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Good Rain and Wild Rides

Posted 7/17/2010 11:34am by Julie Hurst / Roy Brubaker.

I believe much of Pennsylvania is rejoicing over the much-needed rain we recieved this week.  I was surprised to learn we got nearly three inches in what sounded like a gentle, overnight rain.  This heat is quickly sucking up the moisture, but not before the pastures, our garden, and our spirits were rejuvenated. 

This week the girls have swimming lessons every day so I am back to fitting in tasks here and there around busy schedules rather than having a day or two of rapid productivity like last week.  This morning I thought I might surprise Roy by moving a round bale into the barn for the horses with the skid steer.   The Bobcat skid steer is a machine I try to avoid but I've been feeling pretty brave with it lately and thought that moving a round bale was a pretty safe task for me.  It was simple enough to drive the skid steer to the line of round bales at the east end of the barn and even stabbing it with the big forks so that it wouldn't roll off was pretty simple.  When I got the open barn I briefly stopped to consider whether or not I should jump off and try to push the doors open a little wider, especially since I am somewhat of a novice with this big machine.  But I was in a hurry and I  saw that with a gentle touch I should be able to drop the bale just inside the door so I kept going.  Gentle or graceful, especially in my hands and feet, is not exactly a good way to describe the movements of a skid steer however.   A skid steer moves like a ZTR lawn mover; your hands control the turns and direction it is going. That feels pretty natural and intuitive to me. However on the floor there are two pedals: one controls raising and lowering of the fork, the other controls the angle.  When I got to the barn door I raised the fork and tried to tilt it back so that the bale would not fall off too soon but I quickly forgot which foot controlled which movement so suddenly I and the wild beast I was riding were bucking around dangerously in front of door that looked way too small for us. Rather than gather my wits I started shouting "stop" to the skid steer as we reared and banged our way into the door.  As I aimlessly stomped on the pedals, while the Bobcat bucked and reared aggressively, it dawned on me that I should be listening to my own command to "stop" but for several seconds I couldn't for the life of me figure out how.  Finally I removed my feet from the pedals, took a deep breath, and assessed the situation.  The bale was high against the top of the barn door, to my left some of the steel siding was a little crumpled, but other than that, we were safe.   I tested a pedal to see if I guessed the right one and slowly the bale lowered and I tilted it slightly and it slid neatly onto the barn floor, just about where I intended it to be.   And there it sits waiting to be handled by a pitch fork; a much more elegant, less cumbersome tool and one I am quite comfortable using.

This evening when Roy got home he informed me that I had picked up a bale from the mulch-hay pile and it will have to be removed for pig bedding rather than used to feed the horses.  Bummer.