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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Story of the day is ALL ABOUT KARMA [and a little about llamas]

The story actually starts yesterday. That was our tenth anniversary and, not only has Chloe successfully survived ten years of marriage to me, but SHE treated me to a dinner at Outback!! Yes thank you all in advance, but the only person who always knows what anniversary it is, is Morgan. One of us has to ask her or dig out the marriage certificate. Neither of us have figured out if this is a good thing or bad thing, so we just take it as it is.

What makes the story go back to yesterday though, is a history in our lives of things going bump in the night almost without fail on our wedding anniversary. Phone calls with crisis llamas, our llamas rushed to the vet, dogs eating anniversary cakes and having to be ‘treated’ to hydrogen peroxide, windstorms killing the power. Just about anything that might happen almost always happens on our anniversary, so quite literally we have rarely if ever made plans. But this year was different and NOTHING HAPPENED. So I get shoved in the car and off we go to outback.

Apparently however the world of Karma understands the concept of leap years and figured this year it would consider the fact that we were married on the second to the last day in most February’s required some adjustment and so…..

The story.

This month has been exceptionally mild weather around here [sorry folks]. Most days have been well into the 50’s and although we have had some cool nights, winter really has appeared to have vanished [he said rapidly knocking all the wood he can find]. The llamas have almost even stopped pooping the shelters as much as they did all winter. So this morning I decided to hook up the poop vac and start on some piles that I just been shoveling. That lasted about 10 minutes before the impeller blades chose to tell me that it really was still WAY TOO EARLY in the year for them to cooperate and completely plugged the out port with gunk. Fine I put it away and decided to work on the shelters and removed some of the deep bedding that I intentionally leave in there to accommodate the colder nights and make our crankier girls and older boys all warm and toasty. Drove the tractor in and scraped up the first load, parked it shoveled and forked a whole bunch more on top of the bucket load just like I always do and back out. Its not the biggest tractor in the world, a mid size Kubota 4wd 32hp. The lift capacity on the front end loader is supposedly rated at 1500 lbs, and I have calcium filled rear tires PLUS a 1000 lb counter weight on the 3pt hitch so this thing acts like a bulldozer when we put it down into low gear and I get to doing stuff. And who pays attention to maximum ratings anyway, we all know they are deliberately understated!!!

The route I take to get out of the girls pasture with loads for the compost pile entails going down a slight grade then back up to the main gate and out. So the options are back down the initial grade and the other side, or drive forwards down the first slope and up the second. I have never bothered to think either way about it since they are both no win situations IF you are worried about loads tipping and stuff like that. One way or the other part of the trip involves the load being pointed downhill. And of course I am superman on the tractor and she, the tractor is a she by the way, is super tractor; as a team there is nothing we can’t do.

Here’s where Karma found great pleasure today.

I decided since the load really was substantial I would back down and back up to get to the gate. What the heck it really didn’t matter, and when all is said and done it is easier to back out of the shelter and out than it is to turn around. Besides me and my tractor are an unstoppable pair. Always have been, no reason to think otherwise. OK everyone who sees where this going raise your right hand!

We get down the hill no sweat of course and start up the other side backwards; there really is no choice in that situation. And its not REALLY that big a slope, only about 20 feet long.
Next thing I know I’m laying across the engine compartment cover, the rear wheels are completely off the ground and spinning, the bucket is flat on the ground, and the front wheels, courtesy of 4wd, are attempting to dig their way to China! Yes people I know that’s what seat belts are for, but who REALLY puts their seatbelt on when driving their tractor. What is some cop going to scream into my driveway and write me a ticket?

The only thing actually keeping me on the tractor at all is the fact that my left foot is apparently stuck in the steering wheel. Not hurt just sort of stuck. All this takes a grand total of maybe 30 seconds for me to get into perspective, but that was one LONG 30 seconds thank you very much.

I gather up my wits [such as they halfway were when I started this whole arrogant attitude project], get myself to where I can shut down the tractor, but I’m still sort of not really standing, or sitting, just now I’m sideways and can reach the ignition and fuel shut down.

I declare an official coffee break and just head into house pretending somehow the tractor in all her glorious wisdom will fix itself and I can just drive out. I even sat on the front porch steps overlooking the entire situation waiting for her to come up with the solution. The second cup was finished and she still hadn’t fixed it.

So, I saunter into the pasture and shoo all the girls, who had also gathered up front and personal around the tractor waiting for her to get right, away from the tractor. I climbed on, got her fired up and figured what the heck I’ll just drive forward climb out of the hole from the front tires pushing the load in front of me and all will be well and good. After all, I already knew we couldn’t back out. WRONG, that didn’t work. Now we are buried to the front axle! So what’s a guy to do but go get a shovel and shovel out all that poop and bedding from the bucket. After all, with the counter weight, AND my magic calcium filled rear tires there is more than enough weight on the back end that the tractor will hit the tip point and just bounce back onto all fours. WRONG AGAIN. So now I have who knows how many pounds of poop and bedding sitting front of the bucket, granted off a ways, but there it still sits, rear wheels off the ground. And no, I had already thought through the stupidity of taking the truck and trying to pull the tractor out. Sure I’ll get in trouble if chloe gets home and the tractor is stuck in the pasture, but I’ll never hear the end of it if she comes home and finds the truck AND tractor both stuck. Been there, done that, and really don’t need a second reminder from what is quite obvious to everyone who knows us, the smarter one in the pair.

So what the heck, lets jump up and down on the counter weight, that should work. HA! Those of you who have met me know that I am all of 170 lbs IF I wear all my winter clothes and stand in the shower fully dressed for half an hour.

By this time all the girls are back again and gathered around watching with thorough amusement. Isabeau has her head stuck under the counter weight sniffing the bottom of it, Katee is licking one of the rear tires and Bella is gumming the steering wheel. The rest of them are just standing around looking at the fine mess I’ve gotten myself into. The only single comfort to all this is that despite what I knew was their personal amusement at my expense they had no way to tell Chloe the story.

Ok this is getting long and boring enough.

Suffice it to say, two 2 ton hydraulic jacks, 3 axle jacks, a sheet of plywood, AND more shoveling than I wanted to do in the first place later, me, my tractor, the two holes from the wheels AND the entire poop and bedding pile are out of the pasture and unless one of you squeals to Chloe, the only other way for her to find out is if one of my girls learns to talk, cause lord knows I ain’t gonna tell her!!!

Karma, it really is all about Karma. And Karma has a nasty sense of humor

Gary and Chloe [who hasn't a clue yet!]

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