Farm Accident!

No Gory Picture

Last week I was driving the tractor and bump, I ran over my 5 year old daughter. It was horrible. It all happened so fast and I was paying attention. I saw something go under at the last instant and there was no way to stop. The tractor tire rode up and over a sickening crunch. I jumped off and ran around to look. But no…

fortunately it was just my imagination as the tractor ground over, praise all that is good, only a pail full of apple pomace!

The pomace pail had slid down off of the snow bank and under my wheel as I drove by. The pail was a total loss. If it had been a person they would have been just as crushed. If rather than a pail it had been a person or animal getting ground into the icy driveway under the heavy logging chains and rear wheel of the 9,000 lb tractor.

It is a terrible thing to have someone die on the farm. You read about these kinds of accidents every year. Running over a chicken would have been bad enough. I took everyone out and showed them the scene of the accident. We all mourned the poor apples, now twice crushed, and the bucket. We talked about what could have happened. I am always worried someone will come up on me unseen and get run over.

We have long had strict rules about staying away from the tractor, vehicles, chainsaw, etc. Don’t ever try to sneak by the moving tractor. Work slowly and safely. We use a system of hand signs to communicate with an all clear. I’m just glad it wasn’t Hope or any other living thing that went bump in the daylight.

Work safely!

This has been your friendly, heart rending, shock to the endocrine system warning sponsored by the ACFFAPASWC.

Outdoors: 32°F/10°F Snow
Farm House: 32°F/31°F
Tiny Cottage: 62°F/56°F Fire in the morning

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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23 Responses to Farm Accident!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I have a 65 h.p John Deere that I do some logging with. I once turned onto a sidehill and came to a stop to switch gears. As I was doing this, I felt her ever so slowly begin to tip over. Would you believe the bucket came to rest against a spindly cedar and arrested the motion. Be careful everyone, tractors are big and heavy.

  2. heyercapital says:

    Ok, I’ll bite. What’s the ACFFAPASWC? :-)

  3. Gadget_ca says:

    Please! Don’t scare me like that! I grew up on a farm, and looking back I realize just how lucky all of us were. It only takes a split second to ruin the rest of your life!

  4. oshea12566 says:

    I have a tractor and a 3 year old daughter. My heart stopped while reading this post than started up again when it was apples you crushed. I have a hard and fast rule when I am on the tractor- stay away! I have taught my daughter that tractors are very powerful, heavy and will hurt-alot.

  5. Will Jeffries says:

    Walter, you’re going to give people heart attacks with that post.
    When I first read this, there were no comments yet… I figured they must all be dead.

    Son of this cruel and unusual man.

  6. ACFFAPASWC is the American Council For Farm Accident Prevention And Safe Working Conditions. Admittedly, I made up that ugly acronym. The rest of the post is real, just as it all happened.

    My rule is that Hope is supposed to stay in the house when I’m plowing the driveway and stay far away from the tractor when it is being used. She wears a bright pink jacket. It’s an ugly color but one that I’m likely to see quickly for safety sake.

    Like you, we’ve discussed how much it would hurt to get run over and just how dead it could make someone. People say dead isn’t a concept that a five year old understands, but they don’t live on a farm. She’s seen dead, although thankfully not from being run over by a tractor!

  7. Anyone who comes on the place when I am using machinery, especially the skidsteer, gets “the talk”. I can’t hear anyone when the machinery is running.

  8. DennisP says:

    Walt, I know you are trying to give people are severe warning. It’s all to the good. But please DON’T start your post that way. I damn near did have a heart attack – I’ve had one already, 20 years ago – and it took a couple minutes before I could breathe normally again.

    Message received!

  9. ranch101 says:

    Urk. So glad it was a false alarm! That has to be my worst nightmare as the mother of three small kids. It happened to a lady I went to school with…

  10. Sorry about that, Dennis! Didn’t mean to arrest you!

  11. Anonymous says:

    hokey! I can breath again. Thankyou for the reminder about safe work habits. I know I wont forget after reading that!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Country Girl says:

    My heart sank as a began to read your post. I too am always warning the kids of the dangers on the farm and to stay clear of the tractor. I have a little ptsd from working as an er nurse for nearly a decade. Life changes is a moment. Glad to see it was just the apples!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Not a cool way to get attention. This is an anon post to avoid being clucked over as if I’m too serious or literal. As a former Extension Educator I appreciate the anecdotal nature of blogging and learning from peers. For those interested in farm safety, here is just one link below that will show you what is out there. I’m sure every state has the same or similar information. Take advantage of it and get some training. Many of the big state farm shows have safety demos where you “see” what can actually happen. Also – check out AgrAbility. Most folks aren’t aware of it and I always found a way to include a brief presentation in day long workshops.
    Done venting …..

  14. Mellifera says:

    Geesh! You scared the everloving crap out of me there, Walter!

    I worked in a lab where one guy thought it was fun to sneak up behind people… until one day, he didn’t realize his victim was pouring out some 12molar sulfuric acid. She didn’t get hurt, but her labcoat turned into a string bikini.

  15. Holly says:

    Dear Anonymous,
    We did debate weather or not to post this story. We weren’t sure if it was over the edge and certainly did not want to hurt anyone. In fact, the reason to post it was “if one life could be saved…..” with this memorable bit of writing…

    Walter wrote it just as he experienced the event. I am interested. How do other people feel? Was it wrong to post, or a potential life saver?

  16. Carol-Anne says:

    I feel it was very important to write this post Walter! Sometimes people need to feel the reality of exactly what you were feeling to understand the full force of your message.

    I grew up on a horse farm and know how easily an accident can happen. My brother, around 10 at the time, was sitting on the edge of a haywagon. Simple enough but there was another haywagon attached to the back so he was actually between two wagons.

    Well, an easy slip of the wrong gear and the tractor went in reverse. My brother’s legs were crushed. They didn’t think he would ever walk properly again. Thankfully he not only was able to walk again but went on to be a very accomplished dancer.

    I didn’t actually witness the accident but it was still the scariest experience of my childhood, I would have been about 7.

  17. Pete says:

    Another great post Walt. I appreciate this reminder even though you made my heart skip some beets.

  18. Lord have mercy. Even though I’ve been catching up with your blog in reverse chronological order my heart (I think) literally stopped beating. I definitely had some chest pains that I’ve never had before. My folks always had strict rules about machinery- we never had an accident even though as young teens we all learned to drive tractor and bale hay- and my nephew is learning the ultra-strict rules for “Grampie’s tractors” that his other grandparents don’t have. So, anyway, good point and please don’t post a shock statement like “I ran over Hope” again because my 32 year old heart probably can’t take it. :)

  19. Matt Myers of UVM Extension says:

    Thanks, Walter, for this heads up about safety on the Farm. Not every farmer is aware that they are 8 times more likely to die on the job then the average worker -or that tractor overturns are the leading cause of death and injury for farmers.

    I am working on a new campaign to encourage Vermont farmers to retrofit their older tractors with ROPS (Roll Over Protective Structures: Roll Bars and Seat belts) because ROPS are 99% effective in preventing rollover injury or death. Hay and Veggie farmers are least likely to have protected tractors on the farm. So if any of your vermont readers are interested in helping this project, I am looking for hay and veggie farmers to offer feedback on marketing materials before we launch. Email me at if you want to help or learn more about the project. Thanks again Walter, for bringing this topic up!!!!

  20. Farmer Al says:

    Hello Walter Jeffries
    Thanks for drawing attention for the safety in farming. After reading your article every one will follow safety measures in farm. I am working as agriculture officer and my aim is to reduce farm accidents by teaching farmers.

  21. Farrel says:

    such a amazing post. Every body will think twice before going to farm with a child too close.

  22. Tim says:

    I have been reading catching up from the start of the blog while peeking at current events also. I briefly forgot that Hope is still in the current blog posts and imagined the terrible heart ache caused by the accident. Keep up the good work. Enjoy the blog immensely.

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