Second Annual Griner Tractor Ride

The Griner Family Tractor Ride was so much fun last year – we just had to do it again!

This year’s ride was in Grandpa’s honor – and he would have loved it.

He’d be grinning from ear to ear just seeing all his great-grand kids sitting behind the wheel of these vintage tractors .

Scuba and the Farmall

The kids were grinning, too.

And yes – so was I! There’s just something exciting about the sound of an old tractor.  Especially when your surrounded by family and memories.

Sweet memories.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the very cool concept of our family tractor ride, let me enlighten you.

First, everyone claims one of my Uncle Delbert’s vintage tractors. This can be very interesting since each tractor has a unique personality and temperament.

And each driver has a different set of driving skills.

Pedro on red

Some more experienced drivers just jumped on a tractor and took off.  They looked and felt right at home behind the wheel.

Others needed a lesson or two before we started.

And some took Dad along – just in case.

Angel Girl driving tractor

This was Angel Girl’s first time on a tractor – and she wasn’t the only one.

Buddy even got to drive for a little while – with Dad of course.

My Uncle Delbert was everywhere at the same time.

Vance on the DeereStarting tractors, giving lessons, answering questions.

He is a brave man to share his toys with us!

tractor line up

Once the drivers were ready, they lined up at the edge of the farm yard ready to hit the road.

They didn’t stay lined up though. They’d sit there for a few minutes, then somebody would grin and pull out of line and make another pass around the machine shed.

Or two or three.

Soon the whole line up was circling the buildings.

It was like herding cats. 🙂

hitting the roadWhen everybody was ready – and the hay rack was loaded with of those of us “non-drivers” – we started down the blacktop.

It was our very own family parade driving by all the familiar places of my childhood.

Uncle Delbert’s farm. The river. Uncle Dale’s farm. The Anderson place where we lived until I was eight. The Morgan’s.

And then past the cemetery where Grandpa and Grandma are buried,  into town and to the park.

backroadsWe took the back roads home, right to Grandpa’s farm.

It was a little bittersweet to drive in the yard, see those tractors circle the barn and come to rest in front of the house.

It seemed like Grandpa should be there, opening the door with a grin and offering us a dish of ice cream and piece of Grandma’s chocolate cake.

They would have loved this.

We all loved it.

Thank you Uncle Delbert.

Photo credits: Wiggy Photography, Inc. Thanks guys!

The Annual “Christmas at Labor Day” Celebration

It’s very hard to explain to people just what our annual family Labor Day celebration looks  like.

But then every year it’s a little different.

giant jenga
This year we had a giant Jenga game on the porch. Trust me – you didn’t want to be on the wrong side of this guy when it finally fell!

painting playhouseAnd the cousins (with the help of Uncle Rod)  painted the prairie playhouse – and each other.

We even had a Redneck Shower this year.

redneck showerSolar powered and designed by my brother Tim – this was the perfect way to clean up after playing in the Redneck swimming pool…

redneck swimming pool…the river. Which was pretty low this year. The kids didn’t mind though. It was a great place to cool off!

gocart ridesEspecially after a very dusty go-cart ride down the gravel road!

We had our second annual Family Tractor Ride (more on that later – it needs it’s own post!)

tractor ride

And our very special family worship service on the prairie.

prairie worshipFollowed by a very special Christmas celebration, in lawn chairs, outside.

And of course – the traditional walk to see the elk and take the crazy cousin picture on Fort Sumter rock.

Fort Sumter rockWhich isn’t anywhere near the real Fort Sumter.

But then September isn’t anywhere near Christmas.

So I guess it fits just right with my slightly crazy but super fun family who likes to take “making memories” to a whole new level!

Photo credits: Wiggy Photography Inc. Thanks guys!

A First Ever Family Tractor Ride

My family has some pretty deep rural roots and we were able to tap into those roots last weekend with a first ever Family Tractor Ride.

My Uncle Delbert furnished the tractors – a whole yard full of vintage ones in orange, and red and green.

And we furnished the drivers – 3 van loads full!tractor ride 1

It took a few minutes for everyone to find a tractor, for the experienced drivers to give a few basic instructions to the rookies and for everyone to take a practice lap around the outbuildings.

tractor ride 2Then we headed them down the driveway! We had a quite a line up of tractors of all ages with drivers of all ages heading down the blacktop! A little slow at first – until the rookies discovered “road gear”.

Of course my mom got in on the action! She drove “Grandma’s Tractor” – the one my grandma used when she worked in the fields with Grandpa.

Pedro on tractorPedro took to driving that tractor like a natural! He got himself a shiny red one and spent the morning grinning from ear to ear!

Dagmar on tractorDagmar wasn’t going to be left out of the action either! She got to drive a shiny red Farmall that matched her sunglasses – and loved every minute!

hay rackThose of us who were too young to drive – or to scared to try – rode on a hay rack complete with our very own sound system! And yes – I was on the hay rack with all three of my sisters – who were also too scared to try. (But then – somebody had to chaperone those kids and take the pictures!)

tractor line upWe drove our parade of tractors seven miles from my uncle’s farm to my folk’s place where we parked them and took a break for lunch.

Then we fired them up again – and headed off down the road.

tractor ride home stretchYoung. Old.

Aunts. Uncles. Cousins.

Family.

Remembering a simpler time. Honoring our past.  Connecting with our rural heritage. Making memories.

And having a great time!

So much fun that when we finally got back to my uncle’s farm, most of the drivers hopped off the tractor they had been on and hopped on another to test it out!

Buddy on tractorDad’s let the younger ones have a turn at the wheel in the safety of the barn yard.

And even I got up enough courage to get behind the wheel!

behind the wheel

Thanks to my brother Tim – who made me do it and then did all the shifting so all I had to do is steer and clutch and brake. 🙂

It was an incredibly fun day!

Thank you Delbert – for helping us make a memory that we will never forget!

Lunching the Tractor Ride

We spent Saturday at the local park with the 4H Club lunching the Waubonsie Tractor Club’s annual Tractor Ride.

There’s nothing quite like spending the better part of a day listening to the putt putt of old tractors, the banter of a bunch of retired farmers  and serving food.
tractor rideSo what exactly is a Tractor Ride?

Well, first you take a bunch of guys who love restoring old tractors, then you invite them to bring their “babies” to the local park on a Saturday morning.

friendly 4H kidWhile the tractors are all getting lined up – just so – you wander over to the shelter house and buy a cinnamon roll (baked that morning by yours truly!) and some juice or coffee from the friendly 4H kid. (Yes – that’s Pedro with yet another hair style!)

admiring the tractorsThen you sit around in lawn chairs with your buddies and talk.

And laugh.

And talk.

And get up and buy some more coffee or another roll.

And admire the tractors.

And talk some more.

And tease the 4H kids a little.

Then someone will say, “I guess it’s time boys.”

 And everybody gets up, brushes the cinnamon rolls crumbs of their overalls and heads for their tractors.

tractor rideSoon the air is filled with the smell of gas and oil and the putt putt sound of old tractors.

You line those tractors up like a parade and head down the street, around the block and out of town.

Smiles on your faces. Wind in your hair.

You come back hungry and after parking your tractor – just so – you head back over to the shelter house and buy a beef burger or hot dog.

And tease the 4H kids some more.

And sit in lawn chair in the shade eating and talking.

And laughing.

Then you get up and buy another cookie and a can of pop.

And you talk.

And you laugh.

After a while you load up your tractor and head home.

Smiling.

And the 4H kids pack up the remaining food and clean up.

DSC_0205And count the money they made.

And head home.

Smiling.