Sunday, July 6, 2014

Two down, one to go

We’re back in Buchanan.  We took a relatively long time to get home compared with some of the trips we have made but we did a lot of visiting along the way.  We stopped in Airdrie for some wine and good food.  Then we had a great visit with Michael in Medicine Hat.  After that we stopped in Regina to pick up our mail and replace the cell phone that I threw in the ocean.  I was being so careful to avoid losing Marilyn’s folding shopping cart ($69 at Home Hardware in Port Townsend) so I leaned way over the rail as I was placing it on the dock.  As I did that my Galaxy S3 ($750 at leaped out of my pocket, slipped neatly between the bullrail and the hull and disappeared forever beneath the waters of Cow Bay.  I guess it was time to replace it anyway.

The crops we saw east of Regina look pretty late.  And wet.  Lots of yellow areas and drowned out patches.  We came through Wadena so we missed the worst of it (Melville area) but even so we saw yards with sandbags holding the water away from the houses.  There was no water in our basement but a few of the boxes on the floor in Marilyn’s sewing room were damp on the bottom so there was likely a very small amount of water entered that room.  We dodged a bullet there. 

Now we’ve got a big scramble to get ready to go away again at the end of the week.  I’d like to get one of the two antique garden tractors that I bought last fall running tomorrow but I won’t devote more than one day to them.  We picked them up on a bitterly cold day last November and they sat on the trailer all winter.  Yesterday I got them unloaded but I didn’t do anything other than push them into the garage.  Marilyn spent her evening getting the 5th wheel cleaned so that it is ready to load up.  We put the slide out on it for the first time – it looks good.  I need to pack the wheel bearings and grease the running gear before we go anywhere with it.


My two latest toys/treasures.  We picked them up late last fall on a bitterly cold day, shortly before we left for the coast.

(the next evening) I’ve been alternately looking forward to playing with my new-to-me garden tractors and thinking that I was a damn fool (again) for buying them.  We had a 244 Case on our first acreage and it was a great little tractor.  The kids all learned to drive on it.  I wanted to keep it when we moved into town but Marilyn wouldn’t let me.  The little Case tractors are hydrostatic drive but despite that the mechanicals are virtually bulletproof.  When we moved into town our yard was built into the side of a hill.  The house was a 4 level split with the front entrance on the bottom level and the back entrance on the third level.  The hill that we had to mow was so steep that the lawnmower simply wouldn’t climb it going clockwise but you could sort of sneak up on the hill by going counter clockwise, which is what I did.  However there was one point where you were at the top of the steepest portion and had to go down it.  As soon as you started down, the relief valve on the hydrostatic drive would let loose and the little tractor would stage a runaway down the hill.  Then when the hill started to flatten out the relief would snap shut locking the rear wheels up solid and sending you into a skid.  It was a lot of fun but Marilyn didn’t enjoy it and she didn’t like me enjoying it either so eventually we sold that little tractor.  I’ve missed it ever since.

Last fall I bought a 446 & 444 tractor, paying pretty much scrap iron price for the pair of them.  They came with a set of attachments – no snowblower but a pair of mowers and tillers plus a blade.  I didn’t hold out much hope that either of them would run without some serious attention and I had even considered repowering them but this morning I took a run at the newer of the two, the 446.  Post Pinkney visit, I am no longer afraid of carburetors.  That will come to bite me sometime I know – father’s advice with regard to carbs was “if its running at all, leave the carb the hell alone”.  This morning I justified my amateur carb job because I didn’t actually even try to start the tractor before messing with the carb.  And its not like I did that much anyway – the carbs on these little tractors are really just a piece of pipe with a couple of jets and a float.  I watched a Youtube video, then went to Canora for some carburetor weasel piss.  All I really did was clean the carb jets.  Then I dumped a little gas down the the throat and turned the key.  It ran.

Its running but I’m not happy with how the governor is working – it doesn’t want to pull back to idle.  That’s not a huge problem – I can just flip the hood up and pull it back myself.  I need to take the cover off and see if maybe there’s a broken spring in the governor but in the meantime I can use the tractor.  So the next step was to tackle the Bolts and ScrapIron engine on the lawnmower that was hanging on the wall when we moved in.  I had even less hope that it would run but I flushed the gunk out of the gas tank, squirted my magic elixir into the carb and it fired up as well.  What’s even more amazing is that all of that was pretty well done by noon so we had the whole afternoon to clean up the yard and we had a lawnmower to do it with.  I still haven’t mounted a mower on the tractor because I need to find some new blades and a belt for the mower but we’re a lot better equipped than I thought we would be.


You can see the little throwaway push mower in the foreground.  They’re so cheap now its hardly worth the time to fuss with one if it doesn’t start right up.

So I’m feeling a lot cockier tonight than I was last night.  I spent last evening fighting to get my new phone set up.  I hate switching computers or phones.  Google kindly informed me that they have a transfer utility that will move all my information and apps from my old phone to my new phone.  They didn’t explain how they were going to access the information on my old phone.  And I didn’t ask.

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