We’ve talked about switching chicken duties from Boy two to Girl two but height has held us back. I sent Girl two for the eggs the other day only to realize that no one tall enough to open the coop door for her was outside.
“It doesn’t matter. I can do it,” she said.
“How are you going to open the door?” I said.
“I think I know a way,” she said. “If it doesn’t work, I’ll come back.”
Off she tromped in snow pants, coat and boots. A few minutes later, she was back with two containers of eggs and a very big smile.
“My idea worked,” she said.
I walked out to the driveway to see for myself the wheelbarrow she had found and parked by the door so she could climb up high enough to unlatch the door. Girl two is now officially responsible for chickens.
It was the wheelbarrow and Girl two I had in mind when I set out to plow the driveway. The tractor I usually use is out of commission for the winter, my husband was away at work, and I had driven the “new,” tractor only once for a few minutes in the summer. But how hard could it be? I said to myself donning my outdoor gear.
I found the key, found the lever I was 95% sure would make the plow move up and down, and then sat troubled. Knobs and levers have a way of multiplying when you’re not sure what they’re good for. In my particular mind they also take on explosive qualities. As in, I panic that I will touch something in combination with something else that everyone knows that you never do, only since I am doing it because I don’t know, it will cause the tractor to blow up.
Except for the blowing up anxiety, I really wanted to start that tractor. Since he knows very well I’m not that confident on how to drive the thing, visions of a plowed driveway to greet my husband at the end of the day called quite seductively. The thing that stopped me cold were the two gear shifts. Whatever numbers that came with the tractor fifty years ago to say which gear was where or which of the little sticks did the real work were long gone. I quit and went inside.
That is, I quit until I found my metaphorical wheelbarrow. Who knew you could page through photographs from Ford 3000 tractor manuals on the internet complete with pictures and directions? The manual had such a warm and friendly tone that I dispensed with caution. Although my diagram transfer skills are generally weak, ten minutes later, I was outside getting the old girl started. I plowed the driveway, I did not blow up, and my husband was mightily surprised.