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Tractor in the Pond

Today, It seemed like a good day to go ice skating except there was a fresh 10 inches of snow from the previous night. Before the snow, the ice was hard and smooth, almost clear from the below 0 temps from the previous week. The snow would plow off easily. Our pond was created for an old ice cutting operation a hundred years ago. It was rectangular and about 15 acres with a flat bottom that wouldn’t have over 2 to 3 feet of water in normal times. I had a 85 hp 4WD 6510 White tractor with an 8 foot hydraulic blade on the back that would make quick and easy work out of the plowing if the ice held the weight? I gingerly drove it onto the ice, knowing that if it did fall through, the water wouldn’t be over 2 feet deep or so. No problem I started around the pond with the blade angled to the outside in a race track pattern. Everything was going great. I shifted up into a faster gear and the snow was flying. On my second lap, I was day dreaming about inviti ng the neighbors over and having a big bond fire that evening. Then it hit me. Didn’t we have a deep place somewhere where my grandfather used to irrigate his potatoes?? I started looking around trying to think where that was, when “bang” the left side of the tractor fell through the ice. I slamed the clutch. It was a sudden stop. The water was over the top of both left tires, yet somehow it did not roll over. I jumped off the high dry side and ran to shore. I ran to the barn and got a pickup truck and a long cable, along with all of our chains. When I got back everything was the same. I tied the cable and chains to the tractor and took the other end to shore. Since it was still so cold, I would have to plug in the big tractor to get it started. I did that, then called a friend and told him that I’d buy his lunch if he’d meet me at the coffee shop. By the time we got the big tractor started and to the pond, The White had completely fallen in and thin ice had form ed around the tractor, but I couldn’t get to it. We went back and got an 8 foot plank and placed it across to the tractor hood. I also got my high top waders. The seat and steering wheel were above water, but the pedals were under the thin layer of ice. I was glad I thought to hook up the cable before. Well the big tractor just spun and could not pull my White. We had to get it out before the White froze solid in the pond. As a last resort, I thought I’d try starting the White to help pull. To my surprise, it fired right up, but the radiator fan was mostly under water and it sprayed water back on me like an out of control Evenrude outboard. But, running the White did the trick. We got the White out of the pond. It seemed like a good idea at the time??

John Graham, OH, entered 2014-10-15
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