From New Eyes

A little over a week ago, Doug Edwards introduced me to a new friend. Jessica Mullen was a part of our group when I was invited to take part in the Shiloh Valley plow adventure. This was Jessica’s first experience to be around antique tractors. During the day, our friendship grew. I was so impressed by how she reacted to being involved to something totally new to her.

Jessica getting instructions before she was in the seat

Jessica has the potential to be a great wordsmith in her own right. She and I have become friends on Facebook and most of this following will be in her words. It’s fun to see that her take on the event has very similar parallels to mine. When I created my recent published piece, I had been multitasking texting with her. I left out some description of the day so that she could share it from a new comer perspective.

Jessica:     When I was originally asked to attend a plow day in Belleville, IL I almost declined. I have no idea about tractors and plows and never thought I would have interest in them. Finally I agreed, thinking it would be great to take a day away from the hustle of life

On Friday, during my first time to be on the Edwards farm, The shed doors started to open I saw the smiles, and listened to the chatter of which tractors were going. I was being told what was what, but I just listened as I had no clue. I was impressed by the collection. The engines started to fire up, that was the moment there was an inkling of excitement starting. Even with me.

Saturday morning, with everything loaded, we took off. Even the convoy of trucks, trailers, tractors, and plows were exciting. Just outside town I realized I had forgotten my phone! I thought for a moment to go back, but said “keep going”. It was the best decision I made.

We arrived at the event, I was still kind of wanting to stay out of the way, yet I jumped in when I could. I watched as this family and their friend excitedly and proudly unloaded everything working as a team. I watched as other tractors were being unloaded. People helped other people when needed. Teams of horses moving through.

Then it was time to head to the fields, and they said “get up there too!” I climbed up on my first tractor only to ride a few feet and be asked to get down. ” Dang insurance!” Rick and Corey were right there with the golf cart so I jumped on and the days laughter began. Everyone was patient with all my questions, explained things and I had a little more knowledge than I thought already.

The first fields we saw were for the plow horses. I was in awe, I wanted to pet them all. Watching them plow was outstanding, their muscles,team work. It was beautiful.

Next came the fields for the guys to plow in. There were so many tractors, old ones, new ones, loud ones, obnoxious loud ones, really cool ones like the tandem I fell in love with.

Jessica’s taste in tractors

Yeah I fell in love with a tractor!

Jessica’s tractor has no steering wheel!

Through out the day I would hop from cart to cart. Sometime with Marcy and Marlene, or with Corey, Rick and Jason

I have to add to Jessica’s narrative, She adapted quickly to her surroundings and fit in like she had always been a farm girl. She did get right in the mix and became a team player. Insurance can interfere, but we did get her back on a tractor.

Jessica:  As the day went on I noticed at many points I could actually smell the dirt and how clean and glorious it smells. Clearly in life I had forgot to stop and smell the dirt! Riding beside the plows, watching the dirt move was almost entrancing. I looked up, at one point, taking a deep breath, and started counting tractors. 1,2,3,….12 I started to smile. Here is this event I thought I would have no interest in, and I found myself fully embraced in all the excitement and this other world I didn’t even know I had a love for.

Finally it was my turn to plow they said….”No Thanks” I said…..That was clearly not going to fly. As I climbed up on the seat I thought ‘this is a bad idea’. Doug stated “just drive and I’m going to the golf cart”…I don’t think so! And then I just started. I was driving a tractor and plowing. All of a sudden it was joy, happiness, tranquility, and serenity.

Yes a love was born that day, the simplicity of it all. The amazing comradery, love, and bond. I was fortunate enough to watch within this group of people I had just met. The way they were all kind and gracious to me, this new comer of the day.

Leaving my phone behind and actually being able to smell the dirt and be completely present the entire day, I was already a blessed woman, even more so on November 4th. I do not know if I will ever be to another event like that. I may never plow or drive a tractor again, but I’m so grateful I went. I would suggest to anyone to go ahead leave the phone, take your family and attend one. This was an amazing location, with a collection and museum. Beyond what I ever imagined in my mind.

I have assured Jessica this will not be her last time to be invited to a tractor event.  She’s no where near done exploring the antique tractor world, unless she really wants to be. My new found friend has great descriptive skill, which I hope we hear more of her perspective in the future. One never knows, she may be seen next year happily waving and smiling her high wattage smile from a red tractor. All though her last quote in the narrative, she may have a tractor of her own!

Jessica:  “Now to quit my day job and just buy tractors!!”

I don’t know, but it sounds like we may have another tractor addict in the making.

I’m going to let Jessica tell about the museum

Jessica:  The museum at Shiloh Valley Farm was spectacular. Not only were there thousands of things to see like old carriages, trinkets, tools, seats and very old tractors. there were two floors of it all, a side shop where the newer model tractors were. The entire thing blew my mind. Where does one find all of this and what is this?!

Once again I was completely present to the smell of lacquer on the floors that was rich through the air. The hand rails were sanded and so smooth. The place was spotless and easy to move through. Even the bridge we took to get to it was cool. I myself enjoyed the old carriages, they were beautiful.

Thanks Jessica, for showing what the event looked like from your eyes.

Marlene didn’t find the bridge so cool, Of course Jim, Doug, and…. okay…. I admit me a little were bouncing on it to scare her. I agree the bridge was pretty neat. The comradery  Jessica speaks about can get silly. Marcy, I still found corn cob bits in my pockets after we all said our good byes for the day!

If you ask, Jessica will also tell you how gracious the Edwards family can be. There are so many families just like them too.

Its nice to envision what a new comer, to the scene, experiences. I’m glad her experience was a happy one. I take for granted just how blessed I am to be a very small part of the grand scheme of tractors.


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