Here at Happy Earth Farm we are very aware of safety. Shit happens fast, especially when working with heavy machinery and sharp tools. We are in the process of running a water source out to the cow pasture. No, rural farmers do not hire people to do stuff like this or they would be broke within a year. The work is dirty, tiring and injury is always a possibility. The trench-digging project required the tractor, a middle buster implement (looks kind of like a very sharp keel of a sailboat), PVC cutters, shovels, the bundled PVC pipes stacked near the barn and a lot of time, energy and sweat. Every project has potential hazards so every piece of equipment we own and use has manufacture warning stickers slapped over every inch.
We always use great caution when using our #1 piece of equipment, the tractor. That 2-ton beast has more warnings printed on it than a barbed-wire fence around a dynamite factory. That bad boy can tip if the bucket is too high or too full, crushing the driver or anyone standing nearby. The warning for that danger even has an exclamation point! Loose clothing is a concern because getting anything caught almost anywhere on the tractor can result in being dragged underneath and end in almost certain death. Get caught standing behind the orange monster when reverse is mistakenly engaged? Toast. Instantly.
Steve and I began the project day by switching out the box blade implement for the middle buster so we could dig most of the trench with machinery instead of by hand. The task of switching out tractor implements is fraught with potential injury. One wrong move and a hand could get mangled in-between the tractor and implement as pins and clips are being secured. Lose focus and drop a 300lb implement and a broken foot or severed toe is a reality. There are warning stickers prominently displayed alluding to every possibility. Steve and I worked diligently, all the while being aware of communicating well so neither of us got hurt.
Next, Steve began running the tractor up and down the marked line. He drove while I made sure the cleared area was deep enough and straight. Whenever we work in these situations, Steve always takes it slow, while constantly looking to ensure that I am working well out of range, lest I become road kill.
After clearing the trench, we moved onto the PVC pipes. Several of the fittings needed cutting, so once again attention was required. The blades on the pipe cutter are so sharp and the instrument itself so bulky that one wrong move and forget wearing gloves ever again…..mittens only. The original package actually had a picture with a finger between the blades and a circle with a “/” through it.
With the hazardous chores behind, we could finally move onto laying the PVC pipes. Steve headed to the barn to grab the first load sitting in bundles next to the barn.
The Bungees! The damn bungees we used to secure the bundled pipes! The stupid f*#king, innocent bungees ! They are just bungees for god’s sake! The tension was so tight around the first bundle that Steve bent over to relieve the pressure. BAMN! I’ve never seen a 6’4” 205lb man go down so fast. Instantly, his eye was so swollen and bruised that he looked like Ronda Rousey after her epic defeat or Tiger Woods after Elin took a couple of golf club swings to his face. It was difficult to assess the damage because Steve couldn’t even keep his eye open because the plastic end of the cord scratched his cornea. His eye looked so bad that at first I didn’t even notice the bruise on his cheek or his split lip. He was a bloody, bruised mess!
As I gently cleaned the wound, applied the medicine and capped it off with a kick ass eye patch, Steve looked at me and said, “But I don’t want to be a pirate.” If he is referencing lines from a Seinfeld episode, he is gonna be okay.