What happens when you play a country song backwards? The truck gets fixed, the dog comes back to life, and the woman comes home. Here at Simple Gifts Farm, our list of problems sometimes seems like a country song. We like to play our country song backwards by celebrating our challenges, and having a laugh at just how completely things can go wrong. Somehow it all works out in the end, but we certainly end up shaking our heads sometimes at the utter truth of Murphy’s Law. A couple of weeks ago, I told you about my trials with fixing our plow. There have been a couple more chapters that I thought you might enjoy.
When we last left the story of the plow, our hero (that’s me) had completely melted a bolt on the plow, in the course of trying to loosen it with the heat of an oxy-acetylene torch. Of course it turned out that the bolt didn’t have to be removed at all. After this, we sent Caro back out to the rocky field that made the plow trip in the first place. After a few passes, she came back. The third plow bottom (one back from the second bottom that had given us trouble before) had hit a rock, and the roller on the trip mechanism had completely broken off and been lost in the dirt. We were clearly going to need to take the plow bottom all apart now. When we talked to any of our local parts dealers, we had gone through a long ritual of looking all over the plow for parts numbers to try and track down the model number of the plow. On a hunch, I called a place in Pennsylvania that had gotten us some other parts for the plow. Within a couple of sentences, the guy there knew exactly which part we needed, and said that he would ship out the whole top part. A few days later (during which time we looked longingly at the still uncompleted plow job), a box showed up on our porch with the whole top half of a plow bottom. All we needed was one little part from inside it. We were faced with the choice of either taking apart the top parts of both plow bottoms and replacing the broken part, or swapping in the whole new top half. After some struggling with rusty old bolts, we determined that it would be easier to swap out the whole top half. Since this was a matter of undoing the same big bolt that I had melted before, I was relieved of the pleasure of this task, and Dave and his nephew Ian got to spend the better part of a day getting this job done. It wasn’t until Caro was back out in the field, bravely plowing (and bravely leaving the rocky field for last), that we noticed that our new top half must have come from a different model plow, because it was a good two inches shorter than the old one. At that point, we just threw up our hands and let Caro keep plowing. It left the field a little lumpy, and would require some extra disking to get things levelled out, but it just needed to get done.
This is starting to sound like a country song played forwards, and we haven’t even gotten to the part where after the plowing was done, the hydraulic system on the tractor stopped working. Luckily, our newer, smaller tractor can do all of the other jobs to get fields ready for planting, but it just takes a little longer when you have only one tractor. Suffice it to say, in the end we got new plantings of tomatoes, cukes, summer squash, and sweet potatoes in the ground and are ready to roll with lettuce, kale, celeriac, broccoli and cabbage next week. And the plow is now put back together the right way, and we made a connection with a farm mechanic who took our big tractor away to fix it. Hopefully we will get it back by the time we need to plow again.