Tag Archives: silo

The Cave and the Treasure

Looking back, I think this was the turning point in what had been a lifetime battle with fear. It certainly was the most frightening and deadly.  Once begun, there was little chance of “chickening out”.  I had climbed the silo—a huge achievement for someone terrified of heights, and determined that the only way to shovel up the pile of hayledge plugging the auger was to get inside. But the -40 degree weather had frozen shut the doors. The only opening was around the blower spout itself.  Even if I could get through that highest door, bulked-up with extreme weather clothing as I was, could I get down to the grassy floor a story below; could I fix what was wrong and get out again?  The door was small and 65 feet above certain death.
Now I know that the door was a “Magic Door”, a portal to the unforgettable. Certainly, I will never forget the view along that blower pipe down into the silo, never forget the leap of faith it took to get in and out. Certainly, I was afraid, but I did it anyhow, because I could. So what treasure awaited in the cave I most feared to enter?  Self respect. For years, I had been using biofeedback in my work for a chronic pain clinic. I knew techniques to relax and quiet a heart racing out of control. I knew how to tame fear. On the other side of this task, was life governed by self respect.  What a treasure!


Bring it on
I can do it
I’ve been practicing for this
Check it off
This fearful task
Written large upon my list
Fear will not limit
World and vision
I am more then what I thought
I’ll take down
With facts and thinking
The barriers fear has wrought


cover of The Way Back
New novel: The Way Back

Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.     To find it on Amazon, go to http://bit.ly/SoldiersJourney

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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.

Sing Your Song With Soul

Above image at: http://www.rejectlost.org/overcoming-fear

Now I’ve done it!!  Just a few moments of double duty dovetailing, and while I wasn’t looking, the wind closed the end of the giant plastic bag  (clean chute) that extended up the feeding side of the 70 foot silo—just a moment of closure and hayledge being blown out the high-up door into the bag began to plug at the bottom and fill all the way to the top. There was a “Bang” as the chute ripped free and fell. The cattle stampeded in panic, and I knew, my heart plunging along with the clean chute—that I was “in for it.” The huge blue catch basin above the rotating feeder panels was now filled with 60+ feet of plastic bag, tightly stuffed, like a giant green baloney sausage, any coil of which was too heavy for me to lift.  The cattle were coming back to the feeder now, looking at me accusingly. “Hurry-up.  We want our munchy meal!” There was only one thing to do. I knifed open a coil and dredged out handfuls of icy compacted fiber.
Ordinarily, the grassy jumble tumbled down, its molasses bouquet misted with the warm breath of the cows to envelop the hundred foot feeder in a steamy cloud surrounded by frigid blue air. But “handful by handful” was slow going. The cows bunted and shoved for a place at the feeder, impatient and clearly disappointed.
Ordinarily,the pregnant cows would stand belly to belly, eyes shut in ecstasy,  tongues smacking the sweet moist trefoil in. They chewed with their mouths open and full!  Not today. To get into the coils at the base of the fiasco, I had to lay on my back in the feeder trough, reach up and drag hayledge down to fall on my face and get in my eyes. Irritated by too little too late, the cows began to fight with each other, all the while bellering at me to hurry.  They were cold. So was I.
All because of dovetailing, I scolded myself.   How could I have been so stupid to let this happen. I cursed myself over every slit I had to cut in the plastic, and as I clawed handfuls out through the holes, I stuffed anger at myself down into my gut (to be used later).  Stupid fool-will you ever learn?  It was an all day job on a day—like most—already overfilled with jobs. I had chores inside and outdoors, and a play to direct after the kids got home from school.  But I had to get the bag cleaned out and warmed by the register in the utility room of the house, taped and mended so it could work again tomorrow.  Never ever let this happen again, I admonished myself, and your punishment is—you will climb the silo and reattach the bag! You broke it. You fix it!
 There was a problem in that I was afraid of heights, it would be dark before I could get to the task, and I had never climbed the silo. Fear was my nemesis.  But on that night, fueled by anger, I faced and conquered fear.
Be your own commander
Yes, your feet are clay
So put on golden slippers
Roll the dice and play
No more mamby pamby
No more quaking knees
Excuses don’t become you
“Man-up” if you please
The task needs your commitment
It’s crying out to you
Resolve it using anger
And belief that you can do
Climb the glass-faced mountain
Hang out with the stars
Strong enough to conquer
Fear is just a farce

Conquering fear

Your movie’s cast and written
You have the leading role
Fear hampers your performance
So sing your song with soul
Order the new novel by S.K. Carnes.  The Way Back in all e-book stores.       Amazon: http://bit.ly/SoldiersJourney

cover of The Way Back
New novel: The Way Back

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