Our friend, Dara, says ghosts have taken up residence at our place, creating all sorts of mischief. I think it’s just another run of bad luck for the Atkinsons. Yesterday, Will was busy hauling more hay home in our wonderful warmish weather while Dara, Sherri, and I were packing up seeds. Then in pops Will, not looking happy. Oh oh! Then he tells us that while he was unloading round bales off of the transport, the whole front end of the tractor dropped to the ground. Bang! OMG! That was our last big tractor that could load or unload round bales. Now what?

Here’s our poor Oliver, with the whole front end lying on the ground. Pretty sad!
Will’s assessing the damage and is starting to take the mess apart, with very stout blocking under the front end.

Well, thinking outside the box, we decided we could take the transport down to the cow yard and shove the bales off with our Ford 660, as it has a longer reach on the loader than does the Kubota. Then that darned luck struck again. The tractor wouldn’t start! Now, that tractor always starts. It doesn’t matter if it’s forty below. Okay, now it’s getting dark, and the hay needs off the transport. So, Will hopped on the Kubota and threw a length of 4×4 in the bucket. After driving down to the cow yard, he was able to shove the bales off the truck and transport, using the 4×4 to give added length to the Kubota’s reach.

We’re still hauling hay home and just shoving it off with the Kubota until Will gets the 660 started and the new front end on the Oliver.

He got on the phone and called a guy who had previously posted Oliver tractor parts on Craigslist. Luckily, he had a front end. So, tomorrow, Will and I are making a 5-hour-plus drive, one way, to go pick up the part. Bad timing, as Christmas is only a few weeks away. Bah, Humbug!

The good news is that our seed company catalogs are now at the printer and should be mailed out before too long. Whew, what a week! — Jackie


  1. oh!!! what a trial of tractor breakdowns. seems farming is bit of joy, happiness, breakdowns, breakdowns and more breakdowns. at least somedays. the Lord is watching over us as we go through our trials. a good point in all this maybe -5 hours of togetherness on the drive. safe travels. speedy repairs .take care

  2. Have a safe trip tomorrow to find parts. Snow possible. Glad you are all OK and there were no farming injuries!
    katherine Jordahl

    • We had a nice trip; it was 53 degrees F, most of the way. Sunny and pretty day. But it was LONG. We’re glad to be home. With the Oliver front end.

  3. My goodness! That definitely is a run of bad luck! Seems like when it rains it pours. Thankfully you and Will have good critical thinking skills, and can keep on getting things done. I hope the parts you go after are what you need to fix your Oliver and it’s an easy fix to get your other big tractor fixed. Prayers for a blessed week.

    • Yep, got the part and had a nice trip. David says he’ll help Will get it installed because it’s a two-guy job and this guy can’t get down on her bad knees anymore.

  4. Wow it’s hit again! Glad Will is all right. Is there someone who can help him fix it? Doesn’t seem like a one person, maybe not even a two person job. I just found out I have kidney disease. More tests and what have you to deal with coming up and have to go see other medical specialists too. I’m telling each of them I’m putting in a big garden this spring and I need to be well enough to do it and tend it. Add to holidays problems our car threw a rod, we got a quote of 1500. Not enough money for that right now. We are taking in our oldest cat, she’s at least 21, to be put to sleep tomorrow. She’s so sick with cancer. I keep hanging on to this time will improve, eventually. That’s another reason I’m determined to put in a garden. I need the hope that new life brings.

    • So sorry to hear about your “tiger”. I had to PTS my tiger last May – also cancer. She was dumped as a kitten, in the northern winter no less. Lived the life of Reilly as I’m sure yours has too. This is the sucky part of being a responsible person. My vet told me “sorry” after the diagnosis. Perhaps that is why two other very young strays we took in (year, year plus) showed up. I don’t argue with whatever supreme being.
      Hoping your kidney disease is manageable, wishing you good karma. Those of us not in the 2% persevere. For me, it is an I’m too hard to kill mentality.

      • Thank you for the reply Selena. I shouldn’t have posted all of that on Jackie’s blog. It’s supposed to be about Jackie, not her readers. So apologies offered to all. The reason I did is things were a bit overwhelming at the time. I’m two steps above the transplant level for kidneys and was told it may never heal up to level one. Then our elderly cat needs to be put to sleep. We had a snow storm come through and couldn’t get out, so we’re going to try Monday with her. Poor old baby. I’m going to fight my kidney issue and try to improve my health. I look up to Jackie for her refusal to give in to cancer, loosing her husband and other things. A remarkable lady! I’m going through info regarding foods and herbs that make a difference with kidneys. As well as other health problems my husband and I have. If I think it will work I will try it. But I need into things with studies that are repeated with the same results. Science was my major in college. But again thank you for the reply! And big thanks to Jackie for allowing me and you to post this conversation.

    • I’m real sorry to hear about your kidney disease. Hang in there. It’s all I could do when I got my cancer diagnosis 17 years ago and my oncologist told me he’d never had a patient with Merkel Cell Carcinoma survive before. (Luckily, he told me AFTER my 5 year cancer-free checkup!) You put in that big garden. I think keeping busy with my new homestead and taking care of my elderly parents, here, helped heal my cancer.
      I’m sorry about your cat. It’s about the saddest part of having beloved pets.

  5. If it ain’t one thing it’s another. I gotta ask… is this the “third on a match” event? If so, I hope your string of bad luck is over. It’s really strange how often it really happens. When two bad things happen here, it’s kind of like “Uh oh, I wonder what the third one will be?”, waiting for that last show to drop.

    I’m glad that at least there was a spare front end available or y’all really would be up the creek. Hang in there. The magic of Christmas is coming. And just remember the old saying, “What don’t kill ya only makes you stronger.” :)

    • Yeah. But sometimes you feel like dying would be a better option. Lol I totally quit saying what else is going to happen when my husband suddenly died when David was 14, then two months later, I was diagnosed with cancer, which I beat, then he got Flesh Eating Bacteria in his arm, which he also beat.
      Now, we just roll with the flow, so to speak. One foot ahead of the other until our problem is fixed. We got the part and David is going to help Will put it back together this weekend.

  6. Good evening, Jackie.
    You and Will sure have some obstacles to overcome at times.
    I’m so thankful Will found a front end to replace on the tractor.
    May you both have a safe trip there and back tomorrow and
    may the weather be favorable for you.
    2023 sure has been the year of finding solutions for many.
    I like how you and Will got the hay where it had to go and unloaded.
    Have a blessed night and trip tomorrow.

    • We try to always figure out a way out of our problems. We had a great trip down and back; sunny and warm. Very light traffic, except through St. Paul.
      We don’t want folks to think our life on the homestead is all “tra la la la”, as some folks portray homestead life. We’re just like everyone else, having our ups and downs.

  7. Wow! What an event. I feel your pain. Years ago I nearly died with a tractor rollover. I’m happy Will didn’t get hurt. About these events you can replace machines but not a life. Farming, is the second or third most dangerous vocation after mining and logging. I had a mink get in the hen house and kill 2 hens yesterday. There’s bad vapors in the air. I hope I patched any holes to keep that rascal out.

    • Yep, farming sure has its challenges! I’m so glad you got through your tractor rollover! Years back, I lost a very good friend just that way. He was hauling a big log out of the woods and hooked it on his three point instead of his drawbar. The log hit a stump and the tractor flipped over backward on top of John. One day we were laughing, hauling grain. The next week we were at his funeral. Life can be so short!
      I hope your mink goes elsewhere for dinner. If you don’t have critters outside, you might set a trap along the hen house wall, near where he got in. I’ve trapped weasels that way, using chicken livers or gizzards as bait.

  8. Good grief! So grateful Will is a great ‘fixer’! Also grateful there is not 8″ of snow on the ground. Blessings as you show us once again how to live a full, rewarding life.

    • We are so grateful for our unusually warm weather!!! We have no big machine shed to work in and even if we did, it pretty must be worked on where it dropped. It’s a BIG tractor!! And I also am so glad Will can fix most anything. It’s gotten us out of a whole lot of jams.

  9. Dear Jackie, hang in there, where there’s a Will there’s a way. (Pun intended). Knowing you two, you make the best of bad luck and smile through the tears. Your are an inspiration to us.

    • Awww, thanks, Sue. We’ve got the new front end and David is going to help Will put it in this weekend. Hey, in life, stuff happens. We’re so grateful to be living the life we love. Even when bad luck strikes.

  10. Not good news by any means BUT we average-frugal-savvy-self-reliant types roll with the punches and do our darnedest to deal with the hand we’re dealt. At least available parts – that itself is such a crap shoot these days. I saw a show the other day where a no one-really-needs-this-expensive-car had a SEALED hood so only the dealership could work on it. A pox on that, I have better things on which to spend (or donate) my money.
    Question – your asparagus patch. I see the fronds on my asparagus have finally turned brown. Do you cut them down/off in the fall or burn them off in the spring? Beds at the old house were full of mature plants so never had many fronds when we burned off the patches in the spring.

    • It’s often a challenge to find parts for older equipment (the only kind we have but for “my” little Kubota). I’m hearing that even new stuff has trouble getting parts. David’s new generator threw a crankshaft, under warranty, and it’s been two months, so far, waiting for a part.
      Wow, a sealed hood! Now I’ve heard everything!!~!
      We leave our asparagus fronds on all winter. Then, in the spring, I mow them down with the lawn mower. I do this so that any seeds will go on the ground and possibly sprout, making new plants. I either transplant them or leave them in place, as needed. Seems to work.

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