Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘small gas engines

Mowing Again

leave a comment »

Last Tuesday, my 2018 lawn mowing season officially began. I had a little time, it was between rain showers, and it was dry enough that I was able to do a brief test cut on the small patch of grass on the south side of the barn. The grass there seemed to have a serious head start compared to everywhere else.

The reason it was a ‘test’ cut, is the mower. You may recall I bought a new yard tractor to replace the old Craftsman that was giving multiple end of life hints. When the new one arrived last fall, I barely had time to run it before winter took over. I hadn’t taken time to read the manual, so for the maiden voyage I couldn’t figure out the interlock to keep the mower blades spinning when backing up.

I just kept restarting to hastily finish the back hill before it got dark.

When I finished, I looked through the manual and learned the yellow triangle warning symbol was also a button to be pushed. D’oh!

This brings me to Tuesday, when I was doing horse chores and walking Delilah, but not prepared to mow. Except, the grass was so long out there and the rain seemed to be holding off. What the heck, I decided to go for it.

I didn’t actually remember how to keep the mower on when backing up, but I remembered that it was head-slap simple when I discovered the trick in the fall, so that was my primary focus. The other issue was seeing if it would start easily, after sitting so long with old gas in it.

I clipped Delilah’s leash to the railing and opened the garage. She had no idea what I was up to.

After topping off the tank with some less-old, but not necessarily fresh gas, I was ready to try. But, this new tractor doesn’t have a separate choke control like the old one. The throttle was all the way up, so I just turned the key and hoped.

Somewhat begrudgingly, it coughed to a start. I figured a little black smoke and rough run was a reasonable response after the long winter, so I forged ahead, proud that I quickly figured out the interlock for backing up.

I mowed for ten minutes or so, hoping the engine would warm up and settle down, but it seemed to chug the entire way through. After finishing the small area, and before the rain started to fall, I rushed the tractor back to the garage.

Since it was still running rough, I decided to pull the throttle down to a slow idle and then ramp it back up, to see how it might respond before shutting it off.

As I pulled the lever down, it popped out of the choke position and into the normal operating range and the engine purred like brand new.

I found the choke control. I had just mowed with it on the whole time.

D’oh!

At least the rain is bringing spring flowers.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 11, 2018 at 7:57 am

Daylong Soaking

leave a comment »

In the hours that I had dreamed my friends and I would be enjoying the surrounding countryside from our bicycles, the atmosphere was crying cold tears. It was a cruel follow-up to the flash flooding we endured two days prior.

It rained and rained here yesterday. Sometimes waves of serious drops fell for a few minutes, but before and after them came a steady drool of H2O that mercilessly soaked an already over-saturated landscape.

Cyndie’s mud-swamped garden became more of a fountain of running water, moving her to proclaim the location a loss for her flowering vision.

We will contemplate a different spot for her dozens of perennial beauties, somewhere as eye-catching as that bend in the driveway, but not so directly in the line of drainage.

The afternoon lent itself to some serious power-lounging around the fireplace. I closed my eyes and happily entered dreamland on the couch, then woke up to do some virtual shopping and curious research on lawn tractors. I have found multiple ways to nurse along the used Craftsman tractor that we acquired with the purchase of this property four mowing seasons ago. I think it’s had enough.

I think the engine blew a gasket last Friday. Diagnosis and repair of this malady deserves someone more learned than me, and the time constraints I am facing. The grass cutting was only partially completed when the engine revved and the white smoke billowed. Growth is happening at maximum speed this time of year.

We’re gonna need a new mower fast. There is no shortage of water providing thirsty blades of grass with all they care to drink. The front end of our property needs mowing almost before I’ve finished the last rows at the back.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Another Tool

leave a comment »

I have totally abandoned my attachment to manual saws for trimming high limbs, and I know exactly why it happened. I have enjoyed nothing but successful ease with our two Stihl small gas engines after making the leap of buying a chainsaw and trimmer.

They were my gateway drug.

It took nothing more than a casual work-place conversation reference to a chainsaw on an extension pole to trigger my conviction that that was exactly the tool I needed. We already keep a jug of mixed gas and have experience with two very similar engines. What’s one more?

dscn5403echWhen a discount coupon arrived in the mail from my favorite hardware store —the one that has supplied my fix of other Stihl equipment— I was all in. It felt a little like I was being possessed by Tim Allen’s grunting tool guy.

The first tall branch where I hoped to test it turned out to be a bit more than what I could reach. Why start small? I quickly learned its limitations. Even standing on my ladder, I couldn’t lift the motorized pole high enough to reach the height where the limb had snapped and was dangling.

It seems like it should be so simple in theory, but the combination of difficult angles, heavy weight of the motor and pole, and awkward leverage of the long reach make using this tool a complex challenge.

Still, it will be a very helpful addition to my arsenal for clearing overhead branches along our trails. Also, and maybe even of more significance, it will serve us well in creating a high hedge-like wall of growth along our northern border where our neighbor grows a field of corn.

For those of you keeping score, this now makes it four small gas engines, …and still not a leaf blower among them.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

November 8, 2016 at 6:00 am