Though the episode itself was scary to me (and no one else), this is now one of my favorite farm stories.
When we first moved back to the farm in 2007, we wanted to knock down a silo because it had been damaged in a windstorm and was leaning toward the barn.
Kris, my dad, and Mike figured they could do it themselves.
First, they attached a cable to the silo, then attached it to a tractor, in order to encourage the silo to fall away from the barn. Not right on top of it.
Then, they took turns hitting it with a sledgehammer.
Now, when I tell this story to other farmers, this doesn't make them flinch. At all. This is a normal way people knock down silos. But as I was standing a field away, with my children turned around in a stroller so they wouldn't be able to see people crushed to death, it didn't sound like a very good idea.
They took a lot of hits, knocking out the entire bottom – you can see the black stripe of emptiness in the picture below. It seemed impossible it was standing with all of that support gone.
However, when they pulled with the tractor, the cable came off, so my dad climbed up ON THE SILO to reattach the cable. Do you see him in this picture? He's in the light blue shirt. Doesn't that look unsafe with the entire bottom gone?
I was yelling, “Don’t do it! Mom’s going to be so mad!” I was way too far away for him to hear me. Not that this would have changed his behavior.
Dad climbed down. They took one more hit with the sledgehammer. The block crumbled from the weight and everyone scrambled to safety. I caught it on video. It's shaky, because I was terrified it'd fall right down on top of them ... or the barn ... or somehow a piece of it would fly off and hit us in the field. Almost an entire time zone away.
But, it fell perfectly in the right direction.
Giving me a story I still like to tell seven years later. If it had a different ending, it wouldn't be near as much fun.