Working Together

18 May


By:  Tom Heck

Working Together

                Dairy farming here in northern Wisconsin in the wintertime can be very challenging, especially when it’s bitter cold out.  Then, the equipment has a harder time working too, and can break down occasionally.  A while back here, the motor on our silo unloader that’s in our corn silage silo, didn’t want to start anymore.  So we knew we had to get it out of the silo and get it fixed.              

                The big problem was though: it was forty feet up in the silo.  It’s a seven-and-a-half horsepower motor weighing approximately 130 pounds.  I knew Joshua and I could get it off the unloader o.k., but to get it down the silo chute and a different one back up safely was my big concern.  I gave it some thought, and decided I better call up the dealer that put the unloader in.  I thought it was better to spend a little bit of money and make it a lot easier and safer for us here.

                So I made the phone call, and got a real shock!  They could send a crew of men to do the job.  They would charge me from the time they left their shop, till they got back.  Then they would take the motor some place and get it fixed, and then bring it back and put it in.  It would end up costing me about $1500 plus the cost of repairing the motor.  As I just said, I was shocked.

                I got thinking how we could safely do it ourselves.  I had made a bracket a number of years ago out of angle iron, iron rod, pipe, some chain and a heavy pulley that we could hang in the silo chute for lowering and raising heavy things.  But, in this case now, I needed something more along with my bracket to raise and lower the motor. 

                I prayed about it and gave it a lot of thought and came up with the idea of a two-way winch for raising and lowering the motor.  We looked online, but didn’t really find what we were looking for.  So my wonderful wife, Joanne, made a bunch of phone calls to local businesses telling them what I wanted.  We were able to get the stuff we needed from two local businesses.  Then we put it all together and hoped we could fasten it to the silo unloader so that it would work well.

                The next day came, and we got up earlier than normal and went at chores really fast.  Once they were done, we went at the silo-unloader motor.  We hung our bracket in the silo chute with the chains.  Then we hooked up the winch to our unloader.  I keep a big, rebuilt motor on hand for things like this.  Then we raised our rebuilt motor up the silo chute and swapped it out with the bad motor.  Switching the motors didn’t go as easy as I had hoped, but we got it done.  Then we lowered the bad motor down the chute.  By the time we got it all done, it was getting dark outside.

                Well, our silo unloader is working great again, bringing out a lot of corn silage for our cows.  And they eat it right up; they don’t want to be without their corn silage.  Our bracket/winch setup worked really well, which was a real blessing.  The next day, I took the motor into a motor-repair shop and they fixed it for me.  It needed a new, internal-starting switch and new bearings.  So now, I have a rebuilt motor on hand for the next time I need one.

                I have to add two things more though; if God wouldn’t have given us the wisdom on how to do this all and blessed it, we wouldn’t have been able to do it.  God is so good.  Secondly, if I didn’t have the wonderful family to help me with all of this, I could never have done it.  They are just super helpers. 

                God made family.  Husband, wife and children.  I can’t imagine farming without family: they are so helpful and such a blessing.  The love and support in a Christian family beats anything the world has to offer.  It’s a real blessing to take on a big challenge with your family and succeed.  There’s a great sense of accomplishment in a job well done.  And yes, we did save around $1500.  And yes, I did give each one of my family members a special bonus.