The toe the farm is determined to take from me

by Katie on August 10, 2011

What seems like many moons ago, I shared one of the worst days we’ve had on the farm. Really. I know I probably bring up “disaster days” entirely too often, especially for two people who enjoy how we make a living, but I guess you could just call us “disaster prone”.

Anyway, that day, the day I almost chopped off my big toe (Not really, but I’m telling a story, right? What’s a little exaggeration?), ranks pretty high up there on our list of  bad days. [Not nearly as high as a solid week we experienced in June, but that’s another tale for another day.]

Well, last month, just as we were beginning to see signs of a new toenail appearing, signaling I might morph back into a normal human after all, I almost lost it. Again.

Before I go into the details, I’m just going to throw it out there that if my dad ever successfully navigates his way through the World Wide Web to read this, I am so going to get an “I told you so, what were you thinking?” phone call. Because he spent years – literally, years – lecturing me on the importance of proper footwear when working in the cattle barn, out in the hay pasture, etc. I would like to tell him I actually learned at some point (which I did, promise), but this day does not reflect that bit of knowledge one bit.

So, there I was…minding my own business, gathering up my things and walking out the door for a “go to town” errand. Code for:  drive all the way across Phoenix for a tractor tire, sprayer part, irrigation port, or other miscellaneous farm necessity that is only sold across town.

Important to note here:  I was “going to town” right? Which meant I had the liberty of wearing makeup and brushing my hair, and not wearing my work pants or work shoes. Also known as, actually looking like a woman, instead of possibly being mistaken for a man. which is how I roll on way too many days around here.

I was taking full advantage of this, and had chosen my favorite summer tank, baggy jeans and flip flops. No harm for a trip town.

Well, just as I was grabbing my wallet to step out the door, my dear husband called.

“What are you doing?”

“Going to town to pick up the [fill in blank with assorted equipment pieces] you needed.”

“I need you. Come to Field Seven now.”

Now, really, what’s a wife to do? I didn’t know if he was going to place a fast food order, was having a heart attack on the ditch bank, was chopping his own toe off, or what. So, naturally, I just ran out the door.

Notice, I did not switch out my footwear.

I get to the field, and he “needed me” to help him fix the fertilizer rig on the cultivator. For the most part, I was just in the tractor cab making a switch turn on and off. Occasionally, I would have to get out and close or open a valve or two.

Until the very end. We got the thing fixed, he confirmed my assistance was no longer needed. I turned to walk back to my truck.

Then he touched something, which made something else go haywire, which made fertilizer start pouring out of a valve all over the place.

I saw it at the same time he was shouting for me to run back and close the valve. Run I did. Until my running changed into sliding through some sand, which sent my bare toe, yes, the toe, right into one of the sweeps (really, really sharp points) on the cultivator.

But by golly, I got that valve off.

I screamed, because that’s what girls do, then looked down to find blood spurting out everywhere. (Seriously. My toe must be super-sensitive or something, because in both of these instances, I was a classic case for the “bleeding like a stuck pig” phrase.) Once again, I couldn’t see how much of my toe was still in tact due to the blood.

Once we could inspect things, it wasn’t bad at all. I mean, it was a pretty deep little gash on the end of my toe, but nothing some neosporin and gauze couldn’t fix.

Brandon told me, “I feel bad for you, but I don’t want to. …You never should have come out here in flip flops. But I still feel bad. But I don’t want to.”

“It’s okay,” I told him. “My dad would agree with you.”

In fact, when I told my parents about my first toe incident, their first response was not, “Do you still have a toe?” It was, “What, were you not wearing shoes?” Because that’s the kind of reputation I have with them.

I still feel like I’m excused a little bit, since I didn’t exactly know what I was “needed” for.

Anyone with me?

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