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A minivan and the hay fork March 13, 2007

Posted by Joe in Uncategorized.

For years, both Laura and I have resisted buying a minivan. We each had our own reasons for not wanting such a vehicle. My reasons were admittedly, at least in part, rooted in vanity; I didn’t like the idea of driving such an emasculated-looking ride. There is just nothing “manly” about a minivan.

The usefulness of minivans became apparent to us a few years ago when we went camping with our Sunday School class. Out of the fourteen families, ours was the only family that did not make the trip in a minivan. We crammed all of our stuff in the back of a SUV; the other families transported their camping supplies in the comforts of their oh-so-roomy minivans. It was then that we first became aware that there is a certain practicality to minivans and that perhaps that’s why they are so popular.

Still we resisted.

Eventually we replaced the SUV with a 4×4 truck. As a family feeling led back to a homesteading lifestyle, being a two truck family afforded us a certain amount of flexibility. If either of us needed to stop by the store on the way home to pick up some fence posts or chicken feed, no problem – we each had the room.

However, in December as we were preparing for Lydia’s imminent arrival we discovered that although each truck could seat five, having a rear-facing infant carrier in the mix made it significantly more difficult get people in and out of the rear seat.

So we began reconsidering the minivan. And we bought one in late December.

Now we really see why they are so popular. Running errands, going out to eat, and taking trips are so much easier when you have a minivan. It’s great. Now we take it anytime the whole family is going some place together.

This past weekend, we made a trip to Alabama. We went to attend a farm equipment sale in Moulton with my grandfather. As we were packing for the trip, we were in a quandary – which vehicle to take? My first thought was to take one of the trucks just in case we found a farm implement that we could not pass by. But on the other hand, it’s just so much easier to travel in the minivan.

Finally, the allure of traveling in comfort won out and we took the minivan. We reasoned that if we had to, we could always borrow my grandfather’s truck to transport any purchased items back to his house and then we make alternate arrangements to get them back to our house.

So, we headed off to the auction. As we pulled into the grassy field to park, we laughed as we realized that our minivan would be easy to spot when we decided to leave. The rest of the vehicles were large farm trucks – 1/2 tons and 1 tons, flatbeds and duallies. Many of them were pulling trailers large enough to carry multiple tractors. We parked our white minivan between a dusty dually and a 3/4 ton pickup hitched to a trailer that must have been 40 feet long.

Once in the auction, we looked around a bit. They had lots of good stuff. I eventually won a much-needed hay fork for the back of our tractor. Yippie! Now we can move the hay rolls around as needed.

But now, how to get it home? Parked back at our house were two 4×4 pickups, either of which could have easily carried our newest farm implement home. But no truck, no matter how good it is, can help when it’s a couple of hundred miles away.

Since my grandfather’s truck was about 30 minutes from the auction, we decided to fold down the rear seats in our minivan and try to put the hay fork in the back. Laura went to get the minivan while I settled up with auctioneers.

As she drove in the gate to claim our merchandise, the guy guarding the entrance stopped her and politely told her that she could not park here. Laura told him that we had just bought a hay fork and we were picking it up. He looked at her, looked at the minivan, and then back at her and skeptically said “Are you planning to strap it on top?” Laura told him of our plans and he could barely keep a straight face, but he waved her through.

When the our hay fork arrived at our van – on a forklift no less – the driver helped me to carefully position it into the back of the minivan. It fit! Just barely, but it fit nonetheless! 🙂

When we returned home, we were even able to wedge our luggage back there among the prongs.

Now I’m an unashamed convert – minivans are great! I’m not giving up being the primary driver of a truck, mind you, but until the kids are out of college, we’ll probably own a minivan.



1. darkwoodfarm - March 14, 2007

I agree — minivans are the way to go. They are so much more versatile than SUVs. But I would also much rather drive my 4×4 truck to work than the minivan; I feel like a man in my truck and a sissy in the van.

2. amazinggrazefarm - March 15, 2007

Well, I think a minivan was the right choice for your family vehicle. Our son bought our truck and we were always able to use it. He no longer lives here, so we are praying for a truck. I am a she not a he, but I would rather drive a pick-up too!!! =)

3. tnfullquiver - March 20, 2007

Our family has had minivans, trucks, and now a suburban. I was amazed at how much we could cram into our minivan. I did not mind driving the minivan, but I always enjoyed getting behind the wheel of my husband’s truck. After the birth of our 5th child, we just outgrew our minivan. We purchased a used suburban. Now I have the best of both worlds. I can still cram a lot of stuff into the suburban, and I feel like I am driving a truck. YEEHAW!! By the way, our oldest son is learning to drive. I sure have enjoyed the feeling of being in a large vehicle. It has brought much peace when he was first learning to drive!!

grace and peace,

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