A bloggy goodbye

Or at least a bloggy goodbye for now. As is probably very apparent by now, I haven’t been posting here much lately.

What happened? Nothing bad, believe me! My job responsibilities have shifted, though, and I’m spending more time focused on internal projects that don’t make for good blog posts.

Even better, I’m getting to write some great content for our internal website, which is lots of fun, but nothing I can share with customers.

So I’m closing things down on the blog for now. Considering all the things that have happened since I first started posting- international travel, new offices, two moves, some big celebrations, and lots and lots of time driving across I80- who knows what might be ahead.

Categories: Every Day Life | 3 Comments

Agnerd Central

Unfortunately for all you curious agnerds, pictures and details will be not be included in this post.

Fortunately for you agnerds, I can definitely say that some of the biggest agnerds I've had the pleasure of meeting are working for John Deere. I got to spend two weeks talking to coworkers about data privacy in the EU27, satellite guidance technology, code languages, and UI beta-testing.

I was geeking out.

I really do have the best coworkers.


Categories: Every Day Life | 1 Comment

John Deere Waterloo Boy Tractor

Even though tractors have become one of the machines that the company is best known for, John Deere didn’t invent the tractor. The first gasoline-powered tractor was invented/perfected by John Froelich in 1892.

In 1918, John Deere purchased the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company, manufacturer of the Waterloo Boy Tractor. One of these first tractors was on display at the 175th Anniversary event at the World Headquarters. I’m not sure of the age of this specific tractor, but I’m guessing it was one of the originals, as later models were the famous John Deere green and yellow.

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REALLY Old School

One interesting-but-lesser-known fact about John Deere is that we have a blacksmith on staff.

Several, actually. Rick, shown here at the Des Moines celebration, is the main blacksmith, although there are a few others who will support shifts while he is on the road.

Rick usually can be found at the John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour, Il, where John Deere himself worked as a blacksmith and created his famous plow.

Grand Detour is about 2 hours NorthEast-ish from Moline. The site is definitely on my To-Visit list, although I haven’t made it there yet.

Rick also travels for events like the 175th Anniversaries. It’s pretty amazing to watch him transform a bar of metal from something cold and industrial to something much more artistic. And he does it all in front of a live audience, even in 90 degree heat like we had last week. Heck, he even manages to tell jokes while he does it.

I didn’t get to see him make this particular leaf, but I did catch a demo for a similar (but not identical!) one. Pretty, huh?

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A Green and Yellow Party!

I have survived not  one, but TWO John Deere 175th Anniversary events so far this month, one at the World Headquarters and one at John Deere Des Moines Works in Ankeny, IA.

I was a guest at one and a party planner at the other, so the experiences were a little different. I though coordinating speakers for 200 people at a time was lots of pressure till I got to coordinate the speaking for a show like this…

What do John Deere 175th Anniversary celebrations have in common?

For one thing, lots and lots of people. I heard it estimated that each event had over 10,000 people attend, and the event for Waterloo this summer and Harvester Works this fall are expected to be even bigger.

Both events had some great old machinery on display, too. I loaded galleries without much commentary on Google Plus and Facebook,  and I’ll work on getting updates with the stories behind the pictures.

My favorite tractor from the World Headquarters event was this Waterloo Boy tractor. The steeringwas controlled by a chain, the engine ran on kerosine, and part of the floor looked suspiciously like an old board, but it was definitely a recognizable tractor.

Plus, my easily-sunburnt self appreciates any machine with an umbrella.

The part of me that was always lucky enough to run the newest equipment on photo shoots is just amazed to see how far technology has come since then. Then again, my dad likes to point out that things I take for granted were huge innovations in their day as well.



My favorite tractor on display was a John Deere 6030, which is a little surprising since it was set up right beside a good-looking 4020 tractor and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for one of them.

But look at the wheels on that bad boy! I didn’t get the specs on this particular machine (the downside to working the show) but the Series did get above 200 hp. Some of the tractors built in Waterloo now make that look small, but it had to be an absolute MONSTER when it rolled off the line.

Another great part of the events is that they were open to both current employees and retirees. I got a chance to talk with some of the engineers and welders who built the first machines at the Des Moines Works back in the early 50s.

It’s amazing (ok, and a little intimidating!) to think my stories of working at John Deere might sound like their stories some day….

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On the road again*

 Welcome to the start of The Month During Which Tara Will Travel A Lot.

Des Moines. Moline. Des Moines again. Moline again. Des Moines AGAIN, a quick trip to New York for a wedding, then back to Des Moines. 

June is going to be a busy month for me. It’s also going to be a great month for pictures and posts, because part of my travel is attending celebration events for the 175th Anniversary! I’m headed to the one at the World Headquarters tomorrow and hoping to see some great old equipment. 

I’ll tweet and post pictures till my battery dies (on both phones!) and promise to get a more complete blog post put together as soon as I can.

I’m kind of excited, if you can’t tell!




*Just try not to start singing.  Can’t do it, can you? Me neither….

Categories: Every Day Life | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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