This time of year on the farm is a very, very busy one. With all of the rain we had in the spring it made for a shorter time to get things done. We went from planting corn, to planting beans, to cutting, raking and baling hay. New this year is the addition of a bale wrapper which we offer as a custom service to our clientele.
Two weeks ago today we had a beautiful but super hot day! Everyone was working like crazy with lots of customers having cut hay and wanting it all baled dry at the same time before the next rain came. Papa Clare was out in the field picking up our own bales, Steve was operating the Square Baler, and Nathan was running the Round Baler, all in different fields.
The last thing any farmer wants to hear is the word "fire". It was just after dinner time, the little boys and I had dropped Hayley off at soccer practice and were on our way home. We drove by a field close to home and saw Daddy and the big square baler in the field. Mason suggested we take him some supper so we zipped home, wrapped up some hamburgers and stuff and were on our way back down the road when we saw him coming towards us. We assumed he was hungry and being close to home he decided to pop in to grab a bite to eat. After turning around and having him follow us up the laneway, we very quickly realized that something was not right. He came flying up the laneway and jumped out of the tractor and into his truck, only sparing a moment to yell that the baler was on fire. My stomach sank as by process of elimination I realized it had to be the round baler he was talking about. The boys and I quickly decided to follow the cloud of dust down the road to see what we could do to help.
Upon turning onto the Bear Creek road just off Ivan Drive we saw the big plumes of black thick smoke and knew that things were not good. We reached the field just after Steve and Papa Clare, and found Nathan dirty, sweaty and shaky.
You see, Steve's panick was not for the sake of the baler, but for the sake of his son. Things like this happen on a farm, we aren't the first and we certainly won't be the last. When Steve heard the words "baler is on fire" cross Nathan's lips his first and foremost concern was for his safety. He told him to get away from the fire, all 3 of them having called the fire department. Nathan acted quickly, calmly and rationally in the heat of the moment. He ejected the bale from the machine, he opened it up and tried to take out the dry hay which he knew could ignite things. He attempted to put out the fire and when faced with the realization he couldn't, he lowered the jack, unhooked the hydraulic lines that connected the tractor to the baler and he quickly drove it out of harms way. While we commend him and are proud of his fast thinking and actions, we took the opportunity to remind him that we pay insurance on the equipment so they can be replaced, but we can not replace his life. Nothing is more important then the safety of our loved ones.
We are so thankful that we only lost a piece of equipment that day, that we had a mother/mother-in law at home who was fervently praying to our Heavenly Father for the safety and protection of Nathan. That we can use this as a teaching moment and a little dose of reality. Farm accidents happen all to often, and we need to make sure we learn from them and do our very best to avoid them.
Things like this happen so quickly! The baler being just over a year old, and having been well maintained and looked after, shouldn't have caught fire. But something as simple as a bearing getting too hot, or a stone caught in the wrong spot can change things in an instant. We are thankful for the local fire department who knew exactly the field we were in with just saying the name of it, and the friends and neighbours who show their care and concern when things do happen. We are back up and running and looking forward to the remainder of a great hay and summer season.
So while we may have "lost" a piece of equipment that day, we "won" when Nathan was spared from injury or worse. We thank God for each and every moment he gives us, whether good or bad.
Enjoy this week!