Monday, January 2, 2012

The Omen of 2012

  Maybe the name of this post should be....
  • Don't try this at home...
  • Oops!
  • I was just saying....
  • Holy Shit! What did I do?
Even better, a text shot off early in the afternoon commented on how sore I was going to be this evening from the frenzy of farm work in preparation for the Arctic blast about to envelope the farm for the next few days. Bedding for over a hundred animals covering six different species at the tail end of a holiday when family is in from out of town takes on urgency as well as orchestration. Stock tank heaters are my best friends. Ruminants get extra hay to keep those big brew vat bellies working while everyone is nestled all deep in their warm Triticale straw compliments of Pecan Meadows. Patagonia gift certificates and Muck Boots for Christmas? Oh, my family knows me well and loves me.

Gearing up for extreme weather at the farm, whether it be searing triple-digit temperatures with oppressive humidity or the stinging, bitter cold that dries out ones' skin as to create a pale dust like that of plaster demolition, is hard work. I contemplated calling in back-up, but opted to tackle my to-do list solo.

"I'm not going to do any large-scale animal handling or farm chores by myself," I professed only hours previously. And when it came time to ensure that everyone had bedded shelter from the elements, I resorted to my IH 444 for assistance moving portable shelters behind the shelter of tree breaks. After all, I should use my tractor instead of hurting myself.

While I'm at it.....

Nothing sucks more than livestock getting loose during inclement weather so prior to those days that the weatherman says is going to be batshit miserable to both man and beast, I take inventory about the farm that could lead to my four-legged employees roaming the 'hood. They may not mind the cold, but chasing down the herd when the air outside gives you an ice cream headache is definitely on my not-ever-to-do list.
 Since the number one culprit tends to be dead trees falling down on the fence, I try to pre-empt disaster by removing vertical dead pine trees in proximity to the fence lines. Seeing three dead devils woefully listing aft, I thought I'd kill a few birds with one stone while the tractor was in the area.
 "Give me a chain and my IH 444 and I can move the world," I used to say. 
No more. 
Farming accidents happen fast...really fast. 
As you can see, the remaining two trees are leaning aft. The one that is wedged between the wheel fender and bucket armature was in a similar position. A chain around the base attached to the 3-point hitch. Second gear should jerk those shallow roots clear of the soil. 
But before I could hit the clutch and break, the tree pivoted toward the tractor and came crashing down only inches from my head. 
Oh shit.
Oh, big shit.
Over the years I've pulled out, pushed over and lifted many dead pines with my beloved little diesel tractor, but iron & engines are dangerous no matter if they're a top drive on an offshore oil rig or a forty-six year old tractor tooling around in the dirt.
Today was a big reality check, the kind that roll out the black and yellow caution tape from the edge of the gate to the bridge. 
Reality bites.

1 comment:

  1. Thank God for close calls - that miss! I have the chain saw wound on my arm to prove it. Could have been my whole arm gone, but for a little pine tree I grabbed. We are invincible till we aren't. Happy New Year! Play safe!