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The Manure Spreader: Fireworks safety

Published on 30 June 2016

Last week, I received a letter from my insurance company explaining safety tips for using fireworks on the farm. At first I thought, “What kind of insurance company would actually encourage pyrotechnics on the farm?”

Maybe I should change companies ... but then again, if they are willing to cover the damage ... there is that existing hole in the side of the slurry tank from when Granny tried to light her cigar.

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The number one safety tip was to have a garden hose within reach at all times. Listen, if I can reach a water hose at all times, my location will either be in my laundry room or in the barn. I’ve watched enough Three Stooges movies to know it’s not safe to set off fireworks indoors.

It’s gonna take at least two episodes of the “Little Rascals” in order for Spanky, Buckwheat, Petey the dog and the rest of the gang to drive the fire truck here to put out the fire.

According to the letter, sparklers are considered the safest of fireworks. Obviously, the writer of this safety letter has never had a Fourth of July family picnic go wrong when Grandpa fired up what he thought were sparklers ... that turned out to be welding rods. He ran in circles for hours and never stopped until he sat down and welded himself to a metal folding chair.

Amazingly, his cataracts kept his eyes from burning, but the rest of the family was seeing spots until the week before Halloween. The letter also said to remind friends that if they touch an open flame it will burn them. Listen: If I have a friend that needs to be reminded fire is hot, it is my duty to find a smarter friend.

The fireworks safety guide had an entire list of things on the farm that were not considered safe “launching pads” for fireworks. Automobiles, propane tanks, hay bales and in-laws were all on the list. Too bad for the cat – he didn’t make the list. The biggest safety concern was to never point or throw fireworks at another person.

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Apparently, these people have never met my uncles. These are gentlemen who go into the woods with 12-gauge shotguns loaded with birdshot and play chicken. I’m sure a bottle rocket to the head is not going to scare them away.

In fact, until last year, we never used fireworks. We didn’t have to – we had dynamite. Because that’s just how my uncle liked to fish. He had things to do, and all that casting and reeling took way too much time.

He would always tell me, “Just skim the fish off the top, Timmy!” You should see duck hunts with dynamite. But you never will. He passed away. Turns out as he got older, his throwing arm wasn’t what it used to be.

I wish you all a safe and happy Independence Day.  PD

To all of you who support Progressive Dairyman and read my articles, I would like to say thank you. Listen up! If you’re in the Illinois area and like antique tractors, hot-rod lawn mowers and want to see me live in concert, I will be performing for Mill Road Thresherman’s 35th Annual Show on July 22, 2016, at 7 p.m. at the Effingham County Fairgrounds in Altamont, Illinois.

For more info about Tim’s Illinois appearance, visit Mill Road Threshermans Association.

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