Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Farm Calamity

Just when things were going so well…

We picked up the latest batch of lamb chops on Monday….and boy, oh boy, are they beautiful! Tuesday morning we got our batch of broilers processed in record time. Then it happened…

When Tom went to deposit the waste from processing in the compost pile down front, the tractor acted a little weird. He heard a distinct “CLUNK” from one front wheel. Hmm, not good. Then, the front wheel locked up. DEFINITELY not good.

Now, on a farm a tractor is like a member of the family. Tom uses ours almost daily. In the 22 years we have had it, Tom has only had to perform the most routine of maintenance. There have been a few rough starts, a replaced hose or two, and new tires, but it has never completely failed us.
It has plowed snow, mowed grass, pulled the trailer, moved the chicken house, bush hogged, and hauled untold loads of all kinds of stuff on a routine basis. Tom uses it for plowing, tilling, digging potatoes, scraping the driveway. The list is nearly endless.

A phone call was made to the shop. “Hmm, doesn’t sound good”. The mechanic told Tom that it sounded like a “planetary gear”. Somehow, hearing that the problem had a name made us (me) know that would be expensive. Calling the repair shop is akin to humans visiting a health specialist. However, the estimate given was actually not quite as bad as I had feared.

Tom loaded up the tractor and hauled it to the repair shop in Fishersville. They told him they’re running a week behind, and they “hope” to get to it soon. Oh, argh! That means that the tilling, hauling, loading, potato digging will have to be done some other way for a while. (perhaps a long while)

I honestly felt like we had left an elderly family member to have some unknown surgery. Poor old tractor! The tractor was the first thing we re-located when we moved here years ago.
Without it, Tom couldn’t have built the barn, dug fencepost holes or tilled all our gardens. It has been a faithful ally in all the various projects around here.

Someone (you know who you are) once referred to it as “Tom’s cute little tractor”. While it’s not the biggest, or the baddest tractor, it suits our needs. It is also reliable, paid for, and GREEN! (for the un-initiated…there is much discussion in the ag world concerning the color of one’s tractor. The color identifies the brand, and loyalties are fierce.) Today’s issue leaves us contemplating the day when the tractor will eventually have to be replaced. That is rather a daunting thought, as prices have increased dramatically since our original purchase in 1989.

So, we wait….and we (I) worry. …and we figure out how to get along without one of the things we truly rely on around here. My only hope is that the repair bill won’t grow.

…but maybe the tractor will!

While we could never use this thing….it sure looks cool!

No comments:

Post a Comment