Tractors and Power Lines Don’t Mix


Sorry for the long time between posts. Between getting farm taxes ready (which unlike personal taxes, farm taxes in Alabama are due the last day of February) and midterm… it’s been quite hairy around here.

But, of course, things can also get worse (or hairy-er in this case)

Today was a pleasant day. The sun was shining. It was 80 degrees outside and we were moving hay in northwest Florida.

Then this happened.

power line across a tractor

Sorry this picture is so blurry... it was after dark and my monstrous flash on the school camera was doing very strange things. But, you still get the point. There is a power line across the tractor.

It is important to note that

A.) This is not the power line to either of our houses.

B.) This is a borrowed tractor that is now tangled up in a web of electricity.

C.) We were inside this truck, unsure if we can get out safely. (AKA not extra crispy)

D.) No one is home. Not my aunt, grandma, Pa, mom, dad, brother or even our nearest non-kin neighbor a mile away.

E.) It’s Saturday night.

After a frantic call to my brother at the fire station and the determination that this was a insulated line that had not been severed, we decided to jump out of the truck like flying spider monkeys…as in not touching the ground until we were completely clear of the truck to (hopefully) prevent the extra crispy effect.

After we were safely on the ground, uncooked, we managed to get up with my mom, who in return got up with our local power cooperative.

In less than 30 minutes, two guys came and detangled the mess we had made and Jared was on his way back to Alabama with the borrowed tractor and trailer.

Moral of the Story:

Know your power line heights and equipment heights.

According to the very friendly linemen that came to our rescue, the line in my aunt’s yard was actually below the recommended height. It’s an older house and line so it had just sagged over the years. Easily fixed since she had recently relocated and didn’t need the power hook up anymore.

Knowing your equipment is very important. I almost did the same thing this morning on a different tractor while helping my mom pull up a tree in the yard. Jared has taken down many lines during cotton season with module* builders. Power line problems on a farm are a part of life. As a farmer, it’s important to know what the line height regulations are for your cooperative and if your equipment is too tall to travel under them.

Overall, this ordeal, which could have ended very badly, turned out alright. We got to know our local linemen a little better and learned a thing or two in the end.

Oh, and Jared got a hug from my bulldog. It really helped calm both of them down til the folks could fix the line. Bulldogs are very sensitive creatures, ya know.

bulldog and man

Bulldogs need loving too.

Until next time,

Keep it between the ditches and under the power lines!


*UPDATE: Jared just informed me that module builders are generally too short to catch power lines. Boll buggies and cotton pickers are usually the culprits.


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