Friday, October 24, 2014

Fading vacation! (Published)

 The practical effect of a belief is the real test of its soundness.
                                                   James Anthony Froude



I have been asked to do a monthly column for our local newspaper. I have every one of you to thank for your encouragement and belief in my writing over the years. Here is the latest story. I wanted to share with all of you and thank you so much for your support. Without it I would never have reached for that dream.

Fading Vacation!

The thing about going away for a little break when you are a farmer is that there is always work piling up while you are gone. You do know that, but may choose to ignore it. As soon as you drive into the lane or walk back in the door you will see what has been waiting for you. Those visions of calm cool waters, incredible sunrises and beautiful wildlife that entertained start to fade and are replaced as you jump back into work mode.

Fields of second-cut hay waiting to be baled had the morning after my blissful stress-free week thrown back to reality, and had me rushing around trying to get ready to bale wondering about the weather. Oh, the weather at that cabin was incredible and yes I did know it was perfect haying weather and my husband, "my Hero" as I fondly refer to him in this column, was probably cutting and then baling by himself and no doubt wondering why I needed to have a “Girls week.” 

Those early mornings sitting on the dock bundled in an old sweatshirt dress and a knitted wool hat to keep out the chill surrounded by silence had me thinking. My Hero was probably up sitting in the window watching the sky and listening to the weather report on the radio at the very same time contemplating his work day.

Now those vacation moments were fading to be replaced by reality, and oh, what a reality my day had given as a welcome home gift.

Baling hay is not stressful if all goes well. I was moving along at a quick pace trying to get that last field baled and thinking we would finally be able to head out into the bush to stock the woodshed before the long winter. I was listening to the sound of the tractor motor humming and the click click of the teeth on the baler pick up behind gathering up the nicely rolled hay. I was also dreaming of those beautiful sun rises early in the morning and all the wildlife that had come to visit while I was surrounded by incredible Northern wilderness far from the farm.

I was trying to concentrate at the same time on the tying of bales and a growing grocery list that was forming in my head. There are always so many things going on in my mind at the same time, it is a wonder I get anything done at all. With two more rows of fresh raked clover waiting to be baled, the task was almost done and we could finally park that baler back in the barn for the winter.

Click click the teeth on the pickup kept turning and picking up, while my mind was trying to hold on to sunrises and water. The last three feet fed into the baler with no problem, and then I decided, rather than tying the huge full bale that was inside the baler, I would go and feed it to the cows watching from the pasture field. They always love those little treats of clover near the end of the pasture season. I drove to the gate and climbed out of the tractor to open it.

I noticed the sweet smell of wood burning and wondered why anyone would be burning wood on such a beautiful warm day like today. I scanned the sky to see if I could see any smoke, but nothing.  Where was that sweet smell coming from? I drove through the gate and over to those waiting cows, who were very excited, and pulled back the throttle making the PTO spin faster and pulled the lever to eject the bale.

That was when I saw smoke.

My heart started racing. I have to admit, I was a little frightened but needed to keep a cool head. The bale rolled out onto the ground and the cows immediately surrounded it. That was when I noticed it was not the bale on fire but the baler had smoke billowing from inside. The cows paid no mind to my panic or the smoke coming from the baler --they were lost in clover sweetness and that was all they knew. I remembered I had taken the fire extinguisher out from behind the seat thinking we were all done with haying for the season, lesson learned.

For a split second I just thought of walking away knowing I could never unhook the tractor fast enough from the baler and both would be lost. That was not going to happen on my watch. I raced the fifty feet to the house, parked the tractor then hurled myself over the page wire fence landing on the ground with a thud. Stood up and ran for the garden hose we had luckily forgotten to gather up. I pulled that hose as far as I could while watching the smoke billow from the baler. I could not get close enough so I let the water arc high into the air and land on the belts and roll down into the baler. This was going to have to do. The tractor was far enough away from the house, the cows and the outbuildings so I knew even if it burst into flames it would only involve the tractor and baler. 

I could see the cows with their heads buried in the fresh bale completely oblivious to my situation. As the water poured down into the baler the smoke disappeared. My racing heart slowed down a bit. 

After all the drama, I dropped the hose then pulled out my cellphone and dialed my Hero to tell him what had happened. I climbed back over the fence and seen that a bearing had overheated then sparked and ignited some loose hay. I listened to him on the other end of the phone. My mind drifted back to the dock, the water and those gorgeous sunrises. 

"Oh sorry, yes I am still here and yes I am fine." I turned my head away from the soaking wet baler. "Did you know cows love their clover smoked?"  He laughed.



Later

40 comments:

  1. Wow - that sounds worrying! Hay can be a risky business! At least the cows benefited!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Even before I read the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say, I considered the line: " Baling hay is not stressful if all goes well." And I thought: " IF is such a big little word." Since I keep mixing my metaphors and sayings this morning, I'll just say, "All's well that ends well." I'm glad you and the cattle are OK, and the baler will be again, once you get the bearing fixed. Have a good weekend, B!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Write! You do it well, Buttons! And I am glad you did not lose any expensive farm equipment too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm glad you, the cows, and the baler made it through in fine fettle, and absolutely delighted to read about your newspaper column; congrats my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Way to think on your feet, Ranch Wife B! Glad all ended up OK with the baler fire.

    Congratulations on the monthly newspaper column. A pretty feather in your hat!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congrats on the newspaper column. How exciting! Love the story.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Congratulations . . . Hope all is fixed, no more smoking almost on fire while on your watch.
    Loved your entry . . .

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, I'm glad the baler and tractor didn't catch fire and you were able to save them both. Congratulations on the newspaper column! Have a good weekend! Pam

    ReplyDelete
  9. Girl, you ((ROCK)). You save the cows' lunch and served it smoked just like they like it and saved the baler and the tractor. I think you deserve a big APPLAUSE. I'm glad you weren't far from the water hose and that it was still hooked in.

    Congratulations on the Newspaper column too.

    Hugs,
    JB

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congratulations on the newspaper column!! And I suspect you'll have plenty to write about, if this post is any indication. :-) Wow!

    ReplyDelete
  11. that is AWESOME, buttons!!! just awesome. congratulation, dear!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh wow, I was on the edge of my seat! Loved the last line. Smoked clover...brilliant. Congratulations for the huge honor of writing a column for the paper. Very impressive!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Smaked clover---hmmmmm-do the cows get high?
    What a trying time for you. I am glad it ended alright.
    MB

    ReplyDelete
  14. My friend Buttons...published author! :)
    Way to save the day! Quick thinking!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hee hee, smoked clover! Congrats on being published B!

    ReplyDelete
  16. How not to panic! Way to save the tractor and your life!!
    Congrats on being published.....I love reading your stories...they all come from the heart...
    Cheri

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hey that is wonderful news, Buttons. Congrats on being published. This must be thrilling for you! Wonderful story, I always enjoy reading you as you have a knack for story telling. And your photos are wonderful. Have a great weekend! :-))

    ReplyDelete
  18. How sweet is that! You must love writing for the newspaper....so up your alley! As for the fire....no picnic.

    ReplyDelete
  19. You are one brave, think-on-your-feet woman. I hope your Hero knows and appreciate you!

    Good luck on taking on the newspaper business.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Congrats on the newspaper column!! I'm not at all surprised you landed this opportunity for you are a wonderful writer. Loved this story and I'm so glad you got the smoke put out before a bigger fire started! Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  21. B,

    Beautifully written! Your comment to your Hero about "Smoked Clover" had me laughing.
    Hugs,
    Sandy

    ReplyDelete
  22. Congratulations....so happy for you.
    Thanks goodness you are ok.....Hugs M xox

    ReplyDelete
  23. Goodness- what an incredible story. I've always known I think-- that to live and work on a farm is a very busy life. Your story puts this all into a new perspective.

    It's hard-- I know-- to come back from a vacation. There is so much to do in catching up-- I'm there right now!!

    Thank you for your visit- your kind comments-- your support.
    Love
    Vicki

    ReplyDelete
  24. congrats to you buttons, beautifully written, they picked the right girl!!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Scary way to be brought back to reality... From vacation.

    Hooray for you, doing this column! A budding Gladys Taber, here!!!

    Happy rest of October,
    Tessa~
    "Here there be musing" blog
    "Here there be more words" blog

    ReplyDelete
  26. Congratulations on landing the column. Well done, Buttons! I just hope they are paying you decently.

    I had not dawned upon me that the girls would like their clover smoked. Well, now you know how to give them a real treat next year. Or perhaps for Christmas.

    Blessings and Bear hugs, Buttons!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Yay for you writing for the paper....good stuff. Gourmet cows....who knew.

    ReplyDelete
  28. How cool that you are writing for your local paper, Buttons! I know how much you love to write and now you'll have a new audience beyond those who read your blog. Smoked clover? Who knew!!??

    ReplyDelete
  29. Congrats on becoming a columnist B.
    We always knew you were smoking writer !
    ( "smoking" is still slang for "great" right )

    ReplyDelete
  30. How I love a good story! I know a story is good when I'm right there..I see it all..lost in what is happening...my only problem was climbing the fence.. LOL Loved it!
    Mona
    ..and congratulations on your new career! :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Well done to get to write for a column. You will do well. This story is a good one with tension and a quirky ending.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Congratulations! Great story! Did I say congratulations? :) You are a great story-teller and I bet your mom is very proud of you.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Wow! Kudos to you for landing a writing job! Your stories will be shared and enjoyed by even more people now. I had completely forgotten about sweatshirt dresses : )

    ReplyDelete
  34. Smart girl getting that writing job! Know you must feel good about that and you deserve it. Sorry about your baler, but know it really helped that you acted so quickly. Glad the lesson on the fire extinguisher was learned. Hugs to you from texas

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thank goodness you and the cattle didn't get hurt. Glad you were able to save the tractor and even the baler. Quick thinking. Stay safe. Glad you could share your story in the paper!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Congratulations on your monthly column, that is exciting.
    Love the story-but sorry about your fire, that must have been nerve wracking!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Congrats that is awesome news!!! so happy for u. happy dance 2!!! ( :

    ReplyDelete
  38. I am so happy for you with your writing gig! You have such a gift, and now you can share it with even more people.

    That must have been so scary, smelling and seeing that smoke! I'm glad you were able to take care of the situation. But I knew you would. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Congratulations, Buttons! And thank you for sharing it with us - looking forward to many more columns, full of your wonderful writing.

    ReplyDelete

The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean more to me then I could ever express. Hug B

Please do not copy my work. If you like it let me know I am sure we can work something out. Copyright is in place.