Welcome back to your actual job

Today was back to farming. Finally.

In March of 2018, Spork and I started a project to build an airplane together. As in, go fly around in it, airplane. This was a mom induced idea, something I give her the credit, and the blame for.

We worked on and off on it most months since March, but when Spork finished school in May, we started the final push to get the airplane done. By final push, I mean “playtime is over, we are working every minute of every day from now till we finish.” That averaged out to about 80 hours per week, each, for two months. Yes, that means I took the fun out of it. Sorry, sometimes things just need to get done.

What that has meant for the farm is that I’ve barely been here. And that usually was to run payroll, sleep, or eat. And eating was optional.

If you care about the airplane build, you can see it at FarmerFlier. If you don’t, what I can tell you is that I’m back. The plane has had its FAA inspection, and flown off the 40 hours of test flying. Yes I still have stuff to do to the plane, but at least it is a flyable contraption and I can work on it like a normal person. Say, 20 hours per week. As it concerns the farm, the end game is to operate it off of our pastures, allowing us to hopefully be able to give rides occasionally. Depending on a bunch of factors still to be determined. That is a topic for later.

Spork and I after our completed FAA inspection.

Anyway, today was back to the good old farming routine. On Tuesdays I make my run to meet my other farmers and restock the store. This is a normal weekly trip that I maintained even during the crazy build schedule. Product has to get into the store somehow. Today was a relatively normal day. I had to meet two farmers, pick up 400 pounds of pork from the processor, and high tail it back for a lunch meeting prior to then unloading all the goodies from the trailer. All in all just a normal day with a few hundred miles of driving, except for the need to be back to Raleigh at a set time, no sweat.

We’d just fixed a bad wheel bearing on my truck, and rotated the tires, so I was looking forward to the truck finally driving correctly. It had been driving pretty badly for the past month or so. But there had been no time to work on it. I’d noted that the bad front tire was now the bad back tire, and on the way back from dropping off a hog yesterday at the processor, it was hopping a bit. This morning, it seemed to be hopping even more than I recalled so I stopped in for a quick splash of gas before I left town to check it one more time. The tire looked fine, and it had been giving me fits for months on the front end, so “Meh, must be ok.”

When I made it to the processor, I found that the tire was not, in fact, ok. It was, um, shredded. Actually, there were wisps of smoke coming off of it. Something about doing 75 mph on a tire in this condition. Oops.

Truck tire with blown tread
Oopsie. Looks like that bad tire went REALLY bad.

Uh oh. Only 100 miles to go or so and I’m in Bailey, NC. I remember there being a tire shop of some variety. Maybe I can get a quick swap of a tire.

Nope. They weren’t open. And it appeared the building would fall in on itself at any minute, so not so much.

I met my farmer and picked up my pork, both events that added more weight to the tire pictured above. Not exactly optimal. Then I asked my contact at Bailey (Hi Brooke!) if she knew of a tire shop. Turns out she did, and she was my hero for the day. Pedro’s Tire Emporium or something like that. All I knew was I knew enough Spanish and had enough cash to get a tire swapped, if I could just make it there.

10 miles with the flashers on later, I pulled up and met Pedro. Turns out they had a bunch of used tires that were my size. I’d just wanted someone to swap for the spare I was carrying because that was faster than doing it myself. But they could swap a used tire faster than they could get the spare, and the price was right. So on went the used tire. I have to say, it was the first time I’ve ever bought a used tire but the situation dictated it and it got me on the road in about 20 minutes. With a quick run to my last stop, and pulling in as quickly as I could at my lunch meeting, I was able to still be there 8 minutes before I was scheduled to be.

On goes the “new” tire

Whew!

Welcome back to farming.

Now what else will go wrong tomorrow?

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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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