tractor woes

I don’t own a tractor but my cousin, Sonny, has one he is using to help me. It is old but powerful. I don’t know if this is to be expected but since we have been using it we have bent the arm that holds the bucket on, gotten the transmission stuck so we could not shift it, changed out the hydraulic fluid because it got water in it and would not hold up the auger, gotten the auger stuck in the bottom of a 3 foot post hole and had the jack it out, broken too many sheer pins to count and bent the U joint that holds the auger on.

The tractor does make the work easier and it can dig a posthole in 5 minutes that will take me an hour by hand but then you have 55 minutes of repair time between each hole. This does not seem to bother Sonny but my temperament does not handle the delays well. I would rather pound away for 1 hour at a hole than deal with the mechanical challenges.

I notice it is not only our tractor. My brush clearers had to stop several times to repair their tractors and we totally blew up the first brush chipper we rented. Is there something I am missing here or is this to be expected when you are using equipment hard? I also have the same challenge with chain saws. When they work I can get so much done but then just when I get on a roll the thing won’t start or the chain falls off or gets dull or needs oil that I have to go back to the store for. Do I have some kind of bad machine karma or do I need to accept these things as part of not taking life so seriously? Madalyn

Sonny’s Tractor
Sonny's Tractor

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About Madalyn Ward, DVM

This blog provides information based on my unique take on horse health and well being. The articles are based on experience of treating and working with horses for over 40 years. In most cases the articles are focused on an holistic approach to health and management. When conventional medicine offers good research or therapy, I share this information as well. Madalyn Ward, DVM

3 thoughts on “tractor woes

  1. marijaneb

    Ah. Having been married to John the cherry farmer/jack of all trades for 30 years, I’ve learned that the operator must always come with the machine… Machines can be just as individually persnickety as horses. One year when he had a medical emergency in the middle of the harvest, within 24 hours, the crew had two broken cherry shakers and two broken tractors and no clue how to fix them. He just has the touch. Marijane

  2. letabug

    I think the hundreds of details of a move as major as the one you are undertaking are each and every one pretty much like like Sonny’s tractor! If anything can go wrong, it will. You have undertaken a tremendous project and life change, and I for one appreciate your candor in sharing your fears and frustrations about it with us, your trusty clientele. I know you’ll come through it with flying colors and I guess all I can suggest, when the tractor breaks down, is to go sit on a log and have a beer or meditate! Good luck, Madalyn. We’re with you all the way. And keep posting the pictures–they’re fun to see. Leta

  3. syeh

    Hey Madalyn,

    Don’t worry, you don’t have bad machine karma. From experience, tractors are made to break, really! We don’t have one (yet) but I’m sure we will soon the way our level of farming is skyrocketing! Anyway, every tractor I’ve ever seen breaks all the time. Whether you have to weld something back on or fix an oil leak or figure out what’s wrong with the engine…they are made the break. Oh, and chain saws? Alan has to oil his ALL THE TIME. Just the way it works. Heavy machinery, lots of friction, lots of load = breaking down. With the newer equipment, there are maintenance schedules every so many hours, like with the Skidsters and stuff, but most tractors are about 1000 years old so no one pays attention to the number of hours. Know what I mean? Enjoy the farm life and just plan for breakdowns!!


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