The Farmer has a Bad Day

Last weekend was brutal here in MN. The high was -5, and the windchill was -30. And it was snowing and blowing and looking darned near like a blizzard all day long. The Farmer, still on the mend, was determined to plow the driveway. As is often the case, things rarely go according to plan. She later emailed a friend, and with her permission, I’m plunking that email right down here in my blog:

—We’re getting lots of snow. Got 4 or 5 inches from Thursday, and we’ve been getting snow all day today. Tonight the wind sounds like a freight train. I think we’re supposed to get 4 to 8 inches of snow overnight.

I went out this morning to plow the drive with my tractor & bucket, and after 10 minutes the tractor stalled. (I’ll skip the details, but I worked on it for a couple of hours, then a friend who’s a tractor mechanic came over and we replaced the fuel filters and did a bunch of other stuff to get it going again.)

I spent about 4 hours outside before the tractor got better again, then over an hour ON the tractor cleaning off the driveway. When I put the tractor back in the shed, I found that one of the front tires was flat. (But only on the bottom…) Criminygoldanganyways! I tried to find the hole by putting soapy water on the tire (then you watch for where it blows little bubbles), but it’s so cold the soapy water froze…Goldangitallcryin’outloud! So I still have a flat tire that’ll have to be fixed soon. I’ll have to bring the whole wheel in the house to warm up.

Guess what happened next? I took the pickup truck (with the 4- wheel drive) down the driveway to pick up the mail (in the mailbox on the gravel road) because the wind had started to blow pretty hard. The windshield was fogged up, but not the rear window, so I just backed up the driveway. (Pretty smart, huh?) No, huh! It got so windy the snow blew around and everything turned white in the rear window. That’s when I found myself in the ditch part way up the driveway… two feet deep in real pretty snow. (I know! I’ll get the tractor and pull the truck out! No problem!) Except the part where the tractor still has a flat tire. Ohfercrissakesgoldangstinkinrottenluck! So the truck is still out there getting snowed on.

—end of Farmer’s email

So between the broken tractor and plowing and trying to fix the flat tire and ditching the pick-up, Melissa spent over 6 hours outside in the blizzard. The Caretaker wasn’t too happy about this, but she understands that the Farmer gets VERY determined and doesn’t want to come inside until everything is hunky dory, which of course it rarely is on a farm (or heck, anywhere!) So the Caretaker literally stomped outside and grabbed the jacket of the by-now-exhausted, still-recovering Farmer and dragged her inside. Sometimes ya just gotta throw your weight around.

Tractor tire is now repaired and back on the tractor. Tow truck came and got the pick-up out of the ditch. And the Farmer’s been taking naps, as ordered.

11 thoughts on “

  1. Yup, sounds like pretty typical happenings on the farm/homestead. We’ve now been snowed upon more this winter than the past three winters combined (well, almost) and our heavy-duty garden tractor with the blade on it that we use to clear snow just sheared something-or-another. No problem, said our daughter and son-in-law, we’ll loan you our back-up plow to use. That same day their “good” plow truck broke down — a long, cold, mile long hike from home. Now we’ve gotten another 4-5″ and it’s still snowing. But, heck, it all keeps us from getting bored.

    Enjoyed the new post. Keep ’em comin’. HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and Melissa.

  2. I’m enjoying reading your blog, but I am totally puzzled as to why you would farm in the arctic cold like that?! There’s lot of great land for sale here in Georgia. It will be 62 here tomorrow. I got tomatoes out of the garden until just a few weeks ago. I never have to shovel snow. Ever.

    Come on down!
    author, The Crab Chronicles

  3. Catherine…did you remember to count the farmer’s digits after you dragged her inside? She may have left some of them under the plow or truck in that cold.

    And to Dee…we Minnesotans consider easy living a sin (at least the true Lutherans do 🙂

  4. There’s no end to stories about winter and engines….anything can go wrong.

    Yes, Melissa had all her digits after her big day…I know that because she was using all of them to claw at the ground as I dragged her into the house….(okay, slight exaggeration.)

    Dee, cjw’s right—If life was too easy, what would we do?

    Also, winter is an incredibly beautiful season… as long as you’re inside the house looking out, not slogging through the snow drifts trying to reach the sheep!

    Also, some of us need the change of seasons…. although, after this December, likely one of MN’s 10 snowiest, your Georgia tomato’s sounding pretty good.

  5. lol, I just have this image of you angrliy stomping outside to drag Melissa in by the scruff of her neck, complaining all they way! Love and warmth to you both and all the animals, its +4C here and drizzling, no chance of snow, could you send us some, Jude would love to sledge!

  6. Why does stuff like that have to happen when the weather’s the worst? It’s tough enough being a farmer anyway!
    I’m glad to hear that the tractor is repaired and the pickup is back where it’s supposed to be.
    I wish you two a Merry Christmas!

  7. Yeah it sounds like a bit of bad luck. I learned something when I used to surf in San Diego that may apply here..Stay with me..never swim against a current. When in the ocean if you are caught in a current going out to sea you have to swim parallel to the current to get out of it, if you swim against it you will only drown tired. Same thing with bad days. Be wise enough to know when you can’t beat the tide and try something else.
    I have another sermon about working tired that involves the loss of a finger tip if you want to hear it too.

    Get well

  8. Rick,

    What a great metaphor—not fighting the ocean currents totally applies to farming! Me, if something goes wrong, I tend to walk away and hope the thing/issue/problem miraculously fixes itself… Funny, it doesn’t often happen!

    Yikes—sorry about the missing finger tip. I’m assuming the moral of the story is stop before you’re so tired you hurt yourself. I will whisper this message in the Farmer’s ear every day and hope that it sticks.

  9. May it be a source of some small comfort that this entry moved me to laughter–rueful, aye, but laughter nonetheless. We’ve been struggling withOUT a tractor, partly because our farm is small enough to ALMOST get away with it and we like using people-power, but also partly because we can’t afford one. Your missive is a reminder of all the headaches technology can bring, even when we desperately need to use it. I’ve thought of using a draft horse, too, but they have plenty of their own glitches and troubles, and I can’t afford to feed/house a horse any more than I can afford a tractor… so, M’Dear, I’m not laughing AT you, I’m laughing WITH you…honest! Hope things go better.

  10. MaineCelt,

    Ah, yes, tractor or draft horse, tractor or draft horse…both do have their issues!

    You’re brave (and strong) to farm without a tractor, but on the other hand, it keeps things simple. That’s a good thing.

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