Tuesday July 22, 2014

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The farmer moves on: part 5

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Submitted by Kaare Askildt, former Preeceville area farmer in training. This is the third of a series on the move from farm to Hazel Dell.

All the livestock had now been relocated to our new farm in Hazel Dell, but we still had to figure out a way to get the hay and straw here. We had a couple of cost estimates, but it did not seem feasible cost wise to hire a hay hauler. I was contemplating using Brian’s car trailer, and tried to call him as I would have to get his OK first. I discussed the matter with Tim who would be loading the trailer for me. We came to the conclusion that the trailer was probably too light.

While at work at Home Hardware in Preeceville, Marion ran into Craig Sandager who suggested we contact his dad Robert and ask if we could borrow his bale trailer. “No problem,” said Robert, “just make sure you take the corners wide!”

Our daughter Sue followed behind me from Robert Sandager to our old farm where I parked the trailer in the yard, and Tim would load it the next morning. The trailer was made from steel tubing on an old semi frame, and even though the capacity was much greater, I only wanted to haul about ten bales at the time, that would be about 11,000 pounds plus the weight of the trailer which I guessed would be about another 2,500 pounds or perhaps more. I have never hauled a trailer that long before, and I have never hauled hay before, so I wanted to play it safe. I even had my wife drive behind me with her four way flashers on.

Anyway, Tim was waiting for us in the yard the next morning, and the trailer was loaded with ten bales. We didn’t know how long this was going to take, so Tim suggested we call him when we were returning and getting close to the old farm, and he would come over and load the trailer again. We had 30 bales to move. Before we hitched my F-250 Super Duty to the trailer, I suggested to my wife that we should make a big sign in regular size letters saying: “IF YOU CAN READ THIS I LOST MY TRAILER” and tape it to the tailgate of the truck.

My F-250 surely knew it was pulling a heavy load! I shifted the gears automatically watching the RPM gauge, and never drove faster than 40 kpm. The first load went without any problems. However, I couldn’t drive into our yard, as I would have no place to turn around.

Therefore I parked just outside our driveway, fired up the trusty old 4020 and started unloading. The bales were loaded in two rows side by side, so I thought I’ll just push from the first row so that the bale on the second row would just fall off. I got a bit hung up on the first attempt, as the bale got caught on the side rail, and as much as I tried it would not fall off or tip over! Even after mouthing a few select Norwegian words, it still didn’t want to cooperate. That’s when it dawned on me that my bale forks are attached to the front of the bucket, perhaps I can spear it and pull it off! Sure enough! It worked!

I called Tim as we turned off the Rockford road, and he arrived in the old yard just as I turned around. After he loaded the trailer I told him that we would return the trailer to the yard later in the afternoon, but wouldn’t haul the last load until the next day. Tim loaded the trailer that afternoon, and we hauled it with not problems the next morning, then we took the bale trailer back to Robert Sandager.

My wife gave me back my Farmer In Training Graduation Certificate for a job well done.

Hauling this long trailer reminded me of the two Norwegians Ole and Sven applying for jobs as Class 1 truck drivers. Ole was interviewed first and impressed the manager with his 100 per cent correct answers. Sven followed right behind Ole and aced all the answers as well.

The manager decided to interview them both together, and while doing so posed the following question: “Ole, you are driving with a set of fully loaded B-Trains behind you and Sven is catching some shut eye in the sleeper. You are on a very narrow road descending a steep hill, and all of a sudden the brakes fail. Another semi is coming around the turn at the bottom of the hill. There is not enough room for the two of you. What will you do?” Ole thought long and hard and finally said: “I would reach over and wake up Sven!” “Now, why on earth would you do that?” asked the manager. “Because Sven has never seen an accident like that before!”


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