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  • Ian Thompson

Vacationing in the Sun

It was the hottest week of the year...107 degrees in the shade, a 115 degree heat index. Of course, it was the perfect time to do some heavy duty welding! The reason was not the weather, but the fact that things had slowed down enough at work for Ian to take a week of annual leave Our amazing friend and teacher, Ed, was willing to come sweat it out too.

It was a task of epic proportions for a small-scale operation. We had to disassemble our 3-year old corral and move it to our new land, disassemble the existing old corral on our new land, add in some new pipe, and put it all together to create a new corral that would function like Ken Klemm's.

The Saturday before, Ed used a cutting torch to cut the corral at our old place apart into 30-foot-long panels. Ian dug out the concrete holding the posts in the ground. Our neighbor, Jim, brought his tractor and delicately maneuvered the heavy, ungainly panels onto the back of a trailer making one giant stack.

The 50 mile road to our new land was not an easy one this time. As things sometimes happen, the heavy-laden trailer had a blowout on the way. It would have been impossible to jack up this monster by the side of the road. Instead, the driver headed on to Atoka. After a 15 minute wait and $15 for a new rim, our convoy was back on the road. The unloading was uneventful.

Ed and Ian took on the task putting together the frame of a new corral in just 5 days. We had purchased a new (to us) welder at the local Amish school auction, and this was Ian's first major opportunity to practice using it. Ian dug post holes, ran a cutting torch, and started to learn how to arc weld. Ed ran the tractor and did the skilled welding work. Work was fast and efficient. The concrete truck came two times, first to pour a foundation for the squeeze chute and then to cement in the corral posts.

With the perpetually cloudless sky, the sun shown overhead and reflected back up off of the bare dirt and the pipes. The cutting torches blasted through metal at 6,000 degrees. The welders stuck the metal back together at 10,000 degrees, the same temperature as a sun spot. The intense level of heat was silently attested to by the 14 empty gallon water jugs that had accumulated just by Ian's chair by the end of the five day period.

What stood at the end of the week was a testament to Ed's corral-building genius. The perimeter of the new coral was intact with the exception of one gate and one corner. We are eternally grateful to Ed, Jim, and the other people who are helping us to make our new farm a reality...

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