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Twelve Days of Giveaways DAY TWO


Today Linda McMaken is stopping by! She's giving us the lowdown on how she came up with the "tractor" scene in her novel, Baer Truth! Be sure to enter for a ebook copy of Baer Truth and a cool book necklace!

The Tractor Ornament

Abby, my heroine in Baer Truth, has a little "tractor incident," that was inspired by her creator, me. Readers have asked me where this scene came from and I've lied, I've invented, I've shrugged, because I really didn't want to admit it came from a real life moment. So, here goes the truth, gulp.

As a young mom I was offered a job mowing area fields and roadsides by a local farmer, I'll call Bill. I was a country girl and did know how to drive a tractor, so how hard could mowing with one be? It was a great job. I could mow when I wanted, go home to the kids anytime.

Bill's idea of tractor mowing instruction was: "here's the tractor, it's full of fuel, flip this lever to engage the PTO and mow." With that, he went to his tractor and left me in the middle of a 400-acre field. I knew tractors, albeit smaller tractors. I was tough, I was woman, I could do this.

Starting the tractor - check - I got that. Using the clutch, that was a cinch. Engaging the PTO, piece of cake. Circling a tree – I so didn't get that.

I didn't pay any attention to that 7-foot wide bush hog trailing along behind me and it didn't exactly flow around a tree. I must have taken the lives of twenty trees with that bush hog before I realized what I'd done. Every new little sapling that had been lovingly planted was now only tiny spots of mulch in a vast field of grass.

When Bill came back to get me to break for lunch he stood beside those little spots of mulch, looked at me and said, "don't you know how to square off with a tractor?" Then he looked across the field I'd mowed and said. "Are you drinking or on something?"

I was aghast. "No! Why would you even think such a thing?"

"Get off your tractor, stand here, and look down that field." Well, there wasn't a straight row of mowed grass to be found. It seemed I was "tacking" to the right, and mowing in a very nice 30 degree arc. Bill shook his head, snorted and said. "Remind me to never let you plant my corn."
I told him I was being creative and making crop circles. My mowing became the stuff of morning coffee jokes at the local cafe where the farmers gathered.

Which however, wasn't as bad as what happened the following day.

We have a Renaissance Faire in the area where I live and we mowed the field where they park cars for the event. It's huge 200-acre field of scrub inhabited by rabbits, groundhogs and as I discovered, big-a** snakes. Seriously, there must be nuclear waste buried out there somewhere, because as I was mowing along, I saw this huge 100-foot long snake slither in front of my tractor.

Being a country girl, worms, spiders, bugs they don't bother me. Snakes however, well, that's an entirely different thing, and this reptile was out of my worst nightmare. The thing lunged toward the tractor, it's head rearing up like fanged coiled spring.

You should understand - I am on a big tractor that stands roughly six-foot above the ground, pulling a bush hog, a mower that is about seven-foot wide with multiple cutting blades under it.  Yet when I see this Anaconda rear it's head (it seriously looked that big) I jumped to my feet on the tractor seat, screaming like one of those chicks in a bad horror movie.

It screamed so loud Bill heard me over two running tractors and came crashing across the field thinking I'd been swarmed by bees or was having a seizure.

I'm screaming, "Snake, Snake!"

He points to my bush hog and says, "Run over the damn thing."

I'm still screaming, shaking my head no, so he makes a pass in front of me trying to run over the thing and he misses it. The snakes head pops up, it's hissing, and jumping, and coiling up. By this time my screams are breaking the sound barrier because I know this snake on steroids is seeking me out and is going to bite me, squeeze me or whatever those wretched things do.

At this point, my tractor is plotting its own course across the field, with me half squatting, half standing on the seat screaming, and Bill is swiping back and forth trying to bush hog this snake, who is not about to be mowed over by anyone.

Suddenly, I came to a clanging stop against a metal farm fence post and was thrown off the tractor into a wet, gunk-filled ditch where a pack of hungry blood sucking mosquitoes and chiggers attack as though I was their last meal.

By now, performers and vendors at the faire were in the field, all dressed in Renaissance clothes
which made the day even weirder. They all look terrified as I'm sure they were thinking someone was being murdered in a horrific way right out of CSI. Bill was making circles in the field on his tractor, his head snapping around like it was on a stick trying to bush hog that snake, and I was trying to climb over the fence and shut off the tractor.

After repeating the above to my loving family they gave me a )(*()&) tractor ornament. Merry Christmas!!!

Be sure to check out Linda all over the web!

Linda is the Senior News Editor for Reader's Entertainment News, scriptwriter for COS Productions (booktrailers) and writes for many other print and online publications.

She is also the author of a humorous romantic comedy trilogy set in Wyoming. Her first book Baer Truth - Book One of the Three Baer's Trilogy (where a vegetarian punk rocker finds herself stranded in the middle of Wyoming beef country) was released last year to 5-star reviews. The second book in the series, Baer Necessities has also garnered 4 and 4 star reviews. She is also the author of The Granite Rose, an historical set in ancient Rome.

You can find Linda online at:

Her books can be found at:



  1. I mowed over a snake once, as I walked along. I used to call them Sneaks. When my daughter was two years old, we went to a petting zoo and I asked the guys to bring out a nice big sneak and set it on my lap to help me get over my fear of them. That is how I beat it. I used to be so afraid of them that I could not touch a magazine picture of sneaks!! Years later, we even had a pet one, which I handled and fed. I so understood your words! Oh, and at least you mow.

  2. LOL Shado, good for you! I'm ok with them as long as I know where they are, but Oy! when they 'sneak'up on you can see it isn't pretty! I love mowing, but not the reptiles so much! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I don't mind snakes as long as they are "over there ". Same with mice /rats. Had a mouse get into my apt. I screamed, scared it so bad it jumped onto the glue trap thing on it's own. I climbed up onto a chair and didn't get off til my boyfriend got rid of it. He was laughing at me and I, of course, didn't think it was funny!

  4. This was such a hoot and made me laugh so much my sides began to ache.
    Starting the morning with a bout of uncontrollable laughter is a gift.
    I loved this story and could so relate! I had a similar incident when I lived on a kibbutz in Israel On the basis of how much you made me laugh, I have to read this book!

    Thank you for a wonderful beginning to my morning.

  5. Last summer I thought I would be nice & mow the lawn for my hubby, so I get on the tractor and start zoomin around, when I come around to the house I want to get real close to the porch, forgetting about the big bucket on the back.(oopsie). Well when I swung around said bucket hit big post and broke it right in half. I almost died. I called my hubs to tell him, he wanted me to take a pic and send it to him. He must have showed some people at work because the next time I talked to him he thought it was pretty funny. (Thank god). Needless to say I don't help with the mowing anymore.

  6. LOL, Nova! That is my SIL, she is terrified of mice. They don't bother me, in fact my friend has a pet Rat named Sidney - he's cute. Just those....gulp, snakes.

    @Roberts - I'm so glad I could start you're morning with a laugh! That makes me feel better! I hope you like the book, thank you. Do they have those BIG ol'snakes in Israel too??

    @Kim I'm glad it ended well and with laughter. You should hear about my mowing with Tom Clancy and how audio books are a danger! I can so relate. You'd think by now, no one would let me mow!!

  7. Oh my! So funny! I love this story!! And, I wouldn't sooo been the same way! I'm a country girl, but I'm not good with driving a tractor around! :)

  8. I ran over a green grass snake on a lawn tractor once. The creature was a thing of beauty, like a slithering emerald, I kid you not. Fortunately for it, all the tractor did was throw it into the road, and it made good its escape.

    1. They are beautiful, and as a gardener I know how good they are for getting yucky pests, but this thing scared the crap outta me and they way it jumped, ooohhhh. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Reading your story made me laugh and shudder at the same time. I hate snakes! I found a baby snake in my house one time and was ready to move out. Instead, settled for just killing it and going down the dollar store buying every box of moth balls they had on the shelf to throw under the house. My house smelled like moth balls for a while but I never seen another snake after that. The smell I could live with, snakes I cannot.

    1. LOL, I can relate - when we were first married we rented an old farm house and it had a black snake that was a tenent in the cellar. Mothballs work!!!! Needless to say, nothing was stored in that cellar! Thanks for coming by!!

  10. And thank you!! I just seen that I won day one's giveaway!!! I'm sooo excited!! :)

    1. Whooo! Congrats! I hope you like my Baers!!!

  11. I lived in Texas for a few years and saw more snakes than I care to think about. Lots of rattle snakes! I am not a fan.

    1. They have BIG and MEAN snakes in Texas! Eww! This was probably a rat snake - big, mean, but not poisonous. Thanks for dropping by Jean.

  12. I wear cowboy boots a LOT and we had come home from church and I immediately went to get my boots. The boot wiggled in my hand before I put it on so I dropped it. A SNAKE slithered out!

    1. EWWW! I'm glad I had a tractor between me and it. Can not imagine in my cowboy boot!!!! Thank you for hosting me today Tonya. Merry Christmas.


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