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This blog is about two things: 

The first is about that moment that we never, ever remember. It occurs between two other moments. The first is life being good, we are relaxed, our minds comfortably wandering. The second moment is us surprised to find ourselves flat on our backs, or in a ditch, or, as in this case, bobbing in a pond with our tractor sinking fast next to us.

Right between comfort and confusion there is a split second that is quick, powerful and never remembered. 

Anywhoo, the past weekend at Soul Farm, a moment like that occurred to our good neighbors. Ben was driving his little red tractor next to the pond, and one moment he was coming in from the hot fields, probably looking forward to a cold beer, and the next he was bobbing in the water, his tractor sinking next to him. The first thing we did, after we knew Ben was a-okay, was to pull out my old John Deere backhoe, and try to pull the little red tractor out before it sank too deeply in the soft pond bottom.

Ben dove back in the pond, and wrapped chains around his tractor, and we tried to pull it out. I’m not super experienced at this kind of thing, and I couldn’t lift his tractor out. I pulled out the Farmall to try to add some horsepower, but to no avail. The little red tractor would barely budge. 

Now, here we come to the second thing this blog is about: Neighbors and Community. As you have probably discovered by now, things can go south in the country pretty quickly. You know that scene in the movie “Witness”, where something goes wrong on the farm (bad guys) and the little Amish boy starts ringing the bell, the music crescendos, and you see all the neighbor farmers out in the fields look up, drop their hoes, and start running to help? I’m sorry to say, that scene sometimes feels like a weekly occurrence at Soul Farm. I’m sure my neighbors roll their eyes now whenever they hear our bell, before they drop their hoes and start running.

All it took was a couple of calls, and the neighbors came to help. If I ever had doubts that “tractor whisperers” inhabited our world, they were dissolved this weekend as I watched neighbor Tom use multiple tractors, and a couple hours of time, to little by little gently coax the little red tractor out of the pond. Everyone else helped by adjusting chains, and providing ideas and moral support.

If you are a tractor that’s decided to take a dip in a pond on a hot summer day, I can tell you one thing: the experience will change you. After a little work, a spa weekend, and a couple of massages, the tractor will be up and running again. And, as Tom explained as he dragged Little Red back to the neighbors farm, “Out here, we call this ‘recreation’!”

I promise, yogis retreating at Soul Farm will never be asked to fish tractors out of the pond, no matter how hard they beg.

Now, here’s a footnote to the story. About a week later, it was discovered that a part of the hay baler had still been attached to Little Red when he slipped into the pond. The hay baler is probably 50 years old, and this part is difficult to find. This brave grandson dove into the pond and found the part, slowly sinking into the bottom, and saved the day! I like to end this blog with a picture of Victory. Ya-hoo!!


  • Greg says:

    Was this in one of your ponds?

  • Tom says:

    Judi you add another dimension to my life! Thanks.
    Hope others get the same feeling after a visit.

    • Judi says:

      Well, Tom, “another dimension” is one way of putting it! Here’s to neighbors helping one another…many thanks for your help over the years.