The 500 Pound Bowling Ball
We farm a field up behind our house. I say 'up' because it does go up the hill
and by quite a bit. I say 'farm' cause that's what it is, but I'm sure there's
some real farmers out there who would laugh at our little field. But it's big
enough to play with our old Ferguson tractor and grows enough to feed us and
the woodchucks for a while.
I can't honestly say whether or not this field has ever been worked. Our house
was built around 1830 or so and had a lot of acreage long before we managed
to buy it. Of course the greedy land developers had cut all the local farm land
down to small plots to plop down new little houses and this field is what was
left for the house. It was a horse pasture before we started farming it and
in pretty bad shape. One thing it does grow exceptionally well is rocks! I've
moved more rocks out of that field than you'd believe. Finally gave up this
year and bought a rake to try and keep up with the 'crop', and it did help a
I used to have a section that I left as 'field' between plowed areas so I could
drive the tractor through and walk and such. This year I decided to plow it
up and increase our production of rocks. You can read the end result of this
decision in the "Papa's
Plow" story. I was plowin like crazy one day when the tractor just
stopped dead. Knew I hit a rock. Didn't know it would cost me a new plow and
almost make a new entrance into the house!
So after getting the new plow and plowing around the rock, it was time o get
that big bugger out of the way! I grabbed my trusty old iron bar, walked out
into the field and started diggin. Two hours later and I had a hole you could
bury a small cow in and a huge rock sittin there laughin at me. With a lot more
work, I managed to pry and roll this rock out of the hole... First mistake!
It was a _round_ rock and a good foot and half across! It didn't mind so much
comin out of that hole and I'll bet it was burried there for a long time. Cause
as soon as it saw the light of day it decided it wanted to go travelin!
That big round rock just picked itself up and started rollin down the field
right towards the house like a bowling ball on a mission of destruction. I thought
for sure I was gonna have a new doorway in the house and a lot of explaining
to do to Mama and the insurance man... Then it hit some huge deep furrows I
had made that morning with the new plow. It crashed through one. Bounced over
the next. Smashed the third and finally came to rest in a cloud of dust. Whew!!!
Now all I had to do was fill back in the hole and move the rock out of the field,
and make sure I didn't tell anyone about lettin this thing loose...
I brought "Burt", my old Ferguson up under the rock with the front
bucket. Managed to persuade the rock to climb into the bucket and thought I'd
drop it off in the middle of the field area by the corner of our orchard. We
have a couple of trees there and a pile of rocks that were thrown by hand out
of the plowed field. So up I drove through the furrows with this huge rock in
the front bucket. Not the smoothest of rides and you'd think I'd be smart enough
to move over a bit to get out of the furrows? But this was a long hot day and
the brain just wasn't workin at full capacity...
I made it up to the trees, dropped the bucket and slid the rock out onto the
ground. Well by now you'd think I would have realized that we were still on
the hill and now not even in plowed furrows? Yep, that rock just started travellin
again. This time right for the fence around our orchard. And we just put that
fence in too.... Luckily this part of the hill isn't as steep and there were
a couple of other rocks and a few old boards sitting there to help stop it....
Sure wouldn't make that mistake again!
Back to work, fillin in the hole and finishing up the plowing. Then to figure
out what to do with that big rock? Now anyone who's talked to me or read any
of these stories knows that I take walks around the field with my dog. When
we get to the top of the field, we sit there for a few minutes. I like to look
down at the house and field, watch clouds and birds and enjoy the surroundings.
Max (my dog) likes to get her ears scratched and a little personal attention
while she's lookin for a furry critter to chase... The point to this is the
'sittin' part. I've always meant to put some kind of chair, stump or rock up
there to sit on for these occasions. Hmmm, rock? I know where I can get a big
one just right for sittin!
Back up on Burt and over to the rock. Persuaded that big old rock to go for
one more ride in the bucket and up the field we go. I get up to the top of the
field and drop the bucket on the ground just ready to give it a tilt to slide
that big old round rock onto it's new home. But wait a minute... Maybe I'd rather
have it just a few feet over in that direction for a better view? So I turn
around a take a look down the field towards the house. And I'm sittin there
on top of Burt, lookin down that big long field at the house, trying to figure
out where I should drop this huge old round rock on the ground......... Round
rock......... Down the field......... Towards the house......... Round rock......
Well, after a rather indescribable facial expression and a few words not fit
for family viewing, I pull the bucket back up and idle poor old Burt back down
the field carryin that big round rock like a overgrown baby. Makin sure it doesn't
get away again!
That big old round rock finally did make it to be a nice outdoor sittin rock.
But it's now restin next to a big old Sugar Maple at the _bottom_ of the hill
_next_ to the house!
And I swore I'd never tell anyone how dumb I was that day. But, this is Fiasco
Farms and if we can't laugh at ourselves, life wouldn't be so good!
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