Getting hay didn’t go as planned

Stuck truck pulling hay
SNAFU in progress, here you see two trucks, and two tractors, all of which couldn’t get up the hill. 

Yesterday I scheduled to pick up hay pretty much all day. I also needed to load hogs to go to the processor and get some office work done. And of course I made time to make breakfast for the family, but the main thing was to haul hay. We are down to about a weeks worth of hay and Bryan, my friend and hay man, has 60 bales with my name on it that he’d probably like to convert into cash and open space in his barn. The endless rain had backed off a few days so maybe it would be dry enough to get out of there with a trailer loaded.

Getting out is a concern because the entrance to the farm drops off rather sharply. I can get in unloaded, but leaving loaded means the landing gear of the trailer drags the ground, making a horrible noise, scraping my wonderful trailer, and actually high siding the truck a bit making me stuck half in and half out of a busy road. Not a great combination. Fortunately they added another gate so I could get in and out much easier. Unfortunately, that gate is across a large pasture with no gravel or asphalt. Ground conditions matter.

Luckily I didn’t have to worry about the ground conditions in the pasture, because I couldn’t even make it up the incline to the pasture. What you see pictured above is my truck, hooked to Bryan’s truck, and also hooked to the hay trailer. You see, our first load of hay wasn’t in the barn, it was outside. It was also still soaking wet. A dry bale of hay weighs about 800 pounds. 800 pound bale x 17 bales, 13,600 pounds. Plus an 8000 pound trailer, 21,600 pounds. That’s a lot of weight. A wet bale of hay?! Who the heck knows, 1200-1500 pounds per bale maybe? Couple that extra weight with the ground being wetter than Bryan or I thought it would be and I couldn’t move at all. No problem though, I had plenty of chains on the trailer so we just hooked Bryan’s truck to my truck and made another attempt. I once pulled our company lowboy, something like this…

Big truck, heavy truck!

with my half ton Chevy Avalanche. It was stuck on the farm and I hooked a jerk strap to it and pulled it right out much to the driver’s amazement. Surely Bryan with his four-wheel drive diesel and my four-wheel drive diesel daisy chained together, we could pull this little incline. Um, no. We didn’t make it ANY further than I had by myself. Both trucks were spinning all four tires.

Not to worry, a quick search and Bryan had located the keys to the farm tractor kept on the farm. I’ve watched farm tractors pull mud buggies out of mud pits with little effort. A farm tractor is built for pulling. Unhook Bryan’s truck and hook up the farm tractor. Here we go! Um, no. About 10 feet further, and now some nice ruts in the ground where the farm tractor dug in.

How about the skid steer we loaded the hay with. It’s heavier and stronger than the farm tractor. Not even close.

Bryan’s dad was home, how about he comes and helps? So we chain Bryan’s dad’s truck to his truck, to my truck and give it a go. We also try a new route that isn’t quite as big of an incline. And this time we’re…stuck. Sigh. There isn’t anything to do but for Bryan’s dad to take Bryan to his farm to get his big farm tractor. They take off and I walk around shutting off idling engines and cleaning up the mess. I shut off Bryan’s truck, the farm tractor, and my truck. I check my email, note how nice of a day it is. It really is beautiful, sunny and warm. Then I think I’ll do something, I don’t recall what, with my truck. I walk back over and pull the door handle. Locked. Huh? How did that happen. The keys are inside because why would I take them out. Passenger door, locked as well! The pod that holds the window and door lock switches is broken on this truck and it’s loose. Somehow the doors locked in all the getting in and out. So now in addition to being stuck, I’m also locked out of my truck. You can laugh or cry at this point. Since I could be at work, I figure I’ll laugh instead. Bryan eventually shows back up and I tell him the new twist to our tale. He jumps back in his truck and tears off to the fire department where they have a lockout kit. A bit later he shows back up and with a skill that’s troublesome to see on this Christian man, he’s into my truck in seconds.

John Deere Ag tractor
The way out of this mess

Now with all the equipment in the world, we hook my truck to the Deere tractor and pull the whole mess up the hill and onto the asphalt. If you’ll remember, this wasn’t actually the hard part. Getting off the farm is the hard part. With some conversation, it’s decided that I’ll go out the way I came in, on the asphalt but up the sharp incline. Bryan’s dad jumps in the skid steer to give me a push and I head up the incline and high side as expected. However with tires smoking and traffic held up and briefly entertained, we get the truck and trailer onto the road and headed home. It’s now nearly lunch time and I have one load half way done. Welcome to farming!

Loading hay onto a trailer
Loading hay the easy way.

For the second load, Bryan brought all the hay up to the driveway and loaded me on level ground and on asphalt. MUCH easier for me, and for everyone else. 17 more bales and two loads for the day. That should hold us for a month or so, until I can get back and pick up more hay.

 

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Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he’s a farmer.


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