This year we have had our share of injuries. The one that occurred this Saturday though sent us to the emergency room. We stress farm safety at all times. Problem is that "all times" seems to apply only when visitors or workers are on the premises.
Farming is tenuous at best, and then add the dangers associated with working around large equipment, tillers, seeders, rakes, bailer’s mowers and you can start to see the perils. In our employee handbook most of the text is dedicated to farm safety and personal safety. We make the safety of others the responsibility of every single person. We want everyone looking out for everyone else.
Despite the attention to safety and the knowledge of dangers that we work around this year has been the worst yet for injuries. A farm only works if the farmer is healthy. Talk about health care issues. On a farm if the farmer gets sick or injured work stops. If you are lucky enough to have a lot of friends they can come by to help out. If you’re successful enough to hire help then you are better off. If you have neither there is no safety net.
The injuries this year have been to both my wife and me. Earlier on my wife hurt her back and was gone for most of the growing season. But, she still worked around the house and at the market. I was constantly finding her outside doing something and finding myself telling her to go back inside the house. We were the walking wounded this year. I hurt my right knee (burying the chicken wire), right shin (hit it with a maul while hammering stakes in the ground) severely sprained my right ankle (stepped into a chicken hole) badly bruised my left thigh causing me to limp for two weeks and then there were the head wounds. All head wounds were either scratches or bumps with some sort of bleeding.
None of the injuries to myself caused me a second thought. It happened to me and I dealt with the pain as best I could. I am not a pain person, let’s say I kept working but at a much slower pace and with a pronounced limp for most of the year. But we survived and no one else got hurt. My wife and I were out seeding next year’s production garden and getting it ready for the chickens. We bought a seeder this year that has given us nothing but problems. It is towed behind the tractor and has a wheel driven rotator to drop seed. We had two hundred pounds of seed to spread and doing it by hand would be a chore.
Well it wasn't working and I had taken it off of the tractor to find out why. I had the thing tilted back away from the tractor. My wife went to retrieve a pin that was on the ground between the tractor and the seeder. I lost my grip on the seeder and it fell toward the tractor and my wife. By the grace of God it clipped her ear and missed hitting her square on the temple. Her glasses still remained on her head. I was on her in an instant and she was saying she was alright. But she wasn't, she couldn't see what I could and I knew she was going to need stitches.
Whenever I've been faced with an emergency in my life I seem to get really calm and methodical. I'm able to mute emotions and deal with the situation at hand as was the case with her. I had her hold a rag to hear ear and I marched her towards the house. As soon as we got to the house I told her to get in the car and I went for a clean rag. She did need two stitches to re-attach a piece of her ear lobe but she was fine.
After the emergency is over is when my emotions and the enormity of the situation hits me. I'm sitting in the emergency room looking at my wife of 21 years and I know because I lost my grip we are here. It’s not worth it, whatever we are doing here on the farm, whatever we are part of as a whole it is just not worth it not when I'm sitting there looking at this person that loves and trusts me and I know we are here because of me.