I saw a strange sight today. Up in the sky, which was strikingly and uncharacteristically blue, a giant yellow ball was visible. As I stood below it, I felt a strange sensation, something rare of late yet oddly familiar. That sensation was warmth, and the yellow ball was the elusive sun that has been avoiding me for months.
As much as I love feeling the warmth of the sun beating down on me, I am unfortunately not able to partake in it with any sort of frequency. Enter the world of the fair-skinned, where slathering one\'s self with SPF 100 is a way of life. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it does not. It typically fails when I fail to apply it, but that is another story entirely.
Since spring and thus longer days are creeping up on us, it will not be long before we are outside embracing the sun\'s rays. A return to duties such as mowing grass and tending crops and gardens is upon us, as is the unpleasant side effect of sunburn. It is uncomfortable to be sunburned, especially as you return to work day after day with skin that is already painful and rebelling against the sun. Avoid sunburns is the best thing for those who work and play outdoors, but forgetting sunscreen is something that happens entirely too often. It is just too easy to drop or lose a tube of it, and even easier to forget to replace it when you run out. Of course, I could be selling others short in this matter when the truth is it is me who cannot get my act together and thus have had to experiment with various types of tractor shade. Since there is no air conditioned cab around here and merely a ROPS bar overhead, finding a source or shade has lead me shopping on multiple occasions. If you are in the same or a similar position, here are a few options to consider:
1. One source of shade comes in the form of a ROP Umbrella. These are usually made of canvas and are coated to resist penetration by the sun\'s powerful and potentially harmful rays. These can be bought with forward and rear tilt features and some attach/remove without the need for tools.
2. Also designed to operate with a ROPS is a Tractor Canopy. These are often made of polyurethane and hold tight in a fixed position. They are easy to install but tools are typically required.
3. For tractors without a ROPS, there is the option of an Umbrella Top. These consist of an umbrella cover, bracket, and frame which mount to your tractor via heavy steel tubing. The mounting bracket is universal but you will probably need tools to affix this device to your tractor.
4. Buggy Top Sunshields are also handy for tractors without a ROPS. These are good for operators who like a wide berth as they come in options that attach to the sides of your tractor. This gives you more freedom to move while still remaining in the shade. First time installation will probably require tools but some models offer a trigger release for easy removal or to make adjustments to positioning.
Now that the sun is soon to become a part of our lives, so will the joys of having it beat down on you while you put in time working outside. Whether it is a day spent in the field or an hour on a lawn tractor, avoid the burn by covering up from above with some sort of protective device. Even if you engineer your own, do what it takes to stay safe and comfortable out there as working with a sunburn is anything but fun.