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Living with inspiration

From the Farm

April 13, 2012
By Kerry Hoffman -

I was suffering from a bit of writer's block Wednesday morning. No matter how hard I tried, everything I typed into the computer seemed silly and uninteresting.

No worries.

I know where to find inspiration and he was just outside my office window washing a tractor.

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Kerry Hoffman

"I can't come up with an idea for this week's column," I said as I ambled up to Steve.

"So you had to come out here for a little inspiration?" Steve asked. "I know I am inspiring.

I coughed intentionally.

Don't tell him, but it worked. I spent mere minutes with Mr. Inspiration and I had an idea for a column.

You see, whenever I venture around the farm to find a bit of creativity, I always end up getting put to work.

Here's how it happened.

I stood around watching Steve meticulously wash the tractor.

"You're kind of going overboard washing this when it is just going to go out into the field and get all dusty, aren't you?" I asked.

"Zack said the very same thing," added Steve.

Just as predicted, Steve asked me to help get the planter hooked up to the tractor. There was one little issue.

Our tractor folds into thirds for transportation. The two outside planting arms fold forward along the towing bar, and then two hooks drop over that bar to ensure the two wings don't unfold while it travels down the road.

Because Steve parked the planter on a mild slope in the yard, one of the wings came unhooked and he wouldn't be able to pull the planter until it was properly secured on that bar. .

"Couldn't you just hook up all the hydraulics and get it done?" I asked.

"Yea, but then I have to hook everything up and I want to wash it and then take it to Pete's so we can work on that together," Steve added. "The loader tractor is right over in the shed. We can use that to push it back over the bar."

I could only agree. Although, being somewhat overwhelmed by this expensive piece of equipment, I had my doubts as to whether using a big tractor to push on it was proper. There are millions of wires and plastic pieces and hoses.

It was my job to make sure he lined it up correctly and that we didn't wreck any important pieces on the planter.

It was my job to stand between the planter and loader bucket and communicate to Steve, using only my hands and arms, on just how close, or far, he was to the steel piece we deemed unbreakable.

At our house, Steve's hand motions are somewhat of a joke between Joey, Russell and me. I hate to admit it, but we mock him. We can never understand his hand signals.

I was going to cherish this opportunity to show him how unreadable his signals are.

When I wanted him to tip the bucket, I flopped my hand left to right for "tip the bucket." I did that no matter what he was doing, even when he was pulling out of the shed.

When I wanted him to lower the bucket, I grabbed the edge and jumped up and down like I was trying to pull the darn thing lower.

For giving him the direction to raise the bucket, I would go easy on him and point to the sky.

I couldn't contain myself; I started doing the Saturday Night Fever disco move.

Steve just shook his head. I know he wonders how my mind works.

You would think that after almost 20 years of marriage we would have found a better way to communicate. Mr. Inspiration always provides.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at



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