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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

With my life

Most people wouldn't assume that being a farmer would be all that dangerous. Yet a lot of things can happen on a farm.

I learned that the hard way, yet I was lucky every time. When another haying season was on, I was working the steep slope down below the farm buildings. By that time we had a tractor-driven hay rake. The only way I could negotiate the steep hill was by driving straight down and backing uphill again. So here I was on the top of the hill, preparing to go downhill again. I used to drive the tractor down by putting in the third gear LOW  That way I could drive down without using the brakes. However, this time, when I started on my way down, the tractor shot out from under me in an unknown speed. Within a split-second  I realized I had put in the 3. gear HIGH. I hit the brakes full force and the tractor careened to the left making a 90 degree turn. The force of the gravity was big enough to lift the left set of wheels off the ground. For a moment I was prepared to roll, but then the tractor plunged back onto all 4 wheels and --- stood!! I crawled up the hill on my knees.

There was a day during winter and I was working with the tractor and a forest winch to drive out strings of firewood, when the tractor got stuck in the deep snow. Neighbors had told me that I could work the tractor out of such a situation by cutting short pieces of firewood and tie them with a chain to the tire-chains.   So, of course I went ahead and tied a few pieces 3ft. long to the tire-chains. With the cab doors open I put the tractor into first gear and it got lifted up on top of the chunks of firewood. The next thing I knew was a loud crack and something  metallic flew through the cab from the left, exiting on the right side. When my mind cleared i noticed that my vision was blurred. In fact I could see very little at all. The reason was that my eyeglasses were gone! Instead, I had some snow in my face. I found my glasses by crawling on the right side of the tractor in the snow!  With my eyeglasses back where they used to be, (they were not broken!!!)  I investigated the reason for the incident, and found that a chain-link had broken and been catapulted through the tractor taking my glasses off my nose WITHOUT HITTING ME!  Had I gotten the chain-link to my skull, I would have shot myself.

Related to the same line of forest work, one fall I was pulling out big pine trees. I had gotten a much heavier tractor with a very powerful winch. I had fastened 50 yards of wire to a big chopped-down pine and was pulling it in. All of a sudden the wire stopped. Sometimes the tree got hooked behind a little bush and it just needed a little more pull, so I kept pulling. I pulled and pulled and nothing happened, until I heard a swish and a big bang, and here came the end of the steel wire crashing through the rear window of the tractor. Boy, it almost chopped off my head.

These little incidents could have been avoided, but I guess humans make mistakes and sometimes mistakes can be fatal. Some other times one is just lucky to make it.

Read more tomorrow: Digging it

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