Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Tractor Wheel

Hello again!

Andrew and I were going over pictures and videos that we had from "growing up" and it made me want to keep writing on my blog. Blogging just isn't the same as Facebook -- Facebook keeps you up to date with people, but not in as much depth as a blog post.

A lot has happened since I wrote last... If you'd like to see what I/we've been doing you can friend our family on Facebook and check it out.

Today I'd like to share about what happened with our tractor wheel last week, and how it all worked together for the best. Enjoy the story.

The Tractor Wheel

It was Saturday night and David unloaded the last bale into the round bale feeder for the cows.

I was guarding the gate so the beef cows wouldn't get out while the tractor drove past me. By the lights on the cab I noticed the front left wheel of the Massey wobble from side to side.

I signaled to David to stop and the cab door squeaked open as he asked what I wanted.

I motioned to the wheel and bent down to look. Sure enough, the lug bolts had loosened and the whole wheel now wobbled on the hub.

David parked the tractor on the loader bucket so we could get the wheel off. "Have to order another one quick," David called as I went to check on it. I didn't really know what we would do.

We just replaced the wheel a couple months before, after the old one did the same thing. Did we get the wrong size lug bolts? Maybe we should have checked it earlier.

Monday of the next week I got on the job. Dad thought I should call Mr. Monson, the previous owner of the tractor. He's quite a guy. An old time farmer with a heavy accent and a generous heart. I called his cell phone number and his wife soon passed me along to him.

"We stripped out the lug bolts on the tractor and are wondering if you have any idea where we might find a wheel to replace it." Dad thought by us calling him he might offer a spare that may have laying around somewhere. I didn't want to come out and demand one from him, so I asked him what he would do.

He replied with his grandfatherly tone, "I can't get out to the farm today in the blizzard, but I think I might have what you need. Or if I don't, I know someone with the same tractor who might."

When he called back later that afternoon he apologized for not finding something. He had gone out to the farm in the blizzard that day, in spite of the weather.

He said we could have someone make a new center for the wheel or buy a new one somewhere, but that was all he could do.

One of the mechanics greeted me at the back of Tweed Country Ag in town the next day. I asked to have the tire taken off the broken rim and he kidded me about being a young guy as I helped him lift the 100 lb tractor wheel onto the bead breaking machine.

He asked if I needed a new rim and told me to check with Bruce about what they had in stock. I did, hoping there was something on hand that would work, only to find all they carry is Bobcat specific wheels.

I'd have to look around town.

The mechanic knew all the local store owners on a first name basis, so he quickly whipped out his cell phone and called them all, announcing that "Bartletts are looking for a new implement tire -- can you help them?" He soon found, however, that there were no wheel rims the right size to be had in Bottineau.

I thanked him for his effort and wished there would have been a new rim the right size. It would have been the surefire way to fix our problem.

I packed the rim back to the van, leaving the tire and tube at the shop, and sped off to Anderson's Welding to check on Mr. Monson's idea.

Greeting a trio of dirty, tough looking men at the back of the shop, I explained what I was looking for -- a new center for the wheel to match this worn out one.

I told Chris, the owner of Andersons Welding, that we had cows to feed and needed it as soon as possible. He nodded and wrote down my phone number on the outside of the rim.

Tuesday rolled around and I traveled to Minot for an orthodontist appointment. Mom called me half way home saying the welding shop called saying the wheel was done. I picked it up on my way through town and paid the welder. "Quick work," I thought to myself as everything seemed to be well done and heavy duty.

The next day the wheel was mounted and the bolts fit the holes perfectly. The center hole fit the hub like a glove. After the right length bolts were found, everything was "just right" and way better than I expected.

Though all of these circumstances, I was reminded just how important it is to do good work and be helpful. 

The old farmer giving advise, the mechanic extending himself for me out of genuine concern to help, and the dedication of the welder to his work, all go to show that everyone in their place has a duty to do and contributes to the hometown economy.

A beautiful picture, if you think about it.

That's all for now!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, Peter. A great story with a great moral. I'd like to hear more! Jonathan B.