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By Staff | Feb 12, 2010

Last Thursday I had signed up to attend a meeting on this year’s grain market outlook at a town an hour away. This was to be conducted by someone whose insight I have great faith in so I knew it would be a good meeting.

It started in the morning and ended at noon with a meal. I was on my way home when my phone rang and it was my son calling me.

He had been delivering February corn to the ethanol plant and said it was time to put the sweep auger in the bin. He wondered if the meeting was done so I could help him.

I was close to home and said I would be there shortly. I arrived home, exchanged some information with my wife, and put on my outdoor clothes. When I walked to the bin site, the semi was idling under the auger, but no sign of my son.

He was probably getting something to eat and would be back shortly. A few minutes went by and I thought I could start the loader tractor that we use to move the auger.

With the clutch in, the choke out, and at one-third throttle, the 1964 Allis Chalmers D15 started. It had been backed into the pole barn and there was enough snow it had to dig its way out of the barn through a snowdrift.

Still no sign of my son so I kept going, driving to where the auger was stored. This sweep auger was long, clumsy, and heavy enough it cannot be carried. With one person, it has to be dragged.

I have installed this sweep auger by myself before but that was about 15 or 20 years ago when I was 30 pounds lighter and 15 or 20 years younger. I figured I would see how I could do by myself.

I got the auger laid across the loader and with some tricky driving, got the 23-foot-long auger through the 20-foot door. I kept going and pulled up to the bin getting the motor end of the auger as close to the bin door as possible. Still no sign of my son, so I kept going.

With more dragging and pulling I got the auger in the bin and mounted where it pivots in the center of the bin. I carried the 80-pound electric motor to the bin center and figured I had done enough.

I called my son’s number at his home and he answered. “Are you home yet?” he asked. I told him I had the auger in the bin and it was time to mount the electric motor on it.

He chuckled when he realized I had done this alone. He asked how I did it and I told him, “I had to pull a little, push a little, and pull a little, push a little until it was done.”

A few minutes later, he arrived at the bin, we got the motor mounted, and the auger went to work as we shoveled and swept behind it.

I was having quite a day for a guy who is closer to age 63 than 62.

This was a very good day for a person who is starting to feel his accumulated years. It was good to know I could still get my work done when I had to. It was a moral victory.

At the end of the morning’s meeting, we were told that in honor of attending we could order a jacket with the grain market advisor’s logo on it. All we had to do was call with our size.

When I got home, I offered my new jacket to my wife and she accepted. Hey, Valentine’s Day is coming and besides, that is the kind of guy I am. It was a good day.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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