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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Reflections on the upcoming anniversary of working off the farm

I was looking back to 2015 in the blog history. I suspect my job sucked from day one. It was day two that I came up with the tuition, insurance, retirement mantra and that is how I have made it through.
Today I started a new job.
I am a temporary dump truck driver.
I have a commercial driver's license for something like 30 years. I've never really used it, but I've kept it up to date since the CDL was invented by the idiot gubment.
I can drive triples and tanker trucks. I've never done that before.
Today I declined the opportunity to drive a set of doubles. (another story...)
The steam line at my college is failing and so they hired a company to repair it. But first, they put off the repair for several years so their was continual steam venting from the earth. It was sort of neat in the winter....
But I digress.,
There is a company that has subcontracted the excavation work for the steam line. They seem to be having a great time. They climb their dirt piles with their electric UTV. The employees run from the excavator to the Bob Cat. The young kid does wheelies with the Bob Cat which causes the tight asses at my college to blow multiple fuzes.
Their supervisor has been friendly with me. I got to telling him stories of my truck driving failures whilst hauling silage. Like the time I had to shift the five and four in downtown rush hour traffic while hauling corn and I screwed up the ship and had to stop in the middle of traffic and start over. Or almost hitting a small car with a giant pumpkin in front of the train station in Salem. Or the time I was loading a truck with the really old but big Case excavator that my uncle used to own, and I dumped a giant load of mud in the bed of a small farm truck, which caused the truck driver and his passenger to hit their heads on the roof of the truck, and then it turned out to be the owner of the farm I was digging the ditch for.
Then he offered me a job driving dump truck.
I said, "But I'm just a farmer," and he said, "But, you have a CDL."
It turns out he was not joking and he is paying me twice what I make at my college job.
I promptly took a week off work.
Today was my first day.
I went to work at 7 am. We had a nice little chat. Young guy loaded me up. The supervisor showed me wear to dump. Everyone seemed happy. The supervisor came by a couple times and chatted with me while I was being loaded.
I screwed up shifting the 13 speed several times. The supervisor said he didn't know how to drive a dump truck and that he was just happy I was helping. I noted that I needed to make some calls as I also needed to haul hay today. The supervisor said that was fine and he assumed I was not going to do that while driving through the down town of our fair city.
At 11 am the supervisor and the kid said they were going home as they live out of state.
The kid showed me the controls on the excavator and how to switch from the normal controls to the weird controls that I am used to using. The said I should leave the keys under that floor mat and I could work as long as I liked.
I am so slow with the excavator. I tried the controls in the normal setting but kept hitting the truck bed. The next load I switched the valve to the Vintage Case setting. But then I was all kinds of mixed up. The bucket rotates and tilts which is really cool and fun.
I got better.
Then my neighbor said he would haul a load of straw for me so I went home to help him. He wanted me to drive the truck but I begged off claiming incompetence and I drove the RoadRunner.
We hauled my two tie wheat straw into the barn. Now I only have five truck loads of fescue straw in the field. It has suffered two inches of rain already, I suppose the anticipated additional inch will not ruin it further.
I'm pretty much screwed in the farming department. I expect the main farm to be ok if we actually get our hemp harvested, but my personal farm is screwed.
I did not realize how essential my daughter was to the operation. She would go out to work at 9 a.m. and would ask for a job. This would set things in motion. She would invariably get sent back to the house until 10 am but at ten there would be a raking or baling job for her.
This meant that my retired helper would be able to bale which meant that I would be able to stack till midnight when I got home.
Without Lulu, the helper would rake for two days and then bale for three days and I would come home and work on the baler until 9:30 pm and be so irritated I'd feel like I stacked until midnight but in reality NOTHING GOT DONE ALL SUMMER. And so when I took a day off and actually got something baled it was so late in the year that it was shite and there was no real incentive for the people who were guilted into buying the aforementioned shite to actually picking it up and then we got 2" of rain.
And then of course as a side note, I didn't bale my feedstore 2-tie hight quality straw as I was still working for the main farm and so it all got rained on and I lost my customer.
I think there is a basic failing in my business plan.
Four more years and my daughter will have her degree in Cognitive Neuroscience or Nursing and I can quit this idiot job where I am not trusted with keys to Toro lawnmowers, or the green house, and my supervisor thinks I am wasting time on my cell phone and the list goes on and on.
It was really great to be appreciated and respected for just one day. I would have driven truck for free, just for the appreciation and trust shown by my new supervisor. If they offer me a permanent job, I suspect my daughter my have to look for more scholarships....


  1. I enjoyed driving dump truck until I got to know the one of the two bosses too well; then I hated it for the same reason you hate your college job. I hope next year goes better on the farming side.

  2. It almost sounds like being a kid again.

    Grace and peace

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. I also took a temp job, but driving silage truck. The boss thought it was a 3 speed when he bought it (the round chrome knob says "Eaton 3 speed"), so he made it home at 45mph. I showed him how it has the standard R/L 1/2 3/4 high/low, but then the blue knob is irrelevant because I seldom get out of 5th gear in the field. A friend thinks it is a 15 speed, but we may never know as it probably won't leave the farm.

    1. That is interesting. It sounds like it is a 13 speed that is in high range. The splitter thingy doesn't seem to work if it is low range. I think with a 13 speed you go 2-4 and then pull up a knob and go back to 2 which is then 5 and then you can use the splitter knob on the head of the gearshift like a two speed rear axle.
      "First" gear is over and back opposite reverse and you are held out of if by a spring. You can use it to start out empty in high or shift down into it so you don't have to change gear ranges.
      But, if it was in low he wouldn't have driven home at 45 mph. So, what do I know?

  5. How did I miss this post for two weeks? Its not like I've been busy harvesting. Nice to read of other's farming disasters when you are going through one of your own.

  6. I drove my Dad's 30's era Marmon Herrington about 50 feet once.


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