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Of Mice and Men

(post by Jason) Had you been a fly on the wall while I was moving feed this afternoon you would have had a pretty good show. It all started uneventfully enough. I gathered cans from various barns and made my way to the bulk bin which is located beside our front barn. I don’t usually move feed on Sunday afternoon….I much prefer napping in my easy chair with Carter on my lap and Sunday is the one day a week when I can entertain this as a real possibility.

However Middle Tennessee is set to undergo a big temperature swing the early part of this week and I’d a whole lot rather move feed when it’s sunny and 70 than when it’s cloudy, windy, possibly raining and 45. Also our schedule the next three or four days is already pretty tight. Better to get at it and get it out of the way, right ? I told myself that I’d only be a few minutes anyway. I only had fifteen cans to move and since gravity does most of the work and a front end loader does most of the rest it really isn’t much of a bother to move feed these days. Compared to slugging a ton (literally) of bags every week moving a ton of feed this way is almost a pleasure.


The first three cans filled easily enough but at the end of the third one the slide valve that controls the flow of feed didn’t feel just right when I slid it back into place. I never thought very much about it until I started to fill the fourth can and I watched the slide valve drop straight to the bottom of the can before being almost instantly covered with a hundred and fifty pounds of feed. Standing with my mouth wide open while watching feed pour from the bin unrestrained was not how I envisioned this task was going to go.

After giving the bin, the feed can and the slide a thorough cussing I started digging around in the can to see if I could locate the slide. Unfortunately every time I scooped feed out of the can the bin above immediately filled in the hole. I realized there was nothing for it except to move the can, find the slide and shovel the feed that spilled on the cement pad back up. If you ever wondered how long it takes for a ton of feed to come out of one of those big feed bins I can tell you now that it happens almost instantly when the slide valve is completely removed. Think words that begin with f and you’ll be on the right track as to where my thoughts were headed. It took considerably more effort and time to fix the mess that a few seconds created, no doubt.


Thankfully we were almost out of feed. It could have easily have been five or six tons that I was shoveling up instead of one ton. Also, thankfully, I had just swept the cement pad and the weather could not have been more cooperative. It even ought to be a pretty easy fix in the morning. A couple of bolts and a couple extras that need to have holes drilled out ought to put it right. This sort of thing is part of farming and even though this particular event was not expected today one like it is always waiting in the wings.


As every farmer and small business person that deals extensively with machinery will tell you, my little two hour unscheduled repair is likely going to have repercussions that last a long longer than one might think because I really didn’t have a two hour hole in my schedule tomorrow to fix it ! But it will get done one way or another. Meanwhile off to the barn to help Melissa sort through blankets. It is probably safe to say there will not be any relaxing, quiet evenings at our house this week.

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Chance and Hemi being playful





MyLight and Dolly




Norman






Donneur, Flyer and Lofty



MyLight, Lily, Dolly, Calimba and Traveller




Murphy, Dutch and Wiz




Thomas and Homer (and part of Hemi on the left)




Baby




Walden and Snappy



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