Wednesday, May 6, 2015

They’re multiplying like rabbits


This little guy was on Kijiji for about a month before I showed him to Marilyn.  I had pretty well convinced myself that it was silly to get a third (fourth if I count the Roper) garden tractor.  But its kind of a classic and Marilyn thought it was cute.  I do too.  Plus the guy who owned it was almost giving it away and it has 4 brand spanking new tires on it.  So we took off early Monday morning, met some friends for lunch in Winnipeg and picked up a 50 year old garden tractor in St. Vital after lunch.  Then we had coffee with some other friends in Brandon, spent the night in Russell and came home Tuesday.  On the way home we stopped in Yorkton and picked up enough shingles to redo the roof at 515.


That’s a stationary “elevator” engine that sold last weekend just north of town.  I think they also called them a “hit and miss”.  It was quite a performance getting it started but once it was running it chugged away quietly for about half an hour until it was sold.  Starting it involved a grain auger strategically positioned so that the auger engine could be belted to the hit and miss.  The problem was that v-belts don’t track very well on flat pulleys but the crew persevered and got it running.

  I believe “hit and miss” comes from the fact that they are a 4 stroke, single cylinder, very slow turning engine.  As a 4 stroke they need to make two complete revolutions for every power stroke so the non-firing stroke is the miss and the power stroke is the hit.  Engines like this used to power the iconic grain elevators that marked every town in western Canada.  I don’t remember them but clearly many people in the audience at the auction sale could remember hearing them run every day.


Aside from running to Winnipeg to pick up superfluous garden tractors, I’ve been busy helping our neighbour improve the drainage in his yard.  Until recently the program was that water entered from the back alley, flowed through his garden, under his deck, down the wall and into his basement.  He’s understandably not enthused about continuing that system so we removed his deck, lifted the concrete slab and step under the deck and stripped back the topsoil on the north and east side of his house.  Then we hauled 4 loads of clay and today we backfilled around the house with clay.  He’s been tamping that close to the house and I packed most of it with the Scat Trak.  There was over 2 yards of gravel under his concrete slab – in places it was more than a foot deep.  That was further serving to channel water toward his basement.  The clay underneath the gravel was a classic prairie frost boil which the little Scat promptly disappeared into as soon as we got the gravel cleared away.  Right now we’ve got a fairly solid clay cap about a foot thick over top of the boil.  I’m not sure that’s a good long term fix but he seems happy with it so I guess its his yard & his problem.



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