Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stuff Only Breaks When You Use It

Amber waves of grain mix nicely with an undercarpet of ragweed in an organic field. Ideal? No. But it's the reality when you don't spray for weeds. This is our very thin wheat field.

A conventional field that had been sprayed for weeds would not have that lovely green hue off to the left. Or the random weeds standing tall in among the wheat. On Friday The Farmer started harvesting our wheat.

About suppertime, I went to check on the progress and found him parked in the back, by the tool shed. "Are you done?" I asked in surprise.

"Yes," he said, with significance, "I'm done."

"So soon?" I asked, not quite believing it to be true.

"The combine is done. It's broken. Not fixable."

The frame had cracked and dropped down so that the fender almost rested on the front tire on the right side.

See how the metal of the frame is torn here? I can hardly believe it. Apparently this is a structural flaw of this particular combine.

The torn metal caused other parts to bend and torque.

We've had a bit of a yo-yo time of it this weekend, first believing that it was a total loss, then hoping that we could put a different frame under the combine, and then realizing that there is just too much damage done to too many parts under there.

It is only good for parting out, or for selling as scrap steel. In the meantime, we have wheat to harvest. Another farmer will custom harvest it for us, as soon as he does some modifications to his combine that will allow him to harvest such weedy wheat.

A oft-repeated (around here) corollary of Murphy's Law is the Farmer's Formula: "Stuff only breaks when you use it." Meaning that we might have been fixing on this stuff all winter during our downtime, but we didn't know it needed fixing until we started using it and it broke. And of course now we don't have time to fix it because we need to get the hay/wheat/corn/beans harvested.



  1. Ohh no! I know the feeling all to well here. No matter how much my husband prepares our haybine or baler, something always causes down time at each cutting. He complains he needs new equipment and tractors, but I think that wont solve the problem. Like you said: things only break if you use them. Good luck with your wheat harvest!

  2. The Farmer's Formula must be related to the roofer's law, which says you only notice the roof needs fixing when it's raining and you can't fix it.



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