Adventures with machinery

Feeling a little post-Thanksgiving lethargy, I decided to get out and putz around on the Cat loader for a while.

That's never as simple as it sounds, not with me at the controls.

I headed out onto the swamp, which is empty of water. The frozen peat ground seemed like the ideal terrain for the all-terrain Cat. I collected some firewood, and rolled across the swamp like a tank in battle, headed for the woodpile.

Well, the peat ground gave way mid-way across the swamp, and I fell into a pit. As I cast around trying to get out, I stirred up a black hole of soupy muck. I couldn't find bottom with the bucket to push myself out. Previously invisible water surrounded the cat and lapped against the door.

So, I was stuck.

Before I went to Dad for help, I ran back up to the place and got the International 574 warmed up, gathered together the chains, and got the tractor placed in the swamp.

Then, it was to go get Dad. Two years ago when I sunk the other skid steer through the ice into three feet of water, I was almost scared to tell Dad. The passing years have dulled my sense of shame. I didn't even worry this time.

The tractor couldn't budge the Cat. It started spinning in the peat muck and threatened to sink in itself, even though we stretched 25 feet of chains out so the tractor could work from what looked to be more solid ground.

Darkness fell and we decided to let things sit until morning.

About eight o'clock this morning as I laid in bed, I could hear the stirring of machinery up at the place. Dad was already up and ready to tackle the problem. So was brother Joe.

Dad found some sturdy oak pallets. We drove the tractor on top of them so it wouldn't sink. I went and found two eight-foot oak logs, which we placed in the cesspool of muck to give the Cat bucket something to push against. Once we got the whole thing set up, which took about an hour, I got in the Cat, pushed with the bucket while Dad pulled with the 574. The Cat popped up out of the muck like nothing.

So, that was a relief. We didn't need to call Tim the backhoe man. The cat is in the shop thawing out. And I have been rescued from another embarrassing machinery situation.

It will be a relief when the swamp fills again so I am not tempted to cruise out there with machinery. I think I have been stuck four times this summer. At least.