'd not only like to see one, you'd like to drive in one, wouldn't you? Who knew tractors were so agile :-) Thanks for the good laugh.

joey said...

How fun! It's been years but I love the fair! It's fun to be a kid again :)

Pamela Gordon said...

Hi Karen, thanks for visiting and leaving a comment today. It looks like you had fun at the fair. The Fredericton Exhibiton takes place the week after Labor Day with a fair ground full of rides and games plus garden exhibits, cattle and horse shows etc. It's a fun place to go and I hope to do so this year as it's been a few years since I've gone. Blessings, Pamela