Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Cows.., Tractor Of Doom.

Christmas day started out nice enough, waking up late from playing at Midnight Mass, opening presents... getting a new laptop that I wasn't expecting at all, getting dressed up nice and warm to head to the farm and do chores, and then it just went wrong.  Wrong in a way that only "I" can seem to meander through with all the grace and agility of a bullfrog in a hot skillet with one hind leg missin'. 

THAT kinda wrong.

I got to the farm, my Aunt and Uncle gone for a few days, and got on the Tractor Of Doom that had just come out of the shop.  I mean this was the first time I'd driven it since it had been in the care of the worst mechanic in the area... I'm sure of it.  It had had a shifting rail busted in the transmission, the hind end of it was all tore apart, shifting rail replaced but somewhere along the way Unhandy Bob had skipped the classes where they teach you how to actually adjust the transmission so that it transed instead of missioned. 

Now it was a pretty chilly day yesterday, with the wind blowing a pretty steady 20 mph, raw gale the windchill temps were somewhat below zero.  I ethered the crap out of the old girl and it fired up.  This is when I discovered the unadjusted transmission situation.  Reverse was not, at first.  Then figuring out which forward gears were not gonna go, I ended up with 2 forward gears and one reverse... unless you shifted wrong and ended up with it in a forward AND reverse gear at the same time, then no one wins.    I pulled it out of the shed, left it running to warm up and hoofed it to the barn to feed some calves.

10:00 AM... I feed the calves.  They love me, I stepped in a couple of the presents that they'd made for me.  I head back to the tractor.

10:05 AM... I get on the tractor and proceed to abuse the gear shift and finally get it in a forward gear.  I head to the hay pile.

10:15 AM... Bale of hay on the front end of the tractor I head back to the calf lot, pull up to a bale feeder to drop it in... and can't get it in reverse.  I abuse the gear shift violently.  It reverses out of terror.

10:20 AM... I head to the pasture where the herd is to feed hay to them.  I pull into a bale of hay at that hay pile... and can't get it in reverse.  I abuse the gear shifter much like a psychopath, strung out on PCP and Juju Fruits would kill snakes and aardvarks armed with nothing more than his bare hands.  I win.  It backs up and surrenders for the morning.

10:25 AM... Pulling through the gate I notice a cow upside down.  This is never a good position to find your common ordinary household cow in.  This is the pose they acquire just before they're getting on the bus to go home to the Lord.  I unroll the bale of hay.

10:35 AM... I examine the upside down cow and it's the same cow that was upside down 2 days prior.  She's ancient, and is pretty much past the point of getting her back on her feet this time.  I decide to put her down, but I'll have to get a gun from my truck parked at the shed.

10:40 AM... Back on the tractor I head to the gate, it's started snowing very hard... the tractor does a little hiccup that for anyone that has ran diesel tractors much at all, makes your blood run cold.  I'm out of fuel.  See the fuel gauge doesn't work, much similar to a lot of other things on the tractor of doom.  I drop it into high gear (which for whatever reason, works) and make a break for the house.  See... if your diesel engine runs out of fuel, it's not like a gas engine that you just fill up, turn the key, and happiness ensues.  There is no happiness in a diesel tractor out of fuel.

10:41 AM...  I get to the bottom of the hill in the middle of the road when all forward movement ceases.  I start walking.  In freezing temps.  In the snow.  I couldn't buy happiness with a pocketful of unicorns and a cure for cancer.

10:55 AM... I get to the shed and get in my truck to warm up.  I grab an empty 5 gallon gas can and head over to our diesel storage tank.  The power cord that has been there since Moses walked the earth... is not.  I find a cord that looks like it's been teethed on by puppies, plug it in and start filling the can.  It's full.  The nozzle does not shut off.   I'm serious.  It keeps pumping.  The wind is whipping diesel everywhere.  I yank the cord outta the pump, put the lid on the can and put it in the back of my truck.

11:10 AM... Pouring the fuel in the tractor, I hope beyond hope that thru some miracle that it will just start.  No, it does not.   The wind picks up.  I take the heat houser off on the fuel pump/injector side of the tractor to see what wrenches I'm gonna need and head back to the shed for what is surely the most cartoonish set of tools in existence.  Back to the shed.

11:25 AM... I call home and tell Sal that I may need Jakes help.  She's real serious on the phone 'cause she knows that if I call for help, it just ain't pretty. 

11:35 AM... I'm back and start loosening injector lines to bleed them out, removing knuckle meat, freezing half to death.  Rolling the motor over and finally I get fuel squirting outta all the injector lines I start  tightening 'em back up.  I give it a big dose of ether and turn the key, it fires up.   I want to cry I'm so happy.  Jake shows up and wants to know if I need a hug.

12:15 PM... Back to feeding hay.  I send Jake over to put the cow down. 

12:45 PM... Backing the tractor back into the shed... I'm done.  Quite literally.  I'm really done.

1:15 PM... I'm pulling into my driveway, Christmas dinner is almost ready to hit the table, all is well. 

I really wanted to throw out my Mary Lou Retton victory pose.  I really did.

Pics  from the throne of the the Tractor Of Doom, a seat reserved for fools and psychopathic aardvark murderers....  unrolling hay.






Cynthia L. H. said...

I just love it that during all of this, you've taken the camera along so you can blog about it.
True grit.
Sorry 'bout all the was kinda like that around several houses I know.
I wonder what was in the air?

Sassy Britches said...

And you accepted the hug from Jake, right? Because one can never be too full of hugs.

And did you throw out the MLR victory pose? Because THAT would be a picture I'd like to see!

Scope said...

Did you have an artist come out and draw a picture of that former cow?

Heard you say something about "calling the rendering guy".

Paige said...

Dude I had the same day but it was today. And the upside down cow was a sideways stiff as hell filly--my very favorite, extreemly expensive eight month old I have tried to breed for, for ten years. All full up of the rigor mortis

My day totally sucked. Even beer with friends I have not seen in years tonight has failed to do a damn thing for my personality

Jerry said...

Damn man, for a Christmas that sure sucked. At least the morning was wonderful and I'm sure the hot dinner was awesome. I replaced the friction wheel on the snowblower today. As jobs go it wasn't too bad and the temp was 30 or so and therefore I have no horror stories. I do have a couple of extra parts, though..... Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

Alycia said...

What a bad day.... We had a truck run out of fuel and someone thought that you should pour some fuel over the top of it... all I remember was the fire that started.

Hope your New Years is better.

dianne said...

OHHHHHH!!! NOW i understand why some hay is rolled up instead being in Borgish-looking bales ... i feel so enlightened!

no - really - i do! when Doogal feeds his cows, he uses the regular-looking bales ... i would have asked him about the round bales, but then he'd think i was dumber than a box of rocks and lose all respect for me ... uh huh.

Cora said...

You sooooooo owe us a picture of you in your Mary Lou Retton victory pose, you know. You can't just tease us with that and NOT deliver! C'mon!

The Retired One said...

I know it is TOTALLY wrong to laugh about your poor misadventure, but laugh I did. Oh yes, I did.
And just LOOK at those cows, they have snow on their backs! (Or horrible dandruff, which you should really look into. Seriously. Do they even MAKE Head and Shoulders for cows? Do they call it Snout and Hindquarters? hahahahHAA).
You sounded as frustrated as I did regarding my computer saga (see my blogpost on that fiasco!).
I am sorry that the cow had to be put down too.
Now all day I am going to be grieving the damn cow (as I eat my broiled steak tonight which I ironically have defrosting on my counter as I type this).

Nej said...

An upside down's an image that is sad, and silly...all at the same time. :-)

Char said...

An upside-down that what they call cow tipping?