Thursday, May 22, 2008

Not a Barn Dance. . .

Yesterday my siblings and two brothers-in-law, and the youngest grandchild -- Katie, gathered at Dad’s farm to clean the north end of the barn. I would love to take credit for mustering the troops with this blog. It actually was my brother and brother-in-law that suggested we find a day that we could all get together and see what we could accomplish. I thought the project was totally overwhelming and beyond any scope of our abilities. If you take a look at our work crew photos, we are not exactly the type of group that would be day hire for any big muscle type of job. My nearly ninety year old father was crew chief so I had no need to doubt! He surprised us with some Secret Weapons and we attacked the project with confidence. These SW were a Bobcat, and a truck and a trailer, along with an accomplished and experienced eighty year old friend, Dean. So together we loaded nearly four ton (3.93 to be exact) of scrap metal and cleared that section of the barn. It was truly amazing!

Dean asked if any of us would like to go with him to take the scrap metal to Bryan. I expected the men to jump at the opportunity but they were not interested and they still had other jobs to accomplish on the farm and at Dad’s house. My sisters were eager to have a break from me or they were just being generous, but for whatever reason, they encouraged me to go along. I didn’t even need to clean up the lunch as Dean was leaving immediately so it was a little like winning a small lottery.

Did I mention that the truck was very old? I asked Dean if it had a gas gauge. He said that he didn’t know but not to worry, he had filled the truck with diesel fuel that morning. The passenger seat did not have a seatbelt but the driver seat had a lap belt. His seat went down to the floor every time that we turned a corner or went over a little bump or for no reason at all so he just had to keep raising it up again. The truck groaned a lot while it got started and went very, very slowly but I soon relaxed because Dean knew the back roads. He pointed out the place where there used to be a log cabin where his grandfather was born, the place where he started out with his wife Phyllis—in December it will be sixty years ago, and the farm of his Grandma Aeschliman. He told me about the corn that has kind of a yellow hue because of the cold weather and about a crop that had him puzzled. It hadn’t been drilled, maybe it was broadcast. We saw a beautiful stand of young walnut trees—probably 40 rows by 40 rows—just guessing—growing so straight and perfect. He told me that they had probably planted the trees for the next generation as it would about thirty years until the trees would be good for lumber. Each farm that we passed was well manicured—nicely cut grass, gardens and a few flowers. The farmers in that area take pride in their places. It really was beautiful!

The big machinery at the scrap metal recycling center, (which the men in our family insisted on calling a junkyard!) was impressive. The huge iron beams on the flatbed jumped up to meet the huge magnet in the air. I have seen straight pins from a sewing project gathered in the same way but this had to be thousands of times larger than that. The pictures are inadequate to the feeling of being there. A picture flashed through my mind of getting too close and the magnet grabbing my watch and of me being sucked up and dangled from a very high place. I carefully kept my distance with no warning from anyone. The unloader used a different machine with a large claw for Dad’s old plow. It was great watching the big machinery at work but I could not help but miss one little person that would have found this experience better than a preview of heaven itself—three year old grandson Ryan! It would have been daily conversation for him for months and plus he would have been good at imitating the sounds.

After paying Dean a bit and taking care of the fuel cost, etc. I was able to take a nice wad of cash to Dad that he received for the scrap metal. We are planning another work day at the farm in the fall, after the crops have all been harvested. We are going to do a controlled burn of some stuff. Does that sound scary or what? I can’t wait!

1 comment:

Andy Rowell said...

Good post! Fun to hear the story. I read it aloud to Amy and we looked at the pictures.