Tractor Tire Mule Haul
Mowing the mountain top apple orchard I heard a “wobble, wobble, wobble” and the steering of the tractor went all wonky and I looked down and saw the front tractor tire had come off the rim.
Damn. A half mile of mountain trail separated me from the barn. We don’t own a four wheeler, spare tractor or four wheel drive truck.
Down and Up
By chance, our forester Andrew Casey was visiting the orchard with his truck the next day. I say “orchard” and you’re thinking 50 apple trees with branches bent low under a bumper apple crop. You’re right about the 50 apples. You’re wrong to think we’re getting a crop. Our apples are only 3 years old.
I planted them as bare root stock. Each 12″ baby tree set me back six bucks. Three years later, many are over 8′ tall. Some, like the Calloway crab apples, have started bearing.
The thing about apples is you can’t stop at five or fifty. Apple enthusiasm knows no bounds so when half a hundred didn’t seem enough, I called Andrew to investigate clearing a little more grown over land so I could add, well, just a few more six-dollar trees.
And so while Andrew was scouting the site, he and Julia took the wheel with the flat tire off the tractor and loaded it in to his pick up truck.
Which is how we got the 50 pound wheel off the mountain.
I had it repaired. Now it had to go back up the mountain. Andrew wasn’t there to help us. If that wheel was going back up the mountain, it was going to be muscle power.
Polly: Beast of Burden
Julia and I have made the conscious decision to limit how much equipment we own. Sure, it would be nice to own a four-wheeler or second tractor. But even nicer is to use our bodies.
We heat with wood. We split it by hand. Stack it in our wood shed. Haul it to the house one load at a time all winter long. Yes we use a tractor to haul the trees from the forest. Sometimes we use a mule.
Every now and then, not having a machine to haul a 50 pound tire up a mountain is a pain in the butt. The last time I had a flat on the tractor, I hauled the wheel up and down the mountain on my back.
This time, I used mule Polly (the same mule from the Lost Sea Expedition series on Amazon Prime).
Here are some pics of how that went.
I mounted the wheel on the tractor. Julia lead Polly home. I fired up the bush hog and finished my mowing. Then, of course, I planted one more apple tree.