Friday, January 18, 2013

Farm Wife on Duty...

Two 10,000 gallon tanks.

The Farmer is in the midst of a large project which I will describe to you in detail later…Suffice to say, that on this day, The Farmer needed help with it, and I was conscripted into service.

Said effort involved the moving of a 10,000 gallon tank out of a very large hole in the ground so that adjustments could be made to the floor of the hole. Then it would be moved back into position for its final placement in the hole…

The Farmer would be lifting the tank with the large loader tractor, and I would be holding on to the end of a rope which was tied to the tank. Having much experience with being pressed into a service for a chore with which I have NO experience, I knew to take the time to ask specifically what we were attempting to do with this monster. I wanted to have some idea of the plan before it got off the ground. Where was the tank supposed to go, what did I have to do with the rope…

It soon became apparent that I had not asked enough questions.

I always dread these little chores. The Farmer expresses his confidence that I can do it, but this really only means that it’s some kind of job that can’t be messed up too badly. And I know that my deficiencies in the understanding of physics and spatial relationships are bound to result in messing up. The Farmer – a natural in these areas – just can’t comprehend that I can’t comprehend how to make things move, or not move in the right direction.

The instruction I received was to keep the tank from “swinging around” by pulling on the rope.

Okay…how difficult can that be?

For me? Difficult…

The Farmer had not been able to pump the tank completely empty, so as soon as the tank lifted, the remaining water rushed to one end – not the end with the rope -- and suddenly the tank was lifting way high into the air on my end! I hung on to the rope for dear life as I wondered was “swinging” up and down, or side-to-side? Foolishly thinking that I was responsible to level the tank, I pulled with all my might which resulted in me sliding down and almost under the behemoth…My feet were spinning out on the frosty ground!

The Farmer was gesturing and mouthing instructions to me from the tractor. I frantically tried to make adjustments one direction, and then the other as I failed at translating.

So The Farmer had to stop, and get out of the tractor for a little review, and little adjustment of the plan. I was to keep the tank from swinging too close to the raspberry row, or the tractor as he backed away from the hole.

Okay…fine. Except for the fact that I have never guided a swinging 10,000 gallon tank by a rope, this should be no problem. I’ve got it now.

Suffice to say, there was more frantic pulling by me and frantic gesticulating by The Farmer as the tank towering over me swung too quickly in response to my spastic direction. It was fairly hair-raising but we did get the tank moved without puncturing it…A danger that I was unaware of until after the fact. It might have helped to know exactly what I was trying to avoid…I was all over the “keep it from swinging around” but oblivious to the “it may puncture if it bumps anything”. Not to mention the little detail that I didn’t know how to make it move in the right direction smoothly.

Once the tank was safely on the ground, The Farmer took a couple of deep breaths, and kindly explained to me how to move the tank properly.

Fine, fine and dandy! But I didn’t intend to be part of this operation again…Just no desire to slide under a swinging tank, or fight physics as it swings in the air.

As with so many projects on the farm, I am really not qualified for the job…But I am available for the 10 minutes that help is needed, and I work for cheap. Stopgap – that’s me.

A man would be preferable for the job…PLEASE find a man to do it! I fear the day when The Farmer’s misplaced confidence results in a punctured tank, or some other costly catastrophe…

And it could be soon…because that tank has to go back in that hole in the ground, and I think I didn’t do badly enough to be replaced.

I’ll let you know if I need to look for an off-farm job to earn enough money to replace a 10,000 gallon tank.


Ridgely said...

I am laughing so hard. I have been a subject of similar scenarious so very many times...our hubbies are too much alike. Hang in there...or not, since it may involve being under the tank!

mom vg said...

You don't have to be a farmer's wife to experience this...try being a Realtor's wife pressed into service because of the economy. My crying fits usually come when dealing with Excel and transporting that document and merging it into is most humbling and frustrating...and yet, somehow I don't get fired either. This week, when I read the article about he guy at the office who outsourced his work to China and played at the office I decided it was for me...but, I couldn't pay the guys in China...because the wife doesn't get paid...sigh!

Robyn Burke said...

Oh dear! But I can relate... being married to a carpenter means occasionally doing more than just being a 'gopher' and it always contains moments of "Agggh" for me. the difference between men and women.... ;)

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Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (