Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘mower

Resume Ranching

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It was a pleasing relief to return home to find our ranch-sitter, McKenna, hadn’t needed to deal with any missing chickens over the holiday weekend. Delilah needed a prompt from her to get up and greet us, but Pequenita practically molested me with affection when I walked in the bedroom.

Cyndie gave the horses a few moments of massage and in a flash we were back in Wintervale Ranch mode.

Once again, before departing for home, we dug up a few trillium plants to be transplanted into our woods.

In the past, we spread them out to several different areas, planting in groups of three. Most of those seem to be surviving, but not necessarily thriving. Yesterday, Cyndie agreed with my idea to put all nine of this year’s selection in one area, with the hope of establishing a little community of transplants.

In the two-and-a-half hour drive home, the plants took on a rather droopy appearance, but after getting them in the ground and adding a little water, they showed signs of perking up a bit.

After work today, I’m hoping to connect with a neighbor who might be able to provide a loaner lawn tractor so I can get grass cut at least one time while awaiting news on the status of our machine.

I stopped by the shop where we took the mower last week, hoping to find out if they had looked at it yet. They hadn’t. I pleaded with the man behind to counter to sneak in a preliminary analysis for me, so I could know as soon as possible whether I needed to be ordering a new replacement, or not.

On Friday, upon arriving in Hayward on the way to the lake, we stopped at Coop’s Pizza for lunch. I told Cyndie that a guy who looked like the man I talked to at the repair shop had just walked in with a family group. As we were driving out of the parking lot, Cyndie read the name of the repair shop out loud.

My initial reaction was to think, “They have a shop up here, too?!”

No, she was reading the information off the door of the guy’s company SUV in the parking lot. That was all the evidence I needed to tell me my sense of recognition was right on.

I sure hope he and their crew will resume repairing today, and that I might get a call with an estimate. It would help me greatly as I resume ranching duties, joining Cyndie when I get home from work.

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Written by johnwhays

May 30, 2017 at 6:00 am

Sheer Luck

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In the midst of a series of days with unfortunate events, there is always the possibility for a little luck. Sometimes, even a lot of luck. Before I describe my recent brush with some happy happenstance, I will regale you with the latest unfortunate incident that I was given an opportunity to experience yesterday afternoon.

It is probably immaterial to the point, but it means a lot to me and helps provide some reference for how much frustration potential existed in this situation for me to explain that I left work early yesterday to get a jump on cutting the over-grown lawn at home. MondayNight

The weather was dry and sunny, perfect for mowing, and that contrasted sharply with the expected weather for the days ahead. Monday was my best bet, so I made it a priority to get home a little early to cut the whole yard all at once.

After completing one pass around the perimeter of the front yard, the mower deck suddenly became very sloppy beneath the tractor. I stopped immediately to check things out, expecting and hoping that a mounting clip had probably come off. That wasn’t the case.

I don’t know why, but one of two mounting brackets on the deck had completely broken off. It was no longer attached at all. End of mowing, just like that. A wave of “It figures” and “What else could go wrong” washed over me.I made two calls: One to “my welder,” Gaylen, who didn’t answer, and one to our friend, George. I guess my first dose of luck was that George was home, available, and willing to try welding the bracket back on for me. This meant that I needed to unhook the borrowed trailer from the truck and go find Cyndie to help me load the deck so I could take it over to George’s.

While disconnecting the trailer, I set a locking pin on the bumper of the truck. Then I forgot about it and drove up to get the mower deck. Cyndie helped me hoist it up and closed the tailgate. I trucked over to George’s and we picked up the deck and put it on the ground for welding.

He worked his magic and successfully attached the bracket and patched up holes. That wasn’t luck. It was good old-fashioned generosity. He dropped what he was doing to help me, and took on a task that required skills and equipment that he rarely uses.

IMG_iP1484eWe loaded up the deck and I drove back home, backing into a hill so I could slide the unit off the truck by myself. As I was rolling the cover of the pickup bed back into place, I stepped over the tailgate onto the bumper. The surface felt strange under my foot.

I looked down to find the locking pin still sitting right where I had placed it when I disconnected the trailer. It hadn’t moved a bit, despite my cruising down the road at highway speed, stopping, turning, loading, unloading, tailgate up, tailgate down.

It’s sheer luck, I tell ya.

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Written by johnwhays

July 26, 2016 at 6:00 am

Purposeful Problem?

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‘Twas the day before Memorial Weekend, and all through the ranch, we are going to try to get things in proper order to allow us to go to the lake for a day. Our daughter, Elysa, will take care of horses on Saturday and Sunday morning, after which, I will come home and she will get to head up to have a day at the lake.

Getting away from home to be with family on a holiday weekend is a valuable thing, but my mind is filled with thoughts of all the things that deserve attention around here, and I am pulled equally toward both.

I tried getting the lawn mowed last night, but in my haste, I rolled too close to a metal cable we had used to tether Delilah, and it became entangled in the blades of the mower. It was a classic case of choosing not to take 30 seconds to stop and climb off so I could move the cable clear of any risk, and ending up taking an hour to struggle with untangling the cable from around the blades. I was forced into disconnecting the mower deck and sliding it out from under the tractor so I could flip it over and remove the blades to get at the cable.

I am my worst enemy. Or, could it possibly have been for a reason? Before the mowing season began this year, I cleaned the mower and sprayed the deck with something to make it easier to remove grass clippings that build up. Since it has been so wet all spring, I have needed to mow through some ill-advised areas, kicking up mud and soaking-wet debris that I knew was creating buildup far worse than what I had scraped off over the winter.

I had tried reaching underneath to pull away the mud and clippings that were sticking, but it seemed pretty ineffective. To do the job thoroughly enough, I really needed to pull the mower out from under the deck and flip it over, but I was hesitant about revisiting the routine of undoing all the clips that would require.

Maybe my decision not to move the cable to a safe spot was a way to get myself to commit to the task of undoing the mower deck. If that’s the case, it’s too bad I still allowed myself to get so riled up about the incident. Ooh, I was mad, cursing a blue streak. However, with the sun about to set, I swiftly dispatched all the clips, easily slid the deck out from under the tractor, removed the tangle of cable, and scraped off all the accumulation.

Everything went back together as easily as it had come off, and I was able to test it by mowing a small area beside the driveway before it got dark for the night. It wasn’t that big a deal. Maybe now I won’t be so hesitant about dismantling it for cleaning next time it needs it.

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Written by johnwhays

May 23, 2014 at 6:00 am