The Decision Has Been Made

Our truck all loaded up and ready to go to our farm.

Our truck all loaded up and ready to go to our farm early in the morning.

As promised, I told you I would keep you up to date on what’s happening on the farm and what decision we would make as far as our housing was concerned. We have made up our minds and want to tell you what we have decided.

I think the direction we are now going to go will be a big surprise to you all, I know it was to us and was not planned at all before this trip. It all started this past week when we went to the farm in Iowa to work, mow and get our concrete slab poured in our pole barn on Monday. The trip looked promising and very productive but the first three days ended up being a total disaster.

Day One

We got to the farm Saturday afternoon to drop off some more trees to plant and stuff to store in our pole barn. We had planned to stay just long enough to unload and check things over before heading to Des Moines to spend Saturday evening out with family and friends. Everything looked good with the all the trees showing their fall colors and the pond looked nice and full from all the rains they had in Iowa this past summer. The grass and weeds around the pole barn and around the pond where pretty green and high because we hadn’t been there all summer to mow. We unloaded the stuff we had brought into the pole barn and was ready to take off when I wanted to drive down to the pond to take a closer look at the pasture grass we had planted this past spring and that is when the trouble started.

When Everything Went To Hell

I was driving around the base of our hill towards the pond and noticed things seemed a little slippery and I got out to check out the ground. When I stepped out onto the high mat of weeds and grass water squished up around my tennis shoes, about a half-inch. I thought they must have had more rain then I thought because up on top of the hill everything was dry. The truck wasn’t sinking any because the mat of vegetation was so thick and no mud was showing so I decided to continue on with some reservations from my wife, but I told her, “don’t worry honey, this is why we bought this new truck with 4 wheel drive.” I hadn’t driven 20 feet further when I hit a washout and high centered the truck and got us stuck. Apparently all the rain had created a gully that came down off our hill and I couldn’t see it from all the high weeds.

This is the picture of our stuck truck and tractor.

This is the picture of our stuck truck and tractor.

I was in trouble now, not just because I got our new truck stuck but because the wife told me not to go down there. She was madder than a wet hen and said “now what are we going to do, we are supposed to be in Des Moines in an hour.” I said, “no fear, we have a 4 wheel drive tractor that will pull us out.” We got out of the truck and started walking up the hill to our pole barn to get our tractor with my wife chastising me the whole way. I know most of you have figured out by now where this is going, but you only know half of it.

We got to the top of the hill and the weeds were chest high and my wife didn’t want to walk through them because of the cockle burr and possible chiggers, so I told her to wait here and I would bring back the tractor and new mower and cut us a path to the truck and pull it out, it will take 15 minutes tops.

Second Mistake

I started up the tractor and grabbed a heavy-duty chain and put it on the mower deck and started cutting a path towards my wife. Our new mower had a 4 inch hole on top of the deck where you can look down through to inspect your cutting blades and there was supposed to be a plastic cover on this but something had knocked it out while mowing the last time we were there. I knew this hole was there but I was in a hurry to get back to the wife and get us unstuck so she wouldn’t be as mad. I had secured both ends of the chain to the mower frame with the chain hooks but the center of the chain was free to move about. I thought the chain was far enough away from the hole and started cutting and heading towards my wife. Everything was going well when I started heading down the hill towards our truck. The center of the chain slid forward and part of it went down the hole. I heard this loud awful noise coming from our mower and I hurried up and shut off the PTO on the tractor and I felt sick to my stomach. So here I have got our truck stuck and probably just ruined our new mower, what else could go wrong? You thought my wife was mad before, you should have seen her then. I will spare you all that she said but I said, “not much we can do about it now, lets just get the truck pulled out.”

Third Mistake

I had my mind on the stupid two mistakes I had just made and probably wasn’t thinking as clearly as I should have been when I started heading towards our truck on our tractor. I took a slightly higher path on the side of the hill with the tractor so I would have less chance of getting the tractor stuck and was going to stop 10 feet short so I wouldn’t be anywhere near the washout. I was about twenty feet away when I hit a sink hole and got the tractor stuck. The tractor got stuck because the 700 lb. mower got high centered on the ground. I couldn’t believe I had done something else and should have walked the path first to check for any such hazards, but I didn’t. Needless to say my wife was furious with me now. I can honestly say I have never seen her so mad. I am sure she was thinking at that moment about her own judgment in marrying a complete idiot, and  how had she missed that until now.

Now what do we do? I happened to bring along my phone book and in it I had a farmer’s name that lived close by that I had let his cattle onto our farm before we put our fence up. I called him and told him of our predicament and if he could bring his tractor and pull us out I would give him a hundred bucks. He said he couldn’t make it because he was in his bean field cutting beans but would call his cousin who also lived close by and get his tractor and pull us out. He cousin arrived and his big John Deere tractor and pulled us out with ease and we paid him his 100 bucks and then I noticed I had cracked the bumper on the new truck when I had gotten stuck. We started the hour-long trip to Des Moines about 45 minutes behind schedule with a very gloomy outlook unlike the good feeling we had when we first arrived and was looking forward to happy time in Iowa. My wife didn’t talk to me almost the whole way to Des Moines. We pulled into the Marriott Hotel downtown Des Moines and what a sight we must have looked to the valet. Our new truck was totally covered in mud with a cracked and partially hanging down front bumper, you couldn’t tell it was new. I stepped out of the truck in my mud caked blue jeans and ruined tennis shoes and they probably thought the Beverly Hill Billies had come to stay.

Our craked and hanging bumper.

Our cracked and hanging bumper.

In my next post I will tell you about the other two days and what we are now going to do.


About Gordon Milligan

I am a retired conductor for a commuter railroad in Chicago IL, I now live in and have bought a 40 acre farm in South Central Iowa that I have built from the ground up. My wife and I are trying to raise and grow most of my own food using sustainible and organic methods. I have a blog that journals my journey to becoming a farmer.
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24 Responses to The Decision Has Been Made

  1. Pingback: Dashboard Knits | Purl, Too

  2. Oh, no, Gordon! You can’t leave me hanging like this! Please hurry with that next post. I’m waiting for the “other shoe” to drop and afraid it’s going to be worse than the first one. I’m so sorry for your terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day! I think that makes you a real farmer now. Believe me, real farmers DO make mistakes! How do you think they got to be good farmers? I’m so sorry your wife was mad at you on top of everything (being a woman, I know how hard it is not to say “I told you so!”) and I hope she’s speaking to you again! And I’m so sorry about your truck bumper and mower. I think they were just “initiated” into farming. Maybe even “hazed” a bit. 😉

  3. Swede Hamilton says:

    u had a lot of truble hope u do better next time I am working on a pond so probaly wont see u

  4. misguidedute says:

    Bah bad decisions are made, as long as they don’t get repeated just keep moving ahead.

  5. Jocelyn Cromwell says:

    A cliffhanger! Tell us you’re still retiring…. not selling the farm …. That You’re staying married…… What a day!

  6. Langela says:

    Being in a farming community here, I know that farmers spend almost as much time broke down as they do farming. Welcome to Iowa, Gordon! Maybe your next trip will be better. We always tell the kids when they’re out riding their four wheelers in the fields to go slowly because there are washouts and holes everywhere. And you don’t see them easily. I’m sure it’s even harder when the weeds are so high.

  7. Rough day, Gordon. Sorry.

  8. Bill says:

    Oh brother. There will be days like that. I did almost the same thing with our new tractor not long after we got it. Drove it into a deep hole obscured by weeds and nearly turned it over. Had to call a neighbor to come get me out.

    Sounds to me like you have very little damage under the circumstances. It was just a matter of time until you have some ding on your farm truck. Just think of it as having gotten it out of the way.

    Hoping it’s all smooth sailing from here.

  9. purlygirl2 says:

    I didn’t know hens hated getting wet. 😉

  10. grasspunk says:

    Wet ground? Luxury!

    Out here the fine dry limestone dust stops some of our car electronics from working.

    I hope all goes well for you.

  11. Erick says:

    Oh Boy!!! Hope you didn’t give up on your plans for country living…what’s a little mud?! BTW…a truck isn’t a ‘real truck’ till it’s used like a truck…welcome to the ‘used and abused truck club’!

  12. John says:

    Gordon please trust me when I say, “It is to be expected that a few glitches have to be weathered before mastering a situation replete with all kinds of new and unusual experiences. It is to be expected and I am sure that as you get further into the experience you will learn a lot from trial and error but you will also discover just how absolutely much your gut instincts will bring solutions that make things easier to your mind. Necessity is the mother of invention and I just know in my heart you will soon get a handle on all these things and you will be one happy camper. There is a special genius living inside of each of us — call it “Inspiration” — call it “God’s Protection” — call it whatever you like but I believe that before you know it you will have mastered all the tricks of the trade and things will become routine. Remember this if nothing else — “A burning desire to do something always brings a fountain of motivational inspiration that will allow you to climb any mountain that suddenly sprouts up in your path.” You will discover before very long that Nature can be a tough task mistress but in the end She has your best interests at heart. You remind me of one of our pioneer ancestors in many ways. They had their challenges too, didn’t they — but look what happened because the faced those challenges and overcame them — the greatest nation on the face of the earth. Yes — with your new farm you will be right smack dab in the middle of that pioneering American Spirit from which this great nation sprang and which keeps it strong.

  13. Thanks John and everyone for your comments. I don’t want to say too much now and give away what we are now going to do. My next post will be a week from today.

  14. Jewels says:

    Gosh what a mess! Way to leave us hanging… what decision?

  15. says:

    That made me smile, let me tell you a story and you’ll see why. The Chain. While shopping at my Menards, alone, checking out things i may need for the farm. I came across a 15 foot chain in a bucket with forged steel hooks on each end. Yes it was pricey, but the wife wasn’t here and I had a feeling I should get it. I get home and of coarse the wifey sees the receipt and starts on me about the expensive chain. What do we need it for? Needless to say my purchase was not well received. Fast forward a few weeks, I had constantly warned wifey when cutting grass stay away from edge of lake because to it being soft.(she has a big zero turn mower) I told her I don’t want her to get stuck. Well, here she comes walking a quarter mile to tell me she is stuck. I take out my shinny new chain, my tractor and I pull her out of the mud. What’s that saying, “those that don’t learn from there mistakes will repeat them?” I used that chain too many times to mention cause she thought she could go one foot further all the time! For someone who didn’t know why I got the chain, she agrees we needed it….”Jack, get the chain”…..Hope my story makes you guys smile. Your story was so similar.

  16. eric says:

    dang man, what were u doing out there in your new truck anyways? from the looks of it u need to get some bigger mud flopin tyres on that bad boy

  17. Langela says:

    It’s been over a week, Gordon. What’s your news????

  18. I am in the process of writing it up now. It may take a few days.

  19. Zephyr Hill says:

    I see Langela is just as impatient as I am! 🙂 . . . . . .

  20. John Copsy says:

    Sounds like a real fruitful weekend Gordon. Hope it got better. Haven’t heard from you for awhile, guess I know why now, lol

  21. Hope says:

    I am just catching up on your blog Gordon! How unfortunate to hear about your new truck. Did you get it fixed?

  22. Thanks Hope, no I have not got it fixed yet. I have an estimate of 700.00, but I did put it back together so it isn’t hanging down and it doesn’t show the crack very much.

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