Home » This Country Life » The Great Gas Bath: Truths of a Foolish Farmer’s Wife

The Great Gas Bath: Truths of a Foolish Farmer’s Wife

Hay is cut and raked into rows for bailing.
Hay is cut and raked into rows for bailing.

It’s hay season here on the farm and from May to August every outdoor activity has some sort of rush to avoid the rain or other natural event. We work to bring in the season’s crops in the heat, humidity and beating sun. 

It just has to be done.

That’s why my husband took a half day off from work to cut hay yesterday, and when he asked me to go to the gas station in town and pick up some extra diesel fuel for the tractor while he got started mowing, I didn’t have any choice but to say yes.

What happened next will shock you. I can’t make this stuff up because no one would be nuts enough to lie and make themselves look this stupid. After all I’ve been attacked by bees, and lost my pride in front of my neighbors. I don’t have much left to lose here.

My husband preparing the baler.
My husband preparing the baler.

 I drove to our brand new gas station in town–about 15 minutes from our house. They have brand new diesel pumps set aside from the main station and I thought I’d run in and run out.

I pull up to the pump and get out my 5 gallon diesel can. I turn on the pump, and notice that the nozzle, which is designed for filling mud-covered farm-man pickup trucks and vehicles with tires that weigh more than I do, was the exact same size as the hole on my gas can.


So I did what any non-thinking girl does. I matched the nozzle to the hole and started pumping. Bent over at the waist, my face was about 3 feet from the can when just a few seconds in, that baby erupted in a jet-powered fountain of diesel fuel. Like a fire hose possessed, diesel fuel burst backward out of the can spraying an 8-foot arc in every direction–gallons of oily liquid dripped from the pump, my car…

and me.

Stunned. I dropped the nozzle and stood there trying to make sense of why I could barely see, why my hair was soaked, why I was soaked.

Sputtering and working to spit the fuel from my mouth, I saw the gas station attendant taking out the trash across the lot.

“Help.” I said as calmly as I could. “I’m covered in diesel fuel.”

The attendant looked as horrified as I felt. She immediately grabbed for paper towels and came running.

“Wipe it out of your eyes!” she said. I did. Thank God I had on sunglasses–they deflected most of it from my eyes but my right one still had a fair amount in it. It burned. I pulled my contact lens out and threw it in the trash. This was a problem because I have 20/400 vision in both eyes. If we kept this up, getting home was going to be a serious problem. I opted to keep the other one in.

I started wiping my face, neck, arms, chest…I dug through the car for something to put my hair up with.

Then I laughed a little. Totally embarrassed, I have never been more glad to live in a town where I only know one police officer and a girl at the Subway who babysits my children.

“I’m sorry I’ve made such a mess,” I told the attendant. Of course she didn’t mind.

Then, I finished pumping that can of fuel, packed up and headed home where I stripped off my clothes in the yard, and ran inside where I washed my hair three times in Dawn and white vinegar. 

I still stunk. And I still stink today. And somewhere on that store’s security video is a recording of what I did. Oh my Lord. That’s gonna come back someday.

I waited for Jeremy to return from the pasture so I could let him make fun of me. When he got there, I strolled to the field. I recanted my story to him. And without even taking his head out of the guts of the equipment he was working on, he said, “Well did you get me any diesel?”

Hang head. Slump shoulders. Sigh.

“Yes. I got your diesel,” I said. And I still have both of my eyes and I don’t think I ingested a toxic amount of gas. Thanks for asking.

Welcome to life on the farm. Where necessity trumps sympathy, and your pride takes a serious–and stinky–beating. But you can still laugh, and not trade it for anything.

What happens when a 6 year old takes your picture? You laugh.
What happens when a 6 year old takes your picture? You laugh.



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  1. You will live longer because you can laugh at yourself! That sounds totally like what I might have done. I’m so glad you are ok though. I just started following you and I’m sure I’m going to enjoy it. Just be careful!

  2. Oh please, share more stories with us, you tell them so well. I’ve been subscribed to your blog for awhile now. Glad you’re okay and not ashamed to show your face at that gas station again. That attendant will be glad to see you back and no worse for the experience, I’m sure.

    1. I KNOW I’m going to end up on some viral Facebook video of stupid things people have done one day. There was a security camera somewhere…and I’m on it. Thank you for being with me through all of this Kris–I truly appreciate it!!! –Rachel

  3. Oh sweet Rachel! Well if it makes you feel any better I did something very similar only with unleaded.:) I still don’t know what went wrong but there was gas everywhere. The beauty of all your calamities is that getting old is gonna be a snap for you! Your already used to laughing at yourself :). xoxoxo!

  4. Ohmygosh! This is the first post I’ve ever read on your blog (found you over at foodbloggerpro) and I’m sure we’ll get along just fine. lol Glad you’re all cleaned up now. This site is beautiful–I’m really impressed.

    1. Sorry you broke yourself in with the gas incident Shannon! Ha ha! It was so terrible. I’m an idiot. Glad to meet a Food Blogger Pro member–I’ll come check you out as well. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Oh Rachel…….lol……you are so funny!! I was just catching up on my e-mails from where we were gone from the house while having the floors done. This was a great one!! Something to laugh at…or someone to laugh with!

    Seriously, I’m glad you’re ok and were able to share this story. It could have gone in a totally different direction. God Is Good!!

    Look forward to your next experience. 🙂

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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.