I never thought I would cry over a tractor.
Today the bloke who bought our Case Loader turned up with his Semi and Low loader to take it home with him.
My heart leapt when I went outside and saw the loader on the trailer, the new owner chaining it on, making sure it was safe for the trip to it’s new home.
I have a love for this tractor.
Back in July last year my husband shore a sheep that was slightly fly blown in the neck region. As the rest of the flock were in the paddock just up behind the house, once shorn he put it out and followed behind it on foot, heading it in the right direction.
Between the paddock and the house we had recently put in new water tanks, these in a race way area and they had not yet been fenced off. The sheep decided to run in behind the tanks. Sheep being sheep (and suffering from three day madness due to just being shorn) got all confused and scared. My husband managed to corner it, straddled it and was holding its head with his left arm trying to direct it out from where it had cornered itself.
The sheep had other ideas, which as I have come to realise, sheep do. It’s a sheep thing.
The sheep decided to try and head the opposite way, my husband had a strong hold but that didn’t stop the sheep taking off in the opposite direction, taking my husbands arm with him. I heard a yell from outside, but as my husband didn’t come to the house I thought everything must be right.
He came into the house ten minutes later, cursing the sheep, telling me that the sheep had hurt his arm but he’d be right, he done this before and it’d right in a few weeks.
He went to shower. As he took off his shirt over his head the cry of pain that came from the bathroom was shocking. I ran in to make sure he was fine, he said he was but I knew he wasn’t.
We got in the car and drove to the nearest hospital. The doctor there checking it out and insisting we had to travel to Adelaide asap and get it looked at by a specialist. Hours and hours later, after much driving and waiting, we had a diagnosis. He had torn the bicep muscle off the arm down near to the elbow. He would require surgery and a lot of rest for the arm.
Now the time that this all happened we had 1500 sheep that we were maintenance feeding. My husband due to his injury and pending surgery was out of action for a few months. He had a good set of legs and one good arm, not much good for driving, let alone lifting and doing general farming jobs. This is where I stepped in and became friends with the Case Loader.
The sheep were being fed grain one day, hay the next.
The grain was fed out from a grain bin mounted on the back of the ’79 Land Cruiser. A wonderful car, but without power steering. Those first few days my arms were so sore, but they became used to it quickly and before I knew it I didn’t notice the heavy steering.
The grain bin had a drop down arm to which the grain would flow out through into the troughs set up in the paddocks. There were four paddocks, each set up in the same manner. My first go at lining it all up, feeder arm, grain flowing, driving forward- thinking I was going straight, was a disaster. I think I got more grain on the ground than in the actual troughs. I actually stopped and laughed out loud it was that funny. Lucky the sheep didn’t mind a bit of dirt mixed in with their grain.
By the second paddock I had it all sorted, had worked out the pace and steering and did a wonderful job. Something about oats though that makes them stick, so half way through the second trough I would have to -shut of the flow – jump out shovel the grain – get down start the flow and drive on again. Then it was back to re-fill the grain bin and finish the last two troughs.
I learnt how to use Augers and about the joy or shovelling grain from inside a flat bottomed silo, and now know why my husband curses those flat bottom silos!
On the second day the hay would be fed out. This is when I learnt how to drive the Case Loader. Three paddocks of the sheep would have a half bale, one a full bale. We had those rectangular bales, around 400-450kgs in weight.
I would take the loader to the hay shed, removing two bales at a time ( I eventually mastered three at a time). The hay would be placed ready for me to load one at a time onto the flat tray trailer which was hitched behind the Hilux.
When I first got in and drove the loader the swivel action in the centre threw me, but once I got used to that I was fine.
I quickly mastered picking up and placing down the bales. It was just a matter of a flick of the fork tilt either up or down a little to make sure they didn’t pull the hay back off the trailer when I reversed.
I must admit, I loved it. I loved being in control of a large machine, the fact I could do it easily. I secretly wished that people would pop in for a visit and see me doing it so I could hear them be impressed that I could!
The hay was then driven out to each paddock, the Hilux put in low gear and I would use a hay fork to push off hay sections as the car drove slowly along. I was pretty crap at the first half bale I did. Once again I just laughed at myself and tackled it a different way. I didn’t have the strength in my arms, so centred the handle of the hay fork at stomach height getting my legs into action as well to help with the pushing. This worked well.
I won’t tell you how long it took to push off that first bale, but the car almost hit the end of the quite large paddock by the time I finished. Oh well nothing like a bit of space around each hay section, the sheep weren’t crowded at least.
I thought that driving the ’79 land cruiser hurt my arms, but the hay pushing almost did me in. I knew I had no choice, so kept at it and the soreness only lasted that first week. I sure got strong!
That’s the story behind why I love the Case Loader. I love the feeling it gave me whilst driving it, and it is such a wonderful machine to drive too.
Goodbye Case loader, I hope your new owner enjoys you as much as I did.