Submitted by Kaare Askildt, former Preeceville area farmer in training. This is the ninth of a series on getting settled in Hazel Dell.
The ground was like a swamp after all the rain, but the horses needed another bale of hay. We decided to drive the tractor around the main pen to the south, and drop a bale over the fence there. That is high ground and dry. Driving back to the yard, my wife told me that the left rear tire was low. Not to worry, I’ll just drive over to the compressor and blow some air into it!
I hooked up the compressor line, and started blowing in some air, and then all of a sudden I got drenched by the fluid that was squirting out hitting me from top to bottom! I quickly disconnected the airline even though I had not been able to get much air into the tire, but it was still spewing out liquid! I backed the tractor up to the usual parking spot. My new neighbour Mike came over and after a brief examination told me that the valve stem was loose and I would need a new tube. What a relief! From the looks of things, I thought that I had to replace the rim as well! I jacked the tractor up with my jackal, and placed some wooden blocks under the axle so that the tractor would not crush the tire.
I called my friends at Twilight Tire in Preeceville, who came out with the service truck the next day and examined the patient. Cory just touched the valve stem, and it broke right off! He expertly fuzzed about, got an hydraulic air jack under the tractor, lifted it up, drained the fluid, broke the tire bead on both sides of the rim, brought the outside bead over the rim, pulled the tire out and removed the old tube, cleaned up any excess fluid in the tire, put the new tube in, got the tire in place and popped it back on the beads, filled it back up with fluid and air. The whole process took less than an hour. He obviously knew what he was doing. W.C Fields once said: “I love physical labour! I can watch it for hours!” That’s how I felt while watching Cory.
I’m a bit hard of hearing, and an old Norwegian folklore story comes to mind. The story is about the owner of a small ferry boat carrying people only, who lived on a farm on an island with his wife and two adult children. There was also a pub and a hostelry on the island.
The wife and children were spendthrifts and had run up big debts. They had left the farm to stay with relatives, while the husband who was extremely hard of hearing was left on the farm to deal with the collections agent. He wondered to himself how the conversation would enfold, and was sure that it would start with some small talk and then go on about assets. While sitting whittling on a piece of wood, he thinks the collector will ask him what he’s working on, and he will tell him that it will be an ax handle. Then he’ll probably ask how long the handle will be, so he’ll tell him that it will up to this first knot. Then he believes the collector will go on to assets and ask where his ferry boat is, and he’ll tell him that it’s overturned on the beach in need of repair. Then he thinks he will ask about his grey mare, and he’ll tell him that she’s in the barn ready to foal. Then he thinks he’ll ask where the barn is, and he’ll tell him that it’s not far away, just up the hill and a bit.
The old ferry owner thought that this would be how the conversation would go. It was a hot sunny day, and after a while the collector arrived and said: “Hello there old man!” “Ax handle,” he answered. “Is that right? I’m thirsty, how far to the pub?” inquired the collector. “Up to this knot,” he answered and pointed at the piece of wood. The collector shook his head in bewilderment and just stared at the ferry man. “Where is your wife?” asked the collector. “She is cracked in both ends and laying on the beach with her bottom up, I’m going to tar her bottom,” he answered. “Where is your daughter?” asked the collector. “She’s pregnant standing in the barn,” answered the ferry man, thinking that the conversation is going really well. “Oh take a hike you old idiot,” suggested the collector. “Well, not too far, just up the hill and a bit!” says the ferry man. The collector left in a huff shaking his head!