This morning Greg and I met with a CPA who is experienced at handling taxes for farmers. (He had in his office a Martin Luther bobblehead, an object which I have never before seen, heard of, or imagined.) He gave us a huge ream of information and gave us some start-up advice. He said that if we understand that it’s foolish to make an extravagant purchase in order to get back thirty cents on the dollar in deductions, we are already ahead of the game.
Daniel’s hand bothered him a lot today. I did some research online and learned that he has a second-degree road rash. This kind of injury is common with bikers, who have put a lot of thought and study into its treatment. Basically, there are two schools of thought. One is to clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide or even alcohol (ouch), expose it to the air, and let it scab over. You can imagine the drawbacks to having so large a scab: it can crack, get knocked off, bleed afresh, and generally make your life miserable. By keeping oxygen away from the damaged tissue, the scab can actually drive the road rash deeper into the flesh.
The other method, the one we’ve been using, is to keep the wound moist and covered, and let the skin heal without ever forming a scab. The raw flesh gives off slimy exudations which are attempts at scab formation. You gently remove the exudations, cover the wound with ointment or some suitable moist preparation, and dress it with a light bandage.
I find wounds and their treatment fascinating, and thoroughly enjoyed my research. Daniel, of course, is not having such a good time, but he always copes better with illness or injury when he is well-informed. He wants to know exactly what’s wrong with him, the causes and symptoms, how to treat it, and how long it’s likely to last. Empowered by knowledge, he heals proactively.
After a bad moment at the kitchen sink when he rinsed the wound without realizing the water was hot (the girls were doing dishes), he settled down at the dining room table to soak his hand in body-temperature water. Anna, sensing his need for a distraction, got a library book of house plans and brought it to the table. They eventually went through the entire book together, about three hundred pages, looking at plans and discussing which houses they liked and why.
Daniel washed his wound with a clean new sponge to remove the exudations. Then I pricked a vitamin E gelcap, squeezed the liquid over the raw flesh, and dressed the wound with a makeshift non-stick bandage (a paper towel smeared with petroleum jelly). Then Emilie and I hurried to H-E-B, where I bought non-stick bandages, flexible gauze in two sizes, three different sizes and kinds of medical tape, and a lot of other wound-treatment stuff. I figured I might as well stock up.
Emilie asked if we could get Daniel some Twizzlers, one of the few sweets he likes. I let her get two bags. He was glad to have them. He calls them his painkillers, and chews determinedly on them when his wound is being tended.
The kids regularly squabble and irritate each other in a variety of ways, as all kids do, and indeed all human beings. But I am always heartened to see how well they pull together when one of them has a need.
Having been given the go-ahead by the CPA, Greg ordered his tractor today. He has been researching tractors for well over a year now and logged a lot of hours on TractorByNet. What he ended up buying is a BCS 853 11 HP Lombardini. This is a two-wheeled tractor, manufactured in Italy, and designed for orchard owners and small farmers. Although the acreage available to us is extensive, we will necessarily run a small operation for several years, and Greg could not justify to himself the purchase of a larger four-wheeled tractor. The BCS looks like a really big tiller, with attachments that can be changed out for different jobs. Greg got the chipper-shredder, the cultivator, the brush hog, and the double-ridger. He also ordered 23-inch steel wheels (no punctures from mesquite thorns!) and a 4 X 6 dump cart with a seat so he can ride and tote things.
Basically this tractor can do anything a four-wheeled tractor can do except operate a loader. As Greg does not want to make and haul large quantities of hay, this is not a problem. (Incidentally, the BCS can bale hay into cute little round bales, but we did not buy the baler attachment.) This machine should be amply sufficient for our needs now and for many years to come, and of course it costs much less than a four-wheeled tractor and will use less fuel.
Two-wheeled tractors have been in mass production since the fifties and have a terrific record of reliability. Greg came across many satisfied owners who are still operating their fifty-year-old machines.
He ordered his tractor from Earth Tools, a dealership in Kentucky run by a man who is extremely knowledgeable about these machines and offers excellent customer support.
The tractor should arrive a week from next Tuesday. We are very excited.