Annual Varmint Warning

Published on: 01:03AM Jul 29, 2017

Time for my annual warning about critters in combines. Today I needed to move a combine in our storage shed, one that I had moved recently. I was in a hurry, didn't take time to pound on the side panels and bump over the engine once or twice. No problems when I backed it out. I was moving other machines, so I left the engine running and the cab door open while I moved the other machines.

When I crawled back up the cab ladder and ducked into the cab, there was a raccoon sitting on the driver's seat. We had a brief "discussion" about whether or not he was going to stay in the cab. He was convinced that  the open door had been an invitation for him to hide in the cab to get away from the engine noise. I was equally convinced that he was leaving, dead or alive.

The debate was settled when he leaped for the cab door, glanced off my chest, then did a swan dive  to the ground and headed back into the shed at warp speed. I remember doing the Dan-version of the Watusi for a few seconds, and recall somebody screaming like a little girl. I'm just thankful he didn't hide behind  the seat long enough for me to park the combine and lock him in the cab. A 'coon locked in a cab for a week or more doesn't sound like something I want to have to explain to my boss.  

Now I'm wondering which combine he'll be hiding in next week.

So as you pull combines out of storage to prep for harvest, be prepared for furry surprises. Make some noise, bang on the panels, bump the engine a couple times before you actually let it start. That will reduce the chance that you'll wrap a varmint around the engine fan when you fire up the engine, or around some separator component when you engage the machine for the first time this year.