Here’s A Shovel Man, You Dig?

    I haven’t written in a while, but as I have been saying, this is our busiest time of year. Not only are we busy at the store, then we went on our trip to Maryland, and when we got home, I’ve been trying to get my garden in. Contrary to what you might think, I’m not a very good gardener. I do enjoy it though. I just put in lots of seeds and plants and see what grows. If I have good luck with it, I plant it again next year. This year I planted a variety of lily bulbs, planted some Paw Paw trees, put in a small vegetable garden, and I was going to finish it off by putting in a pumpkin patch in the big field. Now that I have all the equipment, I figured that it would be easy. The last piece of tractor equipment that I acquired was a set of discs (see “A tough nut to crack” in the older blogs). Well they are just what got me in trouble this time!


   First when I was plowing the field I hit a rock and knocked the point off of the plow. I lost a couple weeks putting that back together (after I found it – metal detectors for farming???). Then when I went to disc the field, I proceeded to get the tractor stuck on a dry, flat piece of ground. I couldn’t believe it could be done, but one wheel on the tractor just kept digging. I raised the discs, but as the wheel kept digging deeper, they ended up on the ground again. I finally unhooked them, but it was too late, the tractor was stuck, but good.


   If you’ve never operated a tractor before you might not understand how hard it is to get one stuck. The differential that lets one wheel spin faster to go around corners like in a car, is what gets you in trouble, letting one wheel spin while the other is stationary. But a tractor has separate rear wheel brakes, so when one wheel starts to spin, you just hit the brake on that side to stop it. My tractor even has a differential locking lever that makes both rear tires drive at the same speed. But neither will do you any good once the tractor has dug itself in. The rear axle was actually sitting on the earth and both rear wheels were spinning in the air – no good.


   I tried to pull it loose with the Jeep, but it was just too heavy, plus after one good jolt, I broke a brake-line on the Jeep and the brakes went out. Then I tried to use a come-along to winch it out, hooking it to the back of the Jeep. All I ended up doing was pulling the Jeep slowly backwards with all four wheels locked. I finally gave up for the day, and figured I’d come back later.

   I had the day off Thursday, so I figured that was it. I’d just have to dig it out. I got a pick and shovel and after I used the brake-less Jeep to pull the discs back out of the way (not as exciting as you might think), I started digging. I had to dig a hole straight down behind the tractor, and then dig all the dirt that was holding the rear axle up in the air out from under it. It took me a couple hours, but I was really pleased when I got the tractor to climb out on the second try. See, once I had the weight back in the tires, I could use all those neat traction features to climb the tractor out of the hole.


   I then hooked up the discs again and being more careful not to take too deep a cut this time, finished discing the pumpkin patch and then I planted the pumpkin seeds. All I need now is some rain, and more time to fix the brakes on the Jeep…