Did you know that this is farm safety week?
I didn't until my friend on Facebook, McDonough County Farm Bureau, reminded me. Thankfully, farm safety week did not land on the week that we were using our farmer scaffolding. All joking aside, farm safety week is during a time that slow moving vehicles frequent back roads; augers are being used at great length, and bleary eyed farmers are pushing to finish fields, despite being tired.
During this week, I have been late to various activities, as I tend to be. However, my tardiness has been increased thanks to the slow moving vehicles, tractors, wagons, what-have-you that are taking up road space and going roughly 3 miles per hour. Even though my frustrations are great, I have to take a minute and remember that the person behind that wheel is some one's dad, uncle, grandfather, husband, wife, mother, daughter, aunt or cousin. Someone who would be mourned greatly if a person like me, late to a mom's group, were to compromise their safety by following too closely or passing without really having a lot of room. I have to remember that they are just trying to be safe.
Unfortunately, nearly every farm family has some sort of "war story" in regards to a farm accident. A friend of mine just called to tell me her friend lost a brother tragically in a farm accident. My grandfather was nearly crushed by a tractor as he was unloading it from a trailer. We have had close calls with fingers, fingernails, heads needing to be stitched up and the like. However, a tragedy, knock on wood, has never occurred. I believe this is truly to the credit of the farmers in our operation.
Joe especially, maybe because I spend the most time with him, is freakishly safe. He calls my dad's mower, the one he walks behind, the "Man Killer," and regularly calls him when he's working with it. When his job is to watch the unloading auger during harvest, he does not allow any of our children to be anywhere near him, as disappointed as they may become. That's not something you mess around with. As irritating as it may seem at times, Joe never wears his wedding band. When we first started farming, I would hound him to at least wear it to church. However, I just found it in his "junk" drawer as I was rummaging for some change. A few short months ago, I would have been irritated with him, but I am thankful he has a finger to wear the ring on, as some farmers have lost a digit thanks to proclaiming their love publicly by wearing a wedding ring while working on equipment or with livestock.
There's too much to lose if one does not exercise safety on the farm. Period. I am thankful that I haven't had to endure a loss of a loved one or take anyone to the ER because of negligence or a freak turn of events, but there are those who have. For them, I am deeply sorry. There have been times that I haven't been able to reach either Joe or my dad, and I have played out the absolute worst in my head, only to be, thankfully, corrected by the simple call proclaiming that they couldn't hear their cell phones.
Going to get preachy here: Even though it's annoying to be following equipment on the road, or having to wait for a combine as it moves from a field to the road, please exercise caution around farm vehicles and equipment. Remember that someone like me is expecting a loved one home to kiss my daughters good night.