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Dear John (Deere)

This isn't exactly a break up letter, but it does outline some issues in our relationship. We've only been together for 6 months, but I can't really remember life without you. The other day as I whipped around in the snow I remembered mucking stalls with 20 wheelbarrow trips through the rutted snow and ice which I now handle in two easy joy rides with you. You definitely make life better. And, you're strong and cute, too.

My neighbor and very good friend Carl has a way of fixing things that don't work quite right in a way that makes them better than they were designed to be. He suggested flipping the handle on my tiller to the opposite way it was designed because he could tell by looking it would work better that way. He was right. He's done this with scores of tools and equipment, so much so that I don't know why some of these companies don't put him in a focus group or give him prototypes to test and suggest some redesign.

When I got you (my John Deere Gator) for my birthday, Carl made fun of me. "Green, huh? Not my color." He prefers the Cub Cadets and he paints a lot of his tractors red, each one emblazoned with his name including his middle initial "S" and "Jr." at the end. He's not a fan of John Deere for his own particular-but-unarticulated reasons (other than the color). That said, he's come around. "That's a pretty handy vehicle you've got there." he chimed one day after having made several trips in it. That's saying a lot.

Carl is in his late 70s although no one would guess it. He's as strong as an ox and works twice as hard. But for him to come around on my John Deere is a lot and may represent a softening of his resolve and judgmental nature. That said, I may be adopting some of his "it doesn't work like it should" crotchetiness. What comes around goes around.

Darling, here are my issues with you. I am sure others feel the same way. Maybe there is something you can do to fix these, because then you would be perfect and who doesn't strive in that direction, at least a little bit.

One: The bed of your dump truck has two wheel humps which leave two special little spaces where whatever you are dumping (mostly manure and shavings, which you do NOT want to pick out with your hands) stuck in four small, inconvenient chambers. It would be better if the wheel covers were flush to the side of the bed leaving no crevices.

Two: The tailgate of your dump truck bed does not run the full width of the bed itself and, as above, manure and the like get stuck on the left and right. If the tailgate were the full length, everything would slide out perfectly. Again, perfectly.

Three: This year for Christmas Santa bought me a small leaf blower. I would never blow leaves out from under my beautiful maples. It is not a suburban lawn and the leaves make it beautiful. I will, however, use the blower to remove debris from under the dump truck bed and front seat where your parents have designed SO many crevices and compartments that have no function other than to catch debris and water. All of this is easily fixed.

Honey, perhaps you would like Carl (who agrees with all of these gripes, by the way) or me (better to be Carl, actually) to help you improve upon your successors, the new John Deere Gator darlings, that go forth into the world to help farm girls like me. We are ready and waiting.

With love,

XOXO Farm Girl

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