Archive for Life on the Farm

A Farmer and His Tractor

(A really cute statuary that I bought for Gene one Christmas)

When we refer to “a man and his toys”, we usually are talking about something that makes noise and has wheels, something he enjoys doing in his recreational time. For a farmer, his “toys” are usually very crucial to his trade, something he can’t do without, namely his tractors. I am not sure anything defines a farmer quite like his tractors.

Most farmers pretended to farm with their toy tractors when they were young, imitating their dads (and moms). They in turn gave their children toy tractors and equipment for Christmas and birthday gifts.

This was probably the only green toy tractor that our son ever had. His grandma Hertzler gave it to him for Christmas one year.

She wanted a red one but they had sold out.

(Keith-1980)

Even little farm girls liked to pretend play with farm equipment-Jill 1980

Farmers spend hours and hours and hours behind the wheel of their tractor. Now let me explain…… a tractor is not just a tractor to a farmer. Oh no. “Some like them red, some like them green and some like any color in between”.  A Case/IH man like my hubby, wouldn’t be caught owning a John Deere. Some of his tractors earned names such as “Big Red”, “Queen”, “Princess”and “King”.  Tractors have specific jobs. In a pinch, when one is down for maintenance, they can cross over but the tractor that does the baling has monitors installed for baling in the summer and runs the vertical feed mixer in the winter. The front-end loader tractor has a bracket on the front for the scoop. There is one tractor that always does the raking, or scraping or feeding hay.

I remember how pleased I was when we were dating and learned Gene was an IH man. So was my dad, and I knew he would fit right into my International farming family without being the blunt of much teasing.

When the Hertzlers moved the farming operation from Denbigh to Powhatan in 1969 they were still using the old Farmall M tractor. But they discovered things were different in Powhatan. The farm was bigger and the soil was hard red clay instead of a loamy, sandy black.

(Gene-1969 shortly after he moved to Powhatan)

Fast forward to September 2014….. This is Gene on one of his dad’s tractor’s at his estate sale.

The 70’s also brought rapid changes in the technology of tractors and equipment.  The old was quickly being laid aside for newer, bigger, better and faster equipment. The first tractor Gene bought was a used Oliver 1800 tractor.  It was his start into upgrading his tractor needs. Besides a blue Landtrac later on, they are the only tractors he has owned that weren’t red.

In the early years of our marriage, especially the late 70’s and 80’s, Powhatan was a bustling farming community and there were quite a few farmers in our church. There was a significant group of young couples our age who were taking over the family farms or venturing out on their own and they were all John Deere guys, except for Gene. He was the lone red ranger among his peers.  I remember the friendly, fun competition among the guys as they talked about their tractors, compared who was buying what and competing in tractor pulls.

I remember our children loved to ride with their daddy on the tractor and he would take them when he felt it was appropriate. It was much safer when he had tractors with a cab.

Jill riding with her daddy on the tractor.

 

IH 806

Keith wanting to be a big boy like his daddy. He figured out by sitting on the edge of the seat he could stretch his feet and touch the pedals. He had watched his daddy and he knew what you were suppose to do.

I remember when we got a new phone number and the last four digits were 4021. John Deere had just come out with the 4020 series. One of our close friends, a die-hard John Deere fan loved to tease us about our phone number. He was sure we were close to converting!  At least he had no trouble remembering our number.

It is fun to look back at old pictures and see the progression through the years as tractor changed from the Farmalls and Putt-Putts to real workhorses with cabs, air-conditioning, state-of-the-art computer monitors and increased horse power.  For the farmer his tractor is not a toy, but his work horse, vital to sustaining his business.

 

(IH 574)

(1974)

(1977)

1981

2012 JX75

There have been other tractors through the years and I am fairly sure I have taken pictures of all his tractors even though I was not able to find them.

This final picture is one of Gene’s dad on his old tractor-of course it is an IH.

 

 

 

 

 

The Bridge to the Other Side

A bridge has one purpose; a means to get you across a creek, river, ravine or vast expanse to the other side. Today Gene put a bridge across one of our small creeks so that the cows can have easier access to the pasture on the other side.  We are in the process of fencing our cattle out of the creeks so some changes had to be made in how the cattle can access certain fields.

Gene is a genius at repurposing old or unused “stuff” into something useful.  He had an old flatbed truck bed with a steel frame and floor that years ago he had put onto a wagon frame but now is no longer using. He saw the potential!  It could be a bridge! Like a cat with nine lives, the truck bed is now on it’s third life.

The wagon.

Using a torch to cut the front head board off.

Ready to go to the woods.

Pulling and pushing into place.

 

It works!

I went down later to check on the project. The “bridge” was anchored in place and the fence posts on each side are ready to be strung with wire. Two cows were checking it out.

I sat and watched to see what the cows would do. When they were done snooping, one went to the left and crossed the creek and the other went to the right, down a steep bank and jumped across! In a few days their old crossings will be fenced off and they will have to use the bridge.

Sometimes I get so frustrated with some of the old stuff sitting around and then Gene amazes me with what he does with it. Like they say, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” A worn out wagon once again has new life. And the cows, they have a bridge to the other side.

A Staggering Tale

Early Sunday morning Gene got up to go to the bathroom. He was so “dizzy” he could hardly walk. He staggered there holding on to furniture and the walls. He felt ok: he wasn’t flushed or upset on his stomach.  He didn’t have a headache. He thought maybe he had vertigo but he wasn’t really light-headed as in dizzy.

By the time I was up, he was feeling some better but still not right. He had to be careful how he stood up and wasn’t sure what or if he wanted to eat.

Something was not right, but what was it.  It was worrying him. I took his blood pressure, it was normal. He had not eaten anything unusual or different on Saturday. He had not changed, omitted or doubled up any medications that he knew of. He had removed a tick several days before but that had left only a small red spot. He checked out some things on the web, but nothing resonated.  By the time we went to church he was better, but still not totally right.

Saturday morning he had worked around the farm and then we went to see Sight and Sound’s “Moses” movie in the afternoon. He had only done one thing different……

A new, just opened brewery in the village had given him the discard waste from making moonshine to feed his cows.  It was a corn mash slurry with a lot of water.

He and Tim had worked with it trying to figure out the best way to feed it.  They tried to drain the water off so he could feed just the mash. It didn’t work. He remember that had his hands in the stuff a little and began to wonder if that could possibly be what affected him?

Gene and Tim

Tim stirring the brew!

Yesterday evening he had a chance to talk to Tim and asked him if he had any side effects. Tim said Saturday evening when he tried to watch a game on TV he couldn’t focus.

I went to my friend “google”, and searched “can the fumes of moonshine make you drunk”? The result….

When alcohol vapor is inhaled, it goes straight from the lungs to the brain and bloodstream, getting the individual drunk very quickly. Because the alcohol bypasses the stomach and liver, it isn’t metabolized, and the alcohol doesn’t lose any of its potency.

Folks, my hubby, who has never taken one sip of alcohol of any kind, had gotten drunk on the fumes from the moonshine!!!  Moonshine!

Let me tell you, we do not drink and getting drunk is not one bit funny, but Summer and I rolled with laughter.  This “staggering” tale is just too good to keep so now you know. It makes me wonder what a breathalyzer test would have showed. Fortunately, he wasn’t drunk-drunk, just drunk enough to stagger.  Now I sure wish I had seen the early morning “stagger” show!!!

Remnants of Florence Passing Through

5:30 p.m.

We are getting hammered right now in Powhatan County (Central Virginia)  with rain. We are having heavy bands of rain and it was eerily dark all day. This evening there is a lot of thunder and lightning with storm clouds boiling.  Within the last hour a funnel cloud was spotted at Flatrock-2 miles east of us and one hit a farm on Petersburg Rd. about 10 miles away.  The Bowlin farm lost a number of trees and a hay barn was damaged. In Chesterfield a tornado hit in the shopping area off 360 and as the reporter was broadcasting live the roof blew off a business as if a bomb went off. It was amazing to watch. They are saying one person was killed.

Just a few pictures of our very minor flooding here on the farm this evening.

View out my front door. Rivers running across the pastures.

The cows were out grazing and paying no attention to the rain.

 

The driveway is a river.

The ditches are full.

Front horse pasture.

7 p.m.

A little bit ago the sun broke through while it was still pouring rain. A huge, beautiful rainbow circled the eastern sky behind the house but it was too faint to get a good picture. One end looked as if it was touching the ground on this side of the woods.

To the south the fog is rising and storm clouds are still floating by.

To the west the sky is clearing and the remaining dark clouds are lined with the brilliant glory of the setting sun.

(This picture doesn’t do justice to the beauty).

After the world-wide flood in the time of Noah, God made a covenant with him and said, “Never shall all flesh be destroyed again by the waters of a flood, neither shall a flood destroy the whole earth again. I am setting my bow (rainbow) in the sky as a reminder of this covenant…..when I see the bow, I will remember.” Genesis 9:11-16

But today is nothing compared to what the residents of North Carolina are experiencing. Today we had 4.2 inches plus the 1.3 inches we had Saturday and Sunday. I don’t want to even imagine what 20-30 plus inches would be like. We are on a ridge and there are no rivers close by. We are blessed. In a few hours life will be back to normal and Florence will have waved good-bye as she hustles north.

Have Wheels, Will Travel

Once upon a time a mama and papa Carolina Wren searched for a place to build a nest. There were many places to choose from on the farm but finally, they found the perfect spot….

The spare tire on the cattle trailer is fastened firmly to the side of the trailer forming a well protected spot inside the rim of the tire.

Quietly and unnoticed, they built their nest and hatched a clutch of four baby wrens.  All was going well until Monday morning at 7 a.m. when Mr. Farmer loaded  calves to take to the stockyard in Lynchburg.  By 9, Mr. Farmer was on the road and did not arrive home until 4 p.m. The trailer was parked back in its normal spot.

Today, Gene and his buddy, Wray, hauled two finished bulls to Fauquier Butcher Shop in Bealeton which is a two hour drive one way. Gene loaded the trailer at 7 this morning and parked the truck and trailer out front of the house until 11 when they hit the road. When they stopped for lunch in Orange at Burger King, Wray noticed that he was hearing birds chirping and they sounded close by but he didn’t think much about it or say anything. When they got to the butcher shop, he realized he was still hearing a lot of chirping. Suddenly, he saw the very upset nest of baby birds looking out of the wheel well wanting food and mama!

It was 4:30 until they arrived back home. Gene pulled the trailer back to its normal parking spot and immediately mama and papa wren set up a big fuss and ruckus. They chirped and chattered loudly and flew in and out of the nest in a frantic search for food for their squawking younguns.

Their nest is tucked in the corner on the left, but these younguns were at the door mad as a hornet and crying for food.

I checked on them two hours later and the babies were sound asleep in the nest but Mr. and Mrs. Wren were close by watching closely. My presence did not go unnoticed!

 

I wonder, what did Mr. and Mrs. Wren do when the babies disappeared? Did they see them go? Did they attempt to follow? Did they figure out they were parked out front several hours? Did they spend the day mourning their loss? Obviously, they immediately knew when they were back.

I am amazed the babies survived almost two days (Monday and Wednesday) without food for such a long period of time. After traveling almost 400 miles, they now have a story to tell: “We have wheels and we will travel!”

Post note:

I did an internet search and discovered that it takes only 12-14 days for Carolina Wren’s to fledge (leave the nest) from the time they hatch. By Sunday (three days), they were gone. Looking at the pictures that is incredible to me that in three days they were ready to be on their own.

“Quick-n-Big”

On Memorial Day, Gene planted Quick-n-Big Crabgrass from Dalrymple Farm in Thomas, Oklahoma on two of his fields to help provide fast growing summer grazing for his beef cattle. Their website says, “Quick-n-Big Crabgrass is a very productive, erect growing profuse tillering, relatively “quick” germinating, “quick” seedling growth, “quick” growth to first grazing or haying, and “Big” (up to over 48 inches tall), improved crabgrass….if well managed.”  You only plant 10 lbs. per acre. Last evening we turned the cattle into the field to graze.  Gene set his shoe on end to show the height of the growth; 12-14 inches in three weeks from seeding.

I rode with Gene to turn the cows into the pasture.

The cows were grazing in the front pasture and as we drove past them, Gene started honking the pickup horn and calling out his window, “Whoo-up, whoo-up”. That’s his call. They know his call and they know his truck.  It usually means food! The cows looked up from their grazing and almost instantly started running and mooing after the pickup.  We led them to the new pasture, getting there seconds ahead of them. By the time I could get out of the pickup and up on the back with my camera, they were already running into the field; mooing, bellowing and burying their noses into the lush green grass.

 

 

This little one had to have a quick drink of milk after such an exciting run.

 

Don’t bother me, I am eating!

 

 

50 Years Ago-The Move to Powhatan

Fifty years ago on Monday, May 20, 1968, was the official big move of the Hertzlers to Powhatan from Denbigh (Newport News), Virginia. The city was encroaching on the farmers there forcing them to search elsewhere for affordable farm land.  Gene remembers packing his 1957 blue Ford pickup with his personal belongings and heading west on Route 60, winding through Shockhoe Bottom in Richmond, and on to the farm to arrive ahead of the trucks hauling the thirty dairy cows.

When the cattle trucks arrived, they unloaded the cows behind the barn into a lot with a watering trough and a bunk full of haylage that had been cut that morning from the farm in Newport News so that the cows had no adjustment in their feed ration.  His brother drove a flatbed truck loaded with a wagon full of silage.

Months, weeks and days before, the farm here in Powhatan was prepared for the move. Spring crops were ready to green chop and corn was already growing in the fields. The Surge dealer had installed a pipeline and milking equipment in the cinderblock stanchion barn and milking house. Each work trip to the farm brought equipment, tools, and other needed supplies from Denbigh. And at the last came the three Border Collie dogs; Checkers, Pudgy, and Snickers.

Gene was eighteen when he and his older brother, Oliver, moved to Powhatan to run the farm.  Gene doesn’t remember much about the move. Gene and Oliver lived in the upstairs apartment of the house as the main part of the house was rented to another couple. There was no air conditioning in the house and Gene remembers leaving the windows open for air circulation and hearing the whippoorwills calling from the trees.

There are still several things that dad Hertzler planted in the yard that I greatly treasure; a pecan tree (two have succumbed), a row of beautiful peonies, a lilac bush and hollyhocks. Dad Hertzler loved the land and had a knack for growing boxwood shrubs, pecan trees, peonies, irises, hollyhocks and other flowers which he enjoyed sharing with people.

Gene remembers his folks riding the roads of Powhatan, Amelia and Madison counties looking for a farm. He has no idea where all they looked or traveled. He does remember his sister, sitting in the back seat of the car one day as they wandered the back roads of Amelia County, singing, “Did he ever return, no he never returned, and his fate is still unlearned,  He may ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston,  He’s the man who never returned” from “Charley on the M.T.A”. (written by Jacqueline Steiner and Bess Lamax Hawes and sung by The Kingston Trio). They ended up finding this farm, it was for sale, but for some reason they did not come the day of the farm auction.  Hugh Ownby bought the farm and was going to turn it into one of Ownby’s cattle sale farms. Several weeks or months later, the Hertzlers contacted the Ownbys and they agreed to sell the farm to them. The rest is history.

Powhatan was so different in those days. There numerous grade A dairies in the county with names such as; Bowlin, Burkholder, Cosby, Harris, Hatcher, Hertzler, Layman, McGee, Moyer, Osborne, Ranck, Schaefer, Stratton, Timberlake, Tucker, Walker, and Willis. Powhatan was truly agriculturally rural. Route 60 was still single lane into Midlothian and Interstate 64 only had sections completed.

The intersection of 653 (our road) and Route 60 the summer of 1969 as they were working on putting in dual lanes.

Another picture of Route 60 before it was dual laned.

Law and order and traffic control was maintained under the watchful eye of one sheriff (Floyd Simpson), one part-time deputy (Nelson Batterson), and two state troopers (Shirley Reynolds and M.C. Arrington).  These guys were fair but they were tough!

Grocery stores: Maxey’s (in the village where Four Seasons Restaurant is now), Nichols Store at Macon, a very small store at the corner of Route 60 and Academy Rd. and the largest was Mays Grocery at Flatrock.

Medical: Dr. Bradley was a one-man office with nurse Betty and two examining rooms. He knew us all by name and made house calls.  I remember office visits costing $12. The office was heated (or at least partially heated) by a pot-belly wood stove. When Dr. Bradley was ready to see you, you were first invited to visit with him in his office. He sat behind a large wooden desk and you sat in a wood chair at the side. If you had a sinus infection, he would open his desk drawer, take out a flashlight and invited you to step into a dark closet in the room with him so that he could shine the light on your sinuses.  Bloxton’s Pharmacy was in the white-pillared building next to Four Seasons Restaurant. I worked at Bloxton’s for awhile after we were married. Dr. Bradley had evening hours once or twice a week and Bloxtons would stay open those evenings just in case his patients needed a prescription. Dr. Bradley would call and let them know when he had seen his last patient for the day so they could close.

Car Dealers: Yates Ford was in the village, and Brown’s Chevrolet and Brauer Pontiac were on Route 60.

Farm Equipment: Davis Merchant was an International tractor dealer and there was a Ford dealership on Route 13 in the village where Mabel’s Cafe is now located.

Other:  Goodwyn’s Lumber, United Auto Parts, Yates Oil, and Powhatan Farm Supply, a Southern States franchise near the village, were all thriving family owned businesses. The Bank of Powhatan and the post office were also located in the village.

There was nothing and I mean almost nothing but open land between Powhatan and the Boulevard (160) which is several miles east of Chippenham Parkway; just a few buildings in the village of Midlothian, Watkins Nursery, and a few scattered homes and a few businesses at Buford Road.  If we wanted to go shopping, we either went to Southside Plaza on the Boulevard or Broad Street in downtown Richmond.  The year we were married, 1972, the excavating for the massive, state of the art, Cloverleaf Mall began on a dairy farm at the intersection of 150 and Route 60. This too has now given way to new and better development.

According to records posted online, there were less than 8,000 people in Powhatan in 1970.  Stores were closed on Sunday, you knew and visited with your neighbors, the elementary and high school were in the village, your address was routes and box numbers instead of street names, the closest hospital was St. Mary’s, and there was a one-lane, steel-trussed bridge across the James River on 522 at Maidens.  If you approached the bridge and someone was already coming across, you had to wait or meet them in the center where there was a place wide enough to pass. The new state of the art concrete bridge was completed in early 1972.

 

 

This picture came from Elwood Yates Jr. and is the old bridge at Maidens.

The new bridge had only been open a few months when Hurricane Agnes dropped record amounts of water on central Virginia in June 1972 causing massive flooding at levels not seen before. The James River at Maidens came within inches of the bottom side of the roadway on the bridge, washing out the approaches.  To come to our wedding June 24, Gene had to travel west on Route 60 to Buena Vista to find an open bridge to cross the river.

The new concrete bridge.

By the time we were married, the farm was established and Oliver Jr. was married. Route 60 was dual-laned and Powhatan was beginning to change. Gene gladly handed the reins of homemaking over to me.  He had bachelored for four years and was ready for a wife!

Oh the changes that have happened on the farm over the years: two 20’X60′ concrete stave silos were built, a double-four herringbone parlor replaced the stanchion barn, and a free-stall barn was built. These are now all relics from the past and integrated into warehouse space supporting our farm supply store which we started in 1983. Additional land was cleared for more cropland, the house was remodeled and a full upstairs was added, trees were planted, new fences built, the dairy gave way to beef cattle and lots and lots of love and energy went into making the farm a beloved homestead.

Now…..the homestead changes, and yes it is the same house.

Fifty years have flown by and our roots have grown deep in the soil of Powhatan County. This is truly home and we love our homestead.  In many ways we have shared our farm with the community through our farm supply store (started in October 1983) and other numerous events we have hosted through the years; Live Nativity, Evening on the Lawn, Fun Day on the Farm and the many bus loads of school children that visited through the years.

Today there is only one dairy left in the county, the old has given way to new, and family businesses are being replaced with chain stores. Change happens and time never stands still but oh the memories of days gone by.

For more of our story, read the blog post “Once Upon A Time“. My blog post “Hometown USA” is a commentary about change in Powhatan.

If there are any corrections or additions, please let me know. I would love to have a picture of Nichols Store, Hatcher’s Restaurant, May’s Grocery, Maxey’s Store.   Did I miss any dairy farmers? You can email me at pathertzler@gmail.com or use the comment section on the blog.

Natural Fertilizer-Spreading Cow Manure

We used commercial fertilizer on our fields but we also utilize the tons and tons and tons of “free” fertilizer from our beef cattle. Technically it is not free, as it the waste from the cows eating lots of good grain and hay. For several years Gene has been “piling” and has accumulated some huge mounds of now partially composted manure that needed to be spread.

After starting with his chain flail spreader, he became overwhelmed with the magnitude of the job and rented a “big” pik rite HP 380 spreader with vertical beaters from Mr. Knicely in Hinton, Virginia for the week.  This is making the job go much faster as every pik rite load is equivalent to 3-4 of his flail spreader. Or another way of looking at it, he spread 10 acres with the flail spread in 3-1/2 days and 50 acres with the pik rite in the same amount of time.

 

Vertical beaters on the back give a more even and wider spread.

The pik rite spreads 35 foot wide swaths at a time versus the 8 foot of the flail spreader.

One of the several piles he had to spread. The cows love messing around/playing on top of the piles. The calves often jump and run around and over them.

More piles.

Signs of Spring-March Madness

Spring has sprung. It is officially here even though some days do not feel like it yet. There have been signs for several weeks that spring was around the corner. The signs give us hope and anxious anticipation of warm sunshine, sandals, bare feet, digging in the dirt, supper on the deck, flowers, and the smell of freshly mowed grass, a welcome relief from the cold, colder and coldest days of winter. I know, winter has it’s own beauty and it is a vital part of our balance of seasons, but spring is refreshing and energizing.  I pour over seed catalogs and look at the stunning pictures of vegetables, dreaming of my own garden, fresh vegetables and flower beds.  Even though I can never match Burpee’s standard of excellence, something stirs within me to try again and again and again.

Some pictures from the farm….signs of spring and a last wintery snow fling (hopefully).

One day and then…. the next day!


Robins are a sure sign of spring.

 My early broccoli, cabbage and Red Sails lettuce.

Blackberry bushes covered with snow. They were already shooting new spring growth.

Yes, we had a real March snow storm, however, it was the prefect snow storm: it snowed hard, 3-4 inches, was beautiful, and the next day was gone.

Mating Season: The wild turkeys were out grazing in the pasture and the gobblers were in full strut.

 A herd of seven deer grazed for several hours in the pasture in the warm sunshine.

 

When I flipped the calendar from February to March it felt like spring was already here. After all, it was March 1 and the signs of spring were all around us. But signs only point to the time, the appointed day when spring officially happens.  It reminds me of a another season of time coming on God’s calendar.

Two thousand plus years ago, Jesus came to earth as a baby, to live among humans, to teach and show us the way to the Father and heaven. He was severely tortured and killed in the most cruel and inhuman way-crucified, not because he was a criminal but for the crime of being the Messiah. Satan did not win that battle and death could not hold Jesus in the tomb. After three days, Jesus arose from the dead, as he said he would do.  This is why Christian believers celebrate Easter. Jesus became the sacrifice for our sins so that we could be saved. To be saved is a choice each person has to make. We have to choose to believe, choose to accept Jesus as our Messiah, Lord and Savior. Before Jesus returned to heaven, he told his disciples (and us) that he would return.

Before Jesus returns,  there will be a terrible time on planet earth as it implodes with evil in a way the world has never seen. When that happens, Jesus warns us that end of the world is near. He has told us what to expect and the signs so we can be faithful and ready, prepared and watching for his return. Matthew 24, Mark 13, II Thessalonians 2, II Timothy 3, and Revelations are just some of the scriptures that refer to and tell us the signs of his second coming. The signs point to a specific time when Jesus will return.  We can not point to a calendar and say this is the day as we do with spring.  But the signs of his return give us hope. It stirs in our spirits that a new day is coming, a glorious day of new beginnings and sin and evil will be conquered once and for all.

The disciples were frightened and troubled at what Jesus told them and wondered when that time would be. Jesus tenderly and firmly spoke words of truth and comfort in John 14:1-3,6.

“Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again to receive you to myself so that where I am, there you can be also….I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father (God) except by me.”

If this has spoken to your heart, ask Jesus to open your eyes to the truth of His word. Start by reading the Gospel of John and then get on your knees and ask Jesus to forgive your sins. I promise you, He WILL.

 

Two Good Samaritans

Gene hauled a load of feeder calves to the livestock sale in Harrisonburg today which is 130 miles away.  It’s his least favorite market to go to as it is the furthest from us and the further you go, the more opportunity there is for something to go wrong and he also has to cross the mountain which is a hard pull for the truck. Now, if anything is going to go wrong, it is when you haul a load of cattle.  He wanted to sell one more load of calves this year and it was the only market open this week, in between Christmas and New Year.

In preparation to hauling the calves, yesterday he checked his pickup and trailer and plugged a small leak on a tire on the trailer. This morning the tire was seemed fine and had held pressure overnight. On the road (interstate) about 45 minutes from home he felt an ominous vibration and thump, thump, thump. He started pulling off the road and a truck zoomed by pointing at his trailer. The tire had shredded.

After surveying the situation, he decided to limp to the exit just ahead at Hadensville.  He pulled into a small country store and asked the clerk if there was anyone around who could fix a tire. Yes, Walter. He lives just behind the station. She would call him.

It is 10 AM and Walter is just getting out of bed but yes, he could help and would be right there. While waiting for Walter to come, a SUV pulled in and Gene thought it was Walter. But this guy’s name was Roger. Roger lived about a mile up the road and he had a full shop on his place to work on his bulldozers, complete with everything a mechanic needed except for a tire changer. Walter soon appears and he thinks he has a tire that will fit.  After conversation between Walter and Roger, Walter goes to get the tire and Roger leads Gene to his shop. Roger had an impact wrench and air hydraulic jack and they soon had the shredded tire off.  Walter’s tire was on a rim and had to be manually removed with tire irons and hammers and put on our trailer rim. That was a job! At one point they had a chuckle about three “older” men (62,65,68) struggling to mount the tire but they got the job done.  They charged him $40 for the tire and handed him a business card that said “two retired men”!  It turns out that Walter has worked for Roger for years. As Gene got back on the road they said,  “If you have anymore trouble on the road, give us a call.”

Gene was very grateful for Walter and Roger, two super nice strangers, who were “good Samaritans” and took time to come his aid.

 

 

 

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