Mudpits

Maybe I should be encouraged by this picture.  Afterall, the last ‘tractor in distress’ photo I showed y’all revealed our implement in a pond.  This is mere mud.

On a high-tech, planny whim Wright and I sat down last week to discuss lambing season.  Last year’s was mixed.  While we were blessed with many sheep born, we had many injuries and losses to the cows.  Those lambs are so small that they got stepped on.  Our efforts to correct these injuries only resulted in un-training our sheep to electric fence, then encouraging parasite growth during re-training and…it was bad.

This year, however, we have a plan.  We will use 25 acres of cut-over (land that has been clear-cut) to house the sheep while they lamb, keeping them safe from the stomping feet of our cattle and out of sight of the bovines, so they won’t be tempted to break out.  For some reason, if they can see the cows, the sheep must stand next to them at all costs – fences between them or no.

The problem is that, above all other farm animals, sheep cannot stay in the same place for long – they must move weekly, at least.  So, modern farmers that we are, we sat down with satellite mapping software and laid out our paddocks in the cutover.  Each paddock will house the sheep for a week and I was voted to clear the trails for the dividing fences.

I promptly headed farm-ward and cleared the first two trails before lunch.  Wright and I even had time to go back and trim down some stumps that impeded these ‘roads’.  After lunch, I planned to cut the final trail that would divide the remaining paddock in two.

If memory serves, Wright might have said something about it being real wet in the bottom of the holler.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Anyway, comment or no, within 150 yards of my start, the above somehow happened.  I called Wright who was just leaving to head to The Top and he said he’d pick up some chains so that he could pull me out with the big green tractor.

He shortly returned and we deemed it best for him to pull me out backwards.  That is, he would hook a chain to the back of my tractor and the front of his and then back out, with me in tow.  This worked…

until he got stuck, too.

I won’t say that his tractor was stuck as badly as mine.  Yes I will.  His was stuck.  I don’t say this to blame him, it’s just that the whole thing was surprising.  One second he was on what appeared to be solid ground.  Then, as soon as his wheels started spinning, his right side sank in a rut and the tractor’s frame plopped onto the ground.

When it became apparent he wouldn’t escape, we got off our downed vehicles and consulted.  Since we didn’t have enough diesel on hand to just burn them and leave them there, we decided to call someone and beg help.

Who do you call in a situation like this but the only fellow you know with a bulldozer?  Thankfully, Happy was home, but he wasn’t convinced this called for a bulldozer.

“I’ll brang ma tractur,” he said.

Beggers, they say, can’t be choosers, so I readily agreed.

Happy shortly arrived in a very large, very orange tractor.  I was thankful he didn’t laugh when he saw our tractors stuck, though he did utter that ‘huh’ that you hear from people peering at circus freakshows when I explained why we had been driving down there in the first place.

Because of our positions of entrance and exit, Wright’s tractor had to be removed first.  Wright took responsibility for his vehicle’s operation and I was silently, but unanimously, voted head chain hooker-upper.  Happy backed up close to Wright, I hooked chains and the tug-of-war began.  Wright threw his tractor into rapid reverse and Happy’s dug in.  Then it dug in deeper.

“Wait! Stop!” Happy yelled. “You can’t run your wheels that fast, they’re just digging a ditch behind you.”

Mental note number 1743, check, when pulling a tractor…

“Unhook me, I’ve gotta move over.”

I complied.  He readjusted.  Wright changed gears.

I rehooked.  Happy pulled.  Wright reversed – slowly.

But Happy dug in again.  Shortly he stopped.  His ruts were already two feet deep again and now there were four, lined down the hill next to each other like a random modern art installment.

“Unhook me.  I’ve gotta move over.”

I felt like I’d heard that before.

I unhooked.  Happy moved.  Wright waited.

Once reoriented, I rehooked.  Happy pulled.  Again, Wright reversed.

This time, it worked.  Happy had moved over, significantly uphill and away from the deceptive, loose ground.  Wright popped out of the hole with the tractor firmly under him.

I unhooked Wright and he sped barn-ward.

Now it was my turn, so I rapidly hooked Happy to the back of my tractor, which he yanked out with ease.

Once I got turned around, I followed Happy back out to the real road, noticing how slowly he waited to make sure I didn’t get stuck again.  His tractor was faster than mine and, by the time I got parked in the barn, he was out on the main road, heading home.

Determined to repay him somehow, I ran to my truck, hopped in and gave chase.  A mile down the road, he noticed me behind him and pulled over.  I got out and walked up to his tractor to offer him something for his time and fuel.

“Naw, no! I don’t want that.”

“This is the second time you’ve pulled me out when I didn’t have any hope of getting out by myself.  Please take it.”

“Naw.  Maybe I’ll call you one day when I need help.”

 

In America our typical greeting is “Merry Christmas,” but it seems much more appropriate, after being mercifully pulled out of this, and many, immoveable mud pits to wish you all a Happy Christmas.

God Bless you all!