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Monday, April 18, 2011

Farm equipment - today success, tomorrow...

Lawn equipment, tractors, backhoe’s, splitters, chainsaws, etc. are all valuable pieces of equipment for the small farmer.  They are loud, they often smell a little, they require yearly or more frequent maintenance; and they make our lives that much easier.  Making efficient use of the time I spend around the farm is essential.  Working off the farm to make ends meet means less time on the farm working toward that self-sufficient lifestyle I yearn for.  To be able to stay home and work hard for myself and my family is the end goal of this adventure.  My equipment allows me to keep the grass in check between the Christmas trees, clean up errant dead wood for boiling maple syrup, cut some cedars to make raised beds, trim and prune fruit trees, carry soiled hay to the compost pile and so much more.  Without these machines, I would not be able to get nearly as much done in four hours per day.

Having these machines to make our lives easier sometimes comes with a price!  The tractor just returned from having its hydraulic system repaired (they still haven’t sent me the bill – it must be REALLY bad!) and the other equipment is migrating across the dooryard to the garage for spring maintenance.  Change oil in push mower, drain old gas, add fresh gas, check spark plug and air filter – done.  Pull cord – VROOM.  A battery is required to keep the riding lawn mower running so we will grab that in our travels this week.  The chainsaw will need a new chain soon, but appears to be running well.  The weed whacker runs, but needs something, we will have to look into that as the grass gets taller.  Things were going really well…

Somewhere in my educational process, my father, grandfathers, uncles or someone, taught me how to read schematics (blueprints); for that skill, I will be forever grateful.  We took the push mower out to trim the lower field of Christmas trees – pull cord – sputter, die.  OK, prime it a little, pull cord – sputter, die.  OK check the spark plug – no spark – it is brand new – GRRR.  It could be the coil (DH suggestion), maybe it isn’t getting enough air or too much gas, maybe it is the carburetor (my suggestion).  We are over thinking this.  Inside to get the manual which I cannot find anywhere.  Thank you Internet!  Download and save manual in two places.  Try all the trouble shooting options – check spark plug, fresh gas, air filter – yep already done that.  Head back out to the lawnmower and notice a frayed cable.  Back inside to the manual, follow schematics down to switch which controls fuel to engine.  Back outside to lawnmower – DH holds switch manually while I pull cord – VROOM.  Jerry/Jimmy Rig fix so that lawnmower will run – head back to the Internet to order replacement cable.

“Hun, while we are ordering parts, can we look at the hand held brush hog?  I think it needs a new throttle cable…”

Even though the parts come with a price, it is so much more efficient than cutting four acres of lawn and in between 5 more acres of Christmas trees with a scythe.

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