Songs I sing on the tractor (they’re not country)

tractor brush-hogging the field

Whenever I’m scared, I sing.  

It’s always the same song that comes to mind first, always the same words evoking what I need to steady myself:

“Love, love, love.  Love, love, love.  Love, love, love, love, love….”

(do you know it, yet?)

“There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.  There’s nothing you can sing that can’t be sung…”

These words and rhythm set into mind as I brush-hogged the field last week.  It’s been three years since sheep grazed our 6 acre pasture, and without them, annual mowing keeps the land open.

In the past we hired our neighbor to mow, but we finally bought a tractor this year.

I’ve never liked tractors very much.

There’s the engine noise, blocking out birdsong.  There’s the metal heft of it.  Then there’s the imprint of my first farm job, where each time the engine started up my boss would call out, “Okay, we have all increased our chances of injury or death by 200%.”  As a seasonal employee then, I didn’t drive the tractor.

Eventually I did learn how to drive tractors on a subsequent farm, though their land was flat.

Driving a large tractor on our hillside farm takes some getting used to.

The roll-bar and seat belt add safety, but it’s the singing that calms me.  Eventually that opening refrain morphed into the Elephant Love Medley from Moulin Rouge, and then into Your Song, both the movie and the Elton John version.

And because I can’t hear anything above the noise of the tractor, no one else can, either.  I sing out loud, missing all the high notes without care.

Before I began Edge reassured me, “You’re not going to tip over anywhere on this slope.  Except maybe there.”  So when I got there I went back to the Beatles, readjusted my direction, and took it slow down the slope instead of across it.

Love, love, love.  I did it.

Eventually, I relaxed.  I even enjoyed it.  The scent of goldenrod, asters, and fleabane washed over me as I mowed; fallen apples filled the air as I traced along the old apple tree that juts out on the western border.

As I breathed it all in, I thought about trust.

Trusting myself to do something uncomfortable.  Trusting Edge, who went through all the steps with me.  Trusting the land and the conversation between slope, tractor tires, and myself.

But more than that, I thought about how it’s the same in any situation.

“All you need is love” has played in my head more times than I can count, reassuring me, deepening my breaths, helping me move beyond fear.  When I forget to sing, I stand locked and uncompromising.  When I remember, I soften and open up.

It took three evenings to mow the field.

The vegetable field still demands most of our daylight hours: preparing beds, transplanting fall and winter crops, harvesting, and so on.  But each evening I jumped on the tractor more ready than before, and mowed into dusk, singing.


Tell me, what do you do when you’re scared?

Do you sing, too?

Share your song in the comments below, and we’ll create an unstoppable playlist 🙂

4 thoughts on “Songs I sing on the tractor (they’re not country)”

  1. I grew up on a farm. My father worshipped at the alter of John Deere, and named his tractors. (Little John. Big John, etc) My sister and I (two girls) were not allowed to drive them. The two boys were taught to drive them from toddlerhood. (Not kidding here. I remember my brother driving alone at age 3, with a load of hay behind him. )
    At 62, my feelings about tractors are loaded. My husband handles our big tractor with mower, but I am thinking it is time I learned. Power tractors and tools literally empower women to farm. Caution and respect for that power is a very healthy thing. Blind terror? Not so much. But I may hum your song if I ever get to drive our alone!

    1. Wow, I can’t imagine my 4 year-old driving our tractor! I’ve had my share of breakdowns around machinery, and the breakdowns always frustrate me. But you’re so right when you say that tractors and power tools empower women to farm. So I keep humming, too.

  2. I’m 60 years old and I just learned how to use a power saw. Loud machines have always been intimidating to me.
    You are way ahead of the game getting on that tractor. You’re an inspiration to me. I’ll have to start with the mower, but, if my husband ever gets off of it, I’ll try that tractor. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you! If I didn’t start a farm, I’m not sure I’d ever approach a power saw, tractor, or any machine aside from a computer. But once I get past the fear, I find I really enjoy it. Even though I brush-hogged our field, I have yet to drive a regular lawn mower (but that should be easy now!)

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