Saturday, 8 June 2013

What can go wrong will go wrong

I came up to the farmhouse this week knowing I had a few gargantuan tasks ahead of me; learn to use the lawn tractor, vacuum the pool which is masquerading as a pond and use both the push mower and the lawn tractor to cut the lawn and the paths into the field and throughout the vegetable gardens. All this seemed like a good excuse to invite Pam to join me. I know she loves to get out of the city every weekend and I also know she has a 20 year old Ford Ranger pickup which she very happily bought from a young man in Cambridge who did all his own repairs. For Pam, the ultimate mechanical DIYer, that is a badge of honour and integrity.

When I arrived on Wednesday pressure in the pool pump was at 25psi, the equivalent of 200/120 for a human being. I managed to bring it down to acceptable levels by vacuuming and doing an extensive backwash. Again, not all that different from bypass surgery.  But the unexpected wrinkle occurred when the lid of the pump box came off in my hands. The hinges had finally pulled right out of the rotting wood.

I had picked up the push lawn mower from the Farm Supply in town on my way here so next up on the agenda was to take advantage of the respite from the steady rain and do a bit of grass cutting. I couldn't believe it when, fresh from the shop (we had taken it in because Christopher had put in chainsaw oil instead of 10W30) the mower wouldn't start. It just didn't seem to be able to engage. Matt, from the shop, swung by later that evening and figured it was the regular gasoline with ethanol that was the culprit. I was skeptical because that is what we always use. But, bottom line, we both agreed it definitely wouldn't start. So he kindly put it in the back of his pickup truck promising to look at it first thing this morning so I could pick it up before early Saturday closing.

Meanwhile we had picked up a new battery for the lawn tractor which Matt very generously connected for me. The first step in the process of learning how to use the Big Red Tractor.

Fast forward to Saturday. Pam had arrived the night before with three!! dogs.
Pam with Lucy and Scylla. Riley's asleep in the truck and notice Koko on the roof!

First up in the morning was figuring out the lawn tractor. I left Pam to it, manual as backup, while I did a bit of gardening. Unfortunately, when I checked to see how she was making out, I noticed one of the front tires was flat as a pancake, the whole machine resting on the rim.
Scylla checks out the disabled beast

When I went into town to get the lawn mower, for the second time in two days, I was also carrying the flat tire and the cotter key that needed replacing, the empty gas can to fill with premium gasoline and three empty chlorine containers. It turned out the problem with the push mower was that mice had almost, but not totally, eaten through the wire connecting the spark plugs. Having developed some "trust" issues lately, just to be sure, I tried starting it while Matt was fixing the tire. Good to go, strike one more thing off the list.

With the Honda Fit laden with the push mower, 50 litres of chlorine and 10 litres of gasoline if I had just had a tank of oxygen I could have had a real blast.
The fully loaded (not in the normal car sense) Honda Fit

I got back to the farmhouse an hour later, we ate a quick lunch to relieve our hypoglycemia and once again approached the Big Red Tractor. Once Pam had gotten the wheel (now sporting an inner tube) replaced, she suggested we start by labelling the various gears and levers with "translations".
The tubeless wheel now sports a brand new inner tube
Labelling the gears

Then me seated on the beast, manual in hand, with Pam to guide, spot and generally reassure, I got started. Having finished no one would mistake the lawn for a bowling green but it is cut and I do now know how to use the lawn tractor - teaching the old dog yet another new trick.
Unlike Pam, I am clearly a fan of manuals
There's usually no one to take pictures so please excuse the over (or in this case, under) exposure of me
Unlike in my motorcycle riding days in high school,  here you don't  lean into the curves

Someone who used to be a friend once said of me that I was "quick to tears but very practical". True but I would have preferred it had been "quick to tears and very practical".

                                                       This blog is dedicated to Pam.
The Big Red Tractor, Lucy and Pam

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Trials and tribulations! But you triumphed...
    I love the video!