It is truly amazing that we all survived the dairy. There were plenty of injuries, trips to the emergency room, stitches and a few broken bones. We all learned to drive the tractor and truck, some earlier that others. I’m sure dad enjoyed the freedom he had as us kids took over many of the daily feeding chores. There was of course hay to put out, mangers to clean, manure to scrape, irrigation and milking to be done it never ended.
Once when us boys headed by myself went to go feed the dry cows. I could have only been about twelve driving the tractor with the trailer in tow with Paul, Matt and Steve riding on the trailer. Often we would stand on the trailer when it was moving and pretend that we were surfing. That was always a challenge when going around corners. Occasionally someone would fall off. Good thing we always drove fairly slow.
The dry cow hay was stacked between their pen and the heifer pasture. We got to our destination and parked next to the stack. Dad always told us to lower the bucket when the tractor was parked. You never knew when a hydraulic hose would break. It became routine to lower the bucket as soon as I stopped the tractor. Safety first, right! Usually I would shut off the engine and let the hydraulics bleed out to lower the bucket allowing the weight to force it down.
This time for some reason as soon as I parked Paul had jumped up on the left front tire and was leaning over the engine hood just as I lowered the bucket. The arm that extends out to the bucket had pinned him solidly against the engine hood. He let out a scream just as I looked up. It took a few seconds for the impending danger to register. I let go of the control lever and then grabbed it again to move it into the up position.
That was dumb because the engine was off and all it did was add more pressure. Then fumbling with the key the tractor came back to life and I lifted the bucket back up to release its grip on my little brother. Wow that was close! Paul fell back off the tire and was perfectly ok. Mom often spoke about our Guardian Angel. Paul’s must have been there fluttering its wings hard that day. Thank God!