Mike and 10 year old Andy were cutting pasture grass in the back field, ¾ mile from the house. They went back and forth cutting the grass sideways on a steep hill. When the swather became clogged, Mike shut it off, and they both climbed into the space between the header and the main body to remove the hay. All of a sudden the counter weight caused the swather to slowly swing around and start rolling down the hill, heavy end first. Mike quickly realized what was happening, and the two of them started walking to keep up. Andy was too big to lift over the side, and there was no time to climb out. As the swather picked up speed, it became apparent that they wouldn’t be able to keep up, so Mike threw Andy to the ground, and covered his son with his own body. The header rolled over them, and Mike heard his ribs cracking. The swather continued rolling down the hill, going faster and faster, but now Mike and Andy were clear of it. Andy’s first words were, “Dad, we’re alive, it didn't kill us!” Andy must have raised up while the header rolled over him, because he now had a deep crease across his right temple. Mike tried to pick him up and carry him, but his ribs were just too painful. “Stay right there,” Mike warned. “I’ll go get the truck”. The truck was about ½ mile away, and Mike’s ribs were hurting, but he made good time. When he got to the shop where the truck was parked, he noticed he had a flat tire! Never mind. He drove on it flat, picked up Andy, and drove to the house. Next on the agenda was a trip to town to the ER. Mike didn’t have any breaks, but he had separated the cartilage between several of his ribs, every bit as painful as broken ribs. Andy had a minor concussion, and his face swelled up so big you could hardly see his right eye.
This picture of a swather isn't the actual one. It weighed more and the sides were taller. But this one gives you an idea of what it was like.
Friday, August 5, 2011
We had a break-in at our shop and numerous items were taken, including a chainsaw. Mike said it shouldn’t be hard to identify the guilty party: just look for the person with pulled muscles from trying to start that stubborn, irritating piece of junk.
When he related the story to a friend, the friend suggested we get a Doberman to watch the place, and he just happened to have one that was 18 months old and needed a new home. It seems he had gotten the dog specifically to guard his pick-up while he was up in the woods logging, but the dog took his job so seriously that no one could get near the truck to move it out of the way of trees they wanted to fall.
Mike agreed to bring him home for a few days to see if we would like him. I was scared to death to even go meet him, considering their vicious reputation. But he was the sweetest, most loving dog, and we fell in love with him immediately. Mike threw him a bone and he devoured it in three bites. “Gator”, Mike said. “We’ll name him Gator because he’s like an alligator.”
We just assumed that when he guarded his master’s pick-up, it was from the bed of the truck. So Mike, sitting in the driver’s seat of our little Chevy Luv, patted the side of the truck through the open window, and said, ”Get in the truck.” He did. He sailed right through the tiny open window and into Mike’s lap.!
The second day we had him, he disappeared, and we thought sure he was headed back to his former home. But we eventually found him down by the creek, with a face full of porcupine quills. We were hesitant to cause this dog pain, not knowing him very well, so rather than take the quills out ourselves, we took him to the vet. He put him to sleep rather than take a chance of getting bitten. When it happened again a few weeks later, we decided to attempt this task ourselves. We hog-tied him and sat on him, and though he fought and struggled, between the two of us, we persevered. Then it happened again, only this time I was home by myself, so I had to go to the neighbors and ask for their help. As time went on, and this dog insisted on clearing our ranch of porcupines, we discovered it was easier not to tie or hold the dog down, but just let him stand there looking forlorn, while we jerked each quill out with pliers. It is really painful because the quills go in easily, but are barbed and take flesh with them when they are pulled. Now you would think that he would associate pain with porcupines and leave them alone, but I think it just made him madder and madder, and he vowed to rid the world of them.
His best trick was playing dead when we would pretend to shoot him with our “finger” gun. In his later years he was almost totally deaf caused by a firecracker going off close to him. He lived to 15, and died of cancer.