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Old MacDonald had a ...... payloader?


  10:02:39 am, by Karen   , 1070 words  
Categories: Journal

Old MacDonald had a ...... payloader?

Monday was hay day. We were splitting a tractor trailer load of hay with Lucy and Carrie who have horses. We had to get our hay from Maine this year, because no one locally had any extra due to the weather this summer, which was constantly rainy. The load went first to the horse farm, and we went over and helped them unload half of it, which was 280 bales. Then the truck came to our place with Lucy and Carrie along to help us, and this is where the interesting part began.

To begin with, the truck had to back up our road because we live on a dead end, and there's no good place to turn around a truck of that size. But that wasn't the problem. The problem was getting the truck backed into place where we wanted to unload. We have an old logging road that starts at the end of our driveway and goes straight through our property. I've been told that it used to be an actual road, one of the oldest roads in Tamworth. So there is a gravel base underneath. But, it's not very wide. And close to it is a large apple tree, with branches overhanging the road. I told the guy directing the truck "you're going to run into the branches, but don't worry about that. But you need to stay to that side." I guess he didn't hear me, because the truck ended up half on and half off the road, and the half that wasn't on the road sank into the mud (did I mention we've had a lot of rain this year?). The driver tried to pull out of it once he felt that side of the truck sink down, but it was too late.

Now we had a big rig stuck in our yard. Carrie took their car and went home to fetch their big Silverado, thinking maybe they might be able to help pull it out with that. In the meantime, we started looking around for other help. One neighbor has a large dumptruck he uses for plowing and sanding in the winter. Ken went over to see if he could help us out, but he had just taken the brakes apart so that wasn't an option. He did however give us some chain.

Then I thought of Mr. MacDonald. He lives up at the end of our road, but we had never met. Neighbors had said "he's a bit touchy - the original old grouchy New Englander". But Lucy and I headed up there to talk to him. I knew he had some Very Large Yellow Machines (VLYM) so it was worth a shot. When we got up to his place we could hear one of his VLYM running. He was up in the cab of this huge thing, tinkering, and we had to wave our hands and jump up and down to get his attention. He finally stepped out of the cab. Now, I'm standing down on the ground, and his feet are about level with my head. The VLYM is running and we can barely hear each other over the noise. I yell up "HI, I'M YOUR NEIGHBOR FROM DOWN THE ROAD". He yells "WHAT'S THAT GOT TO DO WITH ME?" Huh, not a great beginning, I'm thinking. I said "WE HAVE A BIG RIG STUCK IN THE MUD AT OUR PLACE. DO YOU THINK YOU COULD HELP US?" (said with my most winsome smile). He said "WHAT KIND OF BIG RIG?" I said, "IT'S A TRACTOR TRAILER". And then he started talking. I couldn't hear a word he said but he went on for about 15 seconds. But I was able to catch his last words which were "I'LL SEE WHAT I CAN DO." I nodded and started walking away. This whole time Lucy had been behind me and she hadn't heard any of it, so she didn't know what was going on. I told her what he said, and by the time we were half way back we heard him revving up the VLYM and she said "Oh, he IS going to come down!"

Sure enough, he came down with it, and the guys hooked their truck to the VLYM with the borrowed chain, and Mr. MacDonald and his wonderful machine pulled the truck out. Lucy and I blew him kisses and he smiled at us. The truck driver was able to back his truck down the logging road without incident this time (except that a few apple limbs were sacrificed, as expected) and everyone started unloading. Except me. I was talking to Mr. MacDonald, who, it turns out, likes to chat. He told me he'd lived in his current house for 34 years and that his wife had died a couple years ago. He asked me where we were from, and said he thought for some reason that "elderly people" were living in our house. He asked about our sheep and how much land we had. He told me a little about his VLYM. He bought it 25 years ago, and tinkers on it, keeping it running, but said the brakes weren't working well. I think he would have talked to me for the rest of the day, but after about 10 minutes I thanked him again and said I'd better get back and help unload the hay. I got over to where we were stacking the hay, and a couple minutes later he appeared at the back of the truck. He watched us unload and talked to the driver and his helper about where they were from. After a few minutes though, a neighbor from up the road came down and couldn't get past the VLYM which had been left in the middle of the road. He was on his way to work, so we let Mr. MacDonald know and he said goodbye and went to take his machine back home. We thanked him again for his help. It saved us from having to call a big wrecker which would have cost quite a bit.

Here, then, is the result of all of the above. It's on pallets, with a waterproof tarp on top of the pallets, under the hay, and another waterproof tarp over the top. It's not the ideal way to store hay, but hopefully by next year we'll have some sort of structure up that we can put our hay in.


Comment from: Ken  


09/12/08 @ 14:05
Comment from:

I wondered who would be first!

09/12/08 @ 16:52
Sharing ideas from our small farm in NH, where we raise Icelandic sheep and assorted poultry. We are members of ISBONA (Icelandic Sheep Breeders of North America) and the CLRC (Canadian Livestock Records Corporation). We also participate in the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program (NH54). Contact us at karen [at] birchtreefarm [dot] com. Please also visit the farm website at Birchtree Farm.
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