Ontario Agriculture

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When Neighbours Stop by - its a good thing

The day started off with intent to make good use of this summer like weather in winter.  With spring around the corner, I have a great deal of pre-field work field work to do.  There is always a few broken tile that need repair.  I have dug up a few with the old fashioned method - the spade.  But today I hooked up the three point hitch backhoe.  This is a great tool - not too big and heavy and much easier than shovelling by hand.  So I started out by extending a culvert i dug in last year out to a point where I want a catch basin to cover the run off from the front 25 acres.  Was going very well until water was spouting up from the ground.  Don't fret, it wasn't a water line, just a 4" plastic tile that was blocked.  

Well this explains a couple of things, why the ground has been so wet in this one spot, and why I thought it was a good place for a tile - a generation ago someone came to the same conclusion.  So rather than try to fix the old tile, i figured digging the culvert a foot deeper and connection the two would be the best option.  The down side - 15 feet of trench I would have to stratal to dig it deeper.

I got the job done, but as i was backing the tractor out, the front end shot over, and the right front wheel was into the trench.  OK, now I am stuck.  I tried to extend the backhoe to make the front lighter and drive my way out using the brakes, but all this did was create a rut under the right rear tire.  Now I am stuck, but good.  I tried a jack to get the front up enough to drive out, but that was a waste of time.  Then a car pulls in.  Two neighbours out for a drive to check up on my progress in re-building the grain header.  One was my 85 year old uncle Charley, but his age didn't stop him from grabbing a shovel and helping out.

Those two were in it until the end, as if it were there own problem.  We filled in the trench around the tire by hand, so the tractor wouldn't fall in further and flip over.  Eventually, with a bit of patience and a rear wheel balancing act, I drove out.  It seemed almost impossible at times, but I was un-stuck.  

Not sure what its like in other places, when your having big problems, do passer-bys help or make fun.  But here on the farm, folks help out and I am glad they did.  All the equipment was put away before the rain.  I didn't get the job I set out to do, done today, but those celebratory beers with my neighbours was well worth it.  When things don't go right, you make the best of it, and on days like today, i get to make the best of it with good friends.  And when you work through something so hard, the beer tastes that much better.

Years from now I expect to have a good conversation that starts:  Remember when my tractor fell in that trench i was digging, my uncle at 85 was shovelling heavy clay to get it out - just because he stopped by.

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Comment by Robert Campbell on April 15, 2012 at 4:09am

great conversational farm storytelling . This farm blog-net needs more of that. What about pictures? your blog would be spectacular if you had pics of anything in that tale, like the trench, or the tile and esp 85 yr old uncle. just saying

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