Earlier this week the mayor and I were disassembling the “turn control valve” off his grader. That’s a very simple hydraulic valve that performs a very complex function on the grader. The circle – the part the blade attaches to – needs to turn so you can angle the blade. That is accomplished with two hydraulic cylinders each working a bell crank that drives a gear that in turn drives the circle. The cylinders are timed such that one is fully extended while the other is halfway extended but in order to turn the bell crank they each need to cycle repeatedly in and out in perfect synchronicity. The valve that accomplishes that duet has been leaking and the mayor has struggled valiantly for the last year to get the leak stopped.
In the course of disassembling the control valve I recall saying to myself “Self, I should have a brass hammer.” Since I had no such hammer we resorted to the old “hold a block of wood against it and whack it with a ball peen hammer” trick. Which worked but wasn’t elegant. So yesterday when I was in Yorkton I looked at brass hammers but at $45++ they were too rich for my blood. Particularly so when I remembered that I have a couple of bars of 1.25” brass stock. So tonight I sacrificed a cheap 3/8 swing handle, made a pile of shavings and ended up with this perfectly functional little brass hammer.
We spent last weekend in Saskatoon being proud parents. Marlan is finishing up his second year in the College of Agriculture (actually the proper name now has something to do with Ag and Bioresources but its still the College of Agriculture as far as I am concerned). He’s a very smart kid and a hard worker which we knew already but which was further confirmed by his receipt of a scholarship. I didn’t recall that the Bean Feed supper was the occasion where scholarships are presented but I think that was because when I was in the college there just weren’t that many scholarships (and I didn’t get any). Friday night we joined Marlan and Jenna along with a few hundred others for the Bean Feed in the Centennial Auditorium (which is called something else too now). We got all fed up and then watched a never-ending parade of kids getting scholarships. There must have been over 60 kids and 100 awards (some of them got several). We were pretty proud parents and it was a fun evening.
And no, we didn’t just eat beans and wieners, despite the fact that the Bean Feed did in fact start out with those two items as the only thing on the menu. There’s a lot of things have changed around the College since I was there, not just the name of the College or the menu at the Bean Feed. The most obvious change is the gender of the protagonists – the Dean of the College, the President of the Ag Students’ Association and a majority of the students are now women. We used to have to import nurses and home ec girls in order to have someone to dance with but clearly that is no longer the case.
We used Saturday and Sunday to do some power visiting around Saskatoon including a supper with some of my agro classmates. The group of us that has been getting together the 3rd weekend in July ever since grad got together for a supper Saturday night. Then we did some power shopping and came home with the Lincoln loaded to the roof with paint, lights and Costco food. Its a good thing that car has air ride because it would have been seriously dragging its ass without the air levelling.