January 25, 2004


Farmer John "Bart" Stratford, 78, isnít worried by the mere matter of a crushed pelvis:

A farmer has survived 51 hours lying hurt in a cow paddock after being run over by his tractor near Mt Gambier, South Australia.

Hospital staff were unable to say how long Mr Stratford will remain in hospital, but the spritely survivor already is looking forward to returning to the farm.

"If little things like this worried you, you'd never get anything done," he said.

I was once at my uncleís farm while he repaired a windmill. He was working high above me when I, on the ground, felt what I first thought was rain. It was blood, and lots of it; some piece of machinery had cut deep into the meat of his palm. And he just kept working. When he was done, he climbed down and got me (14 years old) to drive him into town for repairs. Farmers are tough.

UPDATE. Donít miss the story of Jebediah Hudsucker, toughest farmer of them all!

Posted by Tim Blair at January 25, 2004 04:12 PM

What? No grief counsellors rushed in to "help"? NO PTSD? No mass hysteria? No shrines to preserve the memory? No midnight phone calls from John Howard, sympathising and promising to ban those nasty things? Tsk, tsk ... what is happening to Australians? Don't tell me they're about to stand on their own two feet again? Oooops ... forgot ... he's 78 ... last of the Mohicans.

Posted by: BruceT at January 25, 2004 at 08:01 PM

Surely there must be grounds for litigation in this - what is wrong with the lawyers in this guy's town.

The tractor manufacturer must be to blame, the tyre maker, the weather bureau, perhaps the local council for not placing signs every 30 metres saying "beware of rolling your tractor on top of yourself"

In this day and age it is impossible to believe that this could have been an "accident" and that the "victim" is willing to just thank their lucky stars, recover and then "get on with their lives" - this is a very worrying attitude and must not catch on.

Ambulance chasers Mt Gambier, the gauntlet has been thrown down - sue someone (the insurance companies and ordinary taxpayers can pay one way or another like they always do).


Posted by: GOP_Elephant at January 25, 2004 at 09:15 PM

When he was done, he climbed down and got me (14 years old) to drive him into town for repairs.

Aren't "repairs" something you'd do for a cyborg, not a human being?

Posted by: Andjam at January 25, 2004 at 11:20 PM

It was his word, Andjam. Exact quote: "I need some repairs."

Posted by: tim at January 26, 2004 at 12:09 AM

Hate to nit pick, but I think the word they mean is "sprightly", not "spritely"
Unless his survival had something to do with a can of lemonade

Posted by: Johnny Wishbone at January 26, 2004 at 01:42 AM

"the word they mean is "sprightly", not "spritely"
Unless his survival had something to do with a can of lemonade"

...or with being a fairy.

Posted by: Carl in N.H. at January 26, 2004 at 01:56 AM

Famers are tough all right. I practically grew up on one, and the farmer was always cutting or gouging himself on something or other. Never once did he stop work, or even say anything about it for more than 3 seconds. Once he put a huge gash in his hand somehow, and as he was going to the shed to put something on it to stop it bleeding (most likely axle grease), a sales rep turned up. The farmer stood merrily chatting to this rep for about ten minutes, holding his hand behind him with blood p*ssing everywhere. Pride wouldn't let him show the rep that he was hurt. As you say Tim, farmers are tough.

Posted by: Tim Newman at January 26, 2004 at 02:04 AM

When I say "grew up on one", I mean on a farm not a farmer, like some kind of parasitic growth.

Posted by: Tim Newman at January 26, 2004 at 02:05 AM

Farmers are tough.

This story reminded me of my own grandfather who was a farmer. He only had a 5th grade education and had left school to help work the family farm (not uncommon in those times). He and my grandmother married during the Great Depression and started their own farm and family.

When he was middle-aged his appendix ruptured. Besides being not all too fond of doctors, he was also just too busy to be bothered with it. Eventually he developed gangrene and was given up for dead. Due to his own will and strong constitution he fully recovered. Another time he was in an automobile accident and was critically injured. The prognosis was that he would probably not survive. Yet once again he didn't cooperate with those who had written him off and he fully recuperated. He continued to work his farm daily well into his mid-80's and lived in relatively good health to the the age of 90 when he finally passed away.

Yes indeed, farmers are tough.

Posted by: MB at January 26, 2004 at 02:28 AM

My uncle Jebediah Hudsucker was finishing up the threshing when he got his hand caught in the combine. Took it off at the wrist. So he went back to the house, cut off six inches of flesh from his wrist to expose the bone, duct-taped a hoe to the bone, and did a couple hours of weeding in the garden.

Couple months later, a twister ripped off the roof from a tin shack and blew it straight towards him while he was plowing, severing his head. He finished the back forty, then stitched his head back on with barb-wire.

The man was scared to death of spiders, though. That's why everyone called him "Ol' Lady Hudsucker."

Posted by: Dave S. at January 26, 2004 at 05:51 AM

Dave S.

That was the first tears-running-down-my-cheeks belly laugh I've had in a long time. Thank you.

Posted by: Goldenwebb at January 26, 2004 at 06:11 AM

I grew up on a farm, and i think the reason they keep on going when they're banged up is that the job they are currently working on usually needs to be done, by them, no-one else is going to do it. If you leave it until later you're going to be in more pain than you are now, so you might as well finish. No point complaining about it as the dog's English skills are usually limited.

But they don't always make it, i went to primary school in a town of 500 people, and 3 kids at that school had fathers killed in farm accidents.

Posted by: Wayne Kerr at January 26, 2004 at 02:11 PM

No blood for agriculture!

Or is it:

Bush lied, Farmers died, Baby-faced Tim got to give a ride.

Posted by: Quentin George at January 26, 2004 at 03:01 PM

Where's the lunch?

Posted by: Sortelli at January 26, 2004 at 10:22 PM