Tag Archives: cold

Doing The Hard Thing

above photo came from http://latimesphoto.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/la-0105-pin03.jpg

I just finished reading Seth Godin’s last blog: http://profile.typepad.com/sethgodin  which was about focusing and doing the “hard thing.” With that in mind, I decided it was high time to share the link to what I found to be one of the most inspirational readings on U-Tube) Roll the Dice   Why? Because I am about to tell you a story from my past-a “Portal to the Unforgettable” that is about all of the above. I hope it inspires you to do the hard thing.

Winter cow

Well here it was, the day of reckoning. With chagrin, I remembered that building the silo was my idea, because I was afraid of the fires we had started to burn the stubble fields after combining trefoil seed. “I know. We will harvest trefoil for cattle feed, and store it in a silo!!!!!” I declared, relieved that we would never again need to burn over our fields.  But, fear begat more problems, that begat more FEAR! And this day, it was COLD-so bitter cold was it, that when I pushed on the “never fail, easy lever”  the motor went ZZZZZPLop… dead. Well, I hit the circuit breaker sure enough, but what’s a mother to do? The unloader auger was working 60 feet up in the 70 foot silo and somehow, it got stopped and pushed up a pile in front of itself which froze solid faster than I could say, “Uh-oh.” Well I had finally climbed the silo—me —who  was terrified of heights—climbed it at night even—so I can do it again, but it was SOOO FRIGGIN’ COLDmust be -40 with a wind-chill that sunk temps another 10-30 degrees colder then that! And the cattle had come all the way from the balsam groves to eat trefoil and now, with the unloader stuck and frozen in,  they were getting “nadda” for their trek. They looked at me with mad cow eyes and BELLERED “FIX it, do the hard thing!
Fit for pushing levers but not for climbing silos, I sported Sorel boots  with felt inserts (the modern day Bunny Boots of the Korean War) a heavy duty snowmobile suit with hood over a full face mask and thick mittens over thick mittens, I was unbendable and about as quick and agile as a manatee out of water. But, I clunked my way up the ladder alongside the clean chute to open a door and see what was gumming up the works. There were doors all the way up the side of the silo and the unloading mechanism moved down with the hayledge, door after door, to blow trefoil through its tall curved blower pipe. Entrance was through the door a story below the unloader. Just open the door and climb in onto the floor of compacted grasses, I thought. I can do this.   I huffed and puffed, careful not to look down, a little proud of myself having beaten back fear earlier that winter on my first climb up. So I got to the door I must open, and there were no “easy push” levers up high. True story, my favorite securing system was baling twine. But our new OSHA approved silo had solid oak doors fitted with monster latches —frozen tight. With a death grip on the ladder, I pounded the door with my other fist hoping to shake the latches lose, but it was like battering a wet noodle against the walls of Fort Knox. Now why didn’t you bring a hammer, I assaulted myself for being stupid, and clunked on down again to get a sledge. Up again, and despite unleashing “David against Goliath” mighty blows, the latches would not move.
The only other way “in” was to squeeze around the blower spout where it emptied into the clean chute, and scrunch my bulk through the door alongside and over the blowpipe, and then free drop down a story onto the grass floor. I couldn’t cry, my eyes would freeze shut, but I wanted to. It seemed impossible. I couldn’t get help (that’s not allowed for a full time farmer type with pride) and anyway, who would I ask? We owned the only working silo in the county. I had never tried to scramble through an open door—how to do it? Feet first? Head first? And maybe I’d look down and … ! Breaking News flashed in my horrified mind. “Frozen farmer found stuck in silo door 65 feet up.” I could even see the photo with the News Flash: two boots sticking out the highest door (picture taken with a telescopic lens) the photographer standing on good old mother earth.
Could I get in? Could I fix the problem? Could I get out? If I got stuck inside the silo, the kids wouldn’t miss me until they ran out of Cheerios. Now this would be the greatest battle so far in my war against fear, and I needed to do the hard thing! Yes, I needed a win against my fear–for the future.