chapter21aStrategizing is a skill you use when all else fails or if the problem looks to be too big. Yes, you could call in the troops, or get on the phone and hire the expert, but when you are on your own and money is tight … you strategize.

For the most of my life I have worked with students who have difficulties. Physical, learning, mental and emotional difficulties. Working in this field has taught me many ways to resource from nothing, create from unlikely bits, solve never ending problems and compile many strategic techniques to get the best result for a person with needs, and people who work on the land also have these skills. It’s called survival and tenacity and determination and inventiveness and perseverance and doggedness and …

When I unhook the tractor from the big effluent tank, the jockey leg winds down onto a solid block of wood that allows the large and very heavy drawbar to remain at the right height for re-connecting everything the next time (this was one of the manhandling strategies devised to enable me to cope with this monstrous piece of farm equipment). It meant I didn’t need to heave endlessly on the lifting handle to get the leg wound up far enough to prevent it from gouging into the ground as I towed the tanker around the paddocks.

I had organised for the tractor to have a service and I asked for the tyre pressures to be checked as this hadn’t been done since I had purchased the tractor - the tyres were a tad soft – and, when this had been done, I felt quite pleased with myself as I delivered the hay to the girls in a fully serviced and correctly booted tractor. I patted myself on the back for being a great farmer and doing things right.

Two days later I backed the tractor up to the effluent tank as it was time to empty out the effluent pit and I discovered the linkage was way out of alignment. What matched with soft tyres no longer did with correctly inflated firm tyres – and I couldn’t wind it any higher.

“Call the troops,” I thought … it would have to be another tractor … or a huge jack … or a passing bobcat … or *thinks again* … “What are these lifting things at the back of the tractor?” A bit of a fiddle with the buttons and I figured how to work them. A quick dash back to the barn to get a set of chains and I was able to set up a lift using the hoisting things that stuck out from the rear and, with a very careful bit of manoeuvring, the drawbar eased into place and the effluent tank was connected.

“Great strategy … well done girl,” I exclaimed smugly and I added another not-so-clever farmer lesson (this one on tyres) to my expanding repertoire.

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