Monday, August 20, 2012

the job that almost "whuped" me

this is the drag chain... works like a conveyer belt
this is where i would climb in and out... not fun in jeans

this is the edge i had to fit my butt on... actually the corner wasn't so bad

the spreader
it is once again peanut time around here. surprise, surprise, it has reminded me of a story.  last year i helped pug quite a bit with the peanuts. i know he doesn't like to ask me to do the hard jobs but i don't help much by telling him i can do ANYTHING. and bless his sweet heart he believes me. and there are times when he has to ask me because everyone else already has a job. so here is the disclaimer.... this post is not to make anyone mad at my sweet honey. he is beyond good to me and i bring these kind of things on myself. with that being said and re-iterated i was reminded of the absolute hardest job i have ever done for pug.  he needed to put out land plaster on the peanuts. usually this is a one man job. the land plaster looks like fine white sand. it is put in a spreader and pulled behind a tractor and it "shoots out" all over the peanuts.  well, that is what is supposed to happen. but when the land plaster gets a few rain showers on it, it becomes somewhat damp and not so easy to "shoot out". therefore manpower... in this case womanpower is needed.  i am not the first to do this. i guess it was just my luck to get chosen on that particular day. pug loads the land plaster into the spreader with the front end loader. "we" try to get as much as "we" can in the spreader because that means "we" don't have to come back so soon to get more. unfortunately that means it gets good and packed down.  that is where "i" come in.  there is a large drag chain in the bottom of the spreader that pulls the land plaster into the spinners that in turn shoot it out over the peanuts.  since the land plaster is damp it is like wet beach sand and packs really good. i could have made one heck of a sand sculpture!!!  my job is to dig a tunnel from the top of my pile of land plaster all the way down to the drag chain.  as long as i can see the chain i know the stuff is shooting out correctly.  but when i cannot see it that means it is packed too firmly for any to get through to the drag chain.  which means the land plaster is not getting put out at all, that is not good because we are not doing the job we set out to do.  sounds simple enough, except for the fact that "we" pile the stuff so high it forms a mountain in the middle and i ride on top of the piled up land plaster as i do this. not only do i have to climb up the back of this thing i have to do it in jeans... have you ever seen a monkey wear jeans... me neither...  it does make the task a little harder.  on the way to the next row where we start the next load i proceed to start digging out my tunnel.  i do this while teetering my fat (phat for my brother clay) butt on the side of this spreader which seems to be only a few inches wide. and as i have said before my sweet honey has two speeds.... stop and 100 mph. and of course we are not in stop mode so i hang on the best way i can.  it is a bumpy ride and i learn quickly to use my shovel as a seat belt sometimes.  falling into the land plaster is okay, but falling out and down into the peanut field is not an option. it is a long way down and then there is the speed thing to worry about too.  so as long as i see the drag chain i am okay.  but when i notice the land plaster doesn't want to fall into my tunnel on its own very well  i basically have to dig out the sides of my tunnel so the land plaster can make its way to the drag chain. i am talking major elbow grease here.  i have never been great with a shovel but i learned to become one with the shovel fairly fast.  we do this in the hot sun because you do these things when ever you can to beat the rain.  and as always yogi the bear was after me the whole time.  i would have whacked him in the ass with the shovel if i could have raised my arms.  but not sure if i would have had the strength because i had sore muscles in places i never knew muscles even existed.  so luckily we were able to stay ahead of yogi.... again with the fast pace of my sweet honey, even yogi gets tired and "bear caught" sometimes.  as the land plaster would fall down into the tunnel of course i would lose my foot hold. i would have to get off that dang edge and sit in the land plaster.  not so bad until i got to the bottom and had to stay on the sides to keep from being eaten by the drag chain.  the spreader sides go down into a v shape so there are no corners to stand in. i am not sure what was harder, teetering on the edge of a full load or trying to teeter on the edge of an empty spreader. there is nothing to get a foot hold with. so most of the time i would hold out as long as i could and then just slide down the side and balance on the slanted side. luckily the drag chain was off when we were empty.  still major bumpy but way safer. i learned a lot in a couple of days and about 250 acres. i was so glad when pug said we had just put out the last load. thank you Jesus! not sure i could go much more. it was the hardest job i have ever done, but i would not admit it at the time. i am sure my sweet Daddy was rolling over in his grave watching me do it... but i also know he was proud because he knows no one is going to tell me i can't do something...  especially when i am needed and especially if needed my one of my people.  i was proud and tired and exhausted.  i did tell pug later that i would NOT be doing that ever again.  sometimes you just gotta put your foot down.  in my case i should put it in my mouth before i agree to do something my old body should not be doing.  it is okay for me to say i won't do something.... totally different from someone telling me i can't do something.  only two jobs so far i refuse to do.  this one and moving a  tractor with the fluffer on the dike to the lodge.  i have done it once and it scared me too bad.  i was afraid the whole time i would either fall off one side down into the deep ditch or i was going to crash the fluffer into the tall fence on the other side.... either one would be major damage and i really don't like to tear stuff up. (regardless of what the crew says about me... the whole anvil and hammer thing).  the guys laugh and can't believe i have such a hard time with this.  not sure why it bothered me so bad.  maybe because the dike is so narrow and bumpy and the fluffer rocks from side to side.  i have never been good at keeping this big equipment in the middle of the road.  i like to broaden my roads as well as my horizons so if i am needed to stay on a straight path it is not the job for me.  that is the only reason i did not change jobs with pug and drive the tractor pulling spreader.  he has to stay right between the peanut rows exactly!!!  and at an extremely fast pace.  oh my, the mess i would have made.  i made the right choice to shovel.  and i made the right choice to NEVER do it again.  it has been a joke about my two jobs i won't do.  and honestly if i am asked to do either of them again i will have to unleash my totally-scary, completely-destructive, 2 tons of crazy dipped in psycho monkey wrath onto any one brave enough to ask. :)  my husband does have high expectations of me. sometimes that drives me crazy... but mostly i am honored and proud he thinks so highly of me that i can do ANYTHING.  i welcome the high expectations because it holds me accountable to someone and to something. Accountability is way too under-rated these days.  it is very important to me and ranks up there with character. two things that are not taught as much any more.  i am thankful for the lessons i learn about myself on the farm.  what doesn't kill us will only make us stronger... after that job just call me the incredible hulk!!  :)    i love farming.

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