Hello and welcome to “Cranks My Tractor”! I’m BN Heard and I hope that you enjoy reading my thoughts as much as I enjoy writing them. I grew up in the newspaper business in Alabama serving as the janitor, lawn boy, and part time sports writer.
I’ve owned a weekly newspaper, batting cages, and mail order toy business. I'm glad I don't anymore.
I’ve worked in the NASA world for more than 25 years and taught mathematics at the college level for about 20.
My students say that I sound like Forrest Gump or Jeff Foxworthy; they are probably right.
I love writing and I love making people smile, which is my goal here.
My degrees are all in mathematics, thus I’m not your typical journalist type. I actually think that I had a minor in English; I really don't remember. I don't consider myself a "blogger," but more of a storyteller.
I grew up in the Anniston Star, a daily newspaper in Anniston, Alabama where my father was the production manager. At the time the Star was the largest home-owned newspaper in Alabama.
I worked at the newspaper from 1974 (12 years old) to 1987 when I was finishing a graduate degree in mathematics at Jacksonville State University in nearby Jacksonville, AL. While at the Star, I cut the grass, cleaned the toilets, unloaded paper, and for a number of years got a byline for writing high school football stories in the fall.
I covered the games and came back to the newspaper on Friday nights to have one of the sports staff help me put together the story for the Saturday morning edition. One of those writers who helped me on Friday nights was Rick Bragg who went on to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. I only remember Rick as a friend and a pretty good pitcher for our softball team.
I have worked in the aerospace world since finishing my graduate degree in 1987. First in Huntsville, Alabama then moving to a research center in Hampton, Virginia. I live in Williamsburg with my wife, three children (one at the University of Alabama), and two poodles.
What do I write about? The name says it all – I write about what “Cranks My Tractor.”
Good people, places & things.....
If you read my stories, you'll get to hear about the people, places & things that crank my tractor.
People like my godmother, Phyllis, from Gary, Indiana, who called me by mistake about two years ago. Or Ms. Fannie Lou, the lady from Vernon, Florida, who invited me into her house without knowing me from Adam's housecat. Sometimes, even famous people end up being really nice, too. I've talked to and written about two time Super Bowl MVP Bart Starr, Kenny "the Snake" Stabler and Dirty Dancing's Jennifer Grey.
If you like my stories, feel free to tell a friend or become a fan on Facebook. If you don’t like them, I will assume you will just move on. I wish you the best and hope you enjoy what “Cranks My Tractor.”
I have also written a column for The Washington Times Communities section, titled "B'n heard." Presently, I'm devoting my time to just "tractor cranking" stuff.
Cranks My Tractor can be found in newspapers throughout the southeast, Washington DC, Ohio, Colorado and LA (Lower Alabama). Cranks My Tractor is featured each month in Street Talk America.
If you need to contact me, you can reach me at