The Clearwater Complex Fire affected everything and everyone, shifting priorities, rearranging schedules and causing all things to be reevaluated, but in the end life must go on.
We are a little late, but hopefully still have time to get in winter wheat, oats, and other winter crops so they can sprout before it frosts too heavy.
Working to this end we plowed one field on our property close by, but a larger field remains and we opted to use our bigger tractor which is in a different location. Yet, before it could be brought over the 50 acres needed to be finished in that location. No problem right? I’ll have the tractor back by dark. Well, as I neared completion a sound inside the tractor that had been getting louder got a LOT louder. So loud in fact I shut it down as quick as my hands (and feet) could move.
The John Deere had broken a U-joint. Twice earlier I had investigated the sound which was only audible during tight turns of the articulating body, but couldn’t see the source of the problem because the shaft was a constant velocity shaft (never stops spinning while the engine is running). My mistake…
Since I had no tools I hoofed it out and back to the truck, eventually heading home. After getting home, I was able to locate the needed part through a John Deere dealer and a friend (thanks Christy!) was able to pick it up just before closing. As we say here, “They are proud of those John Deere parts!” Thankfully, I wasn’t paying for the most expensive u-joint I had ever heard of…
The next day loaded with tools that I figured would be needed, I headed back to Battle Ridge. The seemingly relatively easy job that I told my wife would take one hour (she’s heard that before!) took nearly all day!! When the joint broke, the shaft was thrown off center and damaged itself and a bolt holding the joint in place. 20 minutes conquered 7 bolts, but the next 2 hours were spent on solving the damaged bolt problem.
Finally(!), it came loose through some unconventional persuasion. A quick run to the local NAPA parts place told me what I already felt was the truth: they didn’t carry these special John Deere bolts. 😩. No matter, that’s what they have bolt bins for! Evidently, horseshoes and handgrenades has some company…U-Joints!
Assembly went smooth and the bolts were torqued to a yank and a squint and then with fingers crossed the beast was fired up…..no explosions, no rattles, no sudden banging and green parts flying! After a visual inspection with motor off and on, a good greasing, and a bolt check we were off to the races!
The moral to this story?
When everything in life gets tough, when circumstances work against you, when green parts mean more green paper than you thought, and the bolts are driving you nuts…just keep farming! You’ll whip it eventually!