Busy, Busy, Busy.

What is it about summer that makes for busy times? Seems like every time I turn around the lawn needs mowing, or there are weeds to contend with in the melon patch and corn field. Speaking of corn, my humble two acres has sprouted and is now about six inches high. It might even be “Knee high by the 4th of July” if all goes well and we get lots more sun and less rain. Last week we were getting everything ready for Kathy’s dad’s eightieth birthday party. The “dock” got a makeover, the lawn was mowed one final time and a full fledged cleaning frenzy took place inside the house in preparation for the festivities. It was a fun time with about forty relatives and friends attending. Afterward the cleanup commenced and lasted at least a couple hours. Whew.
This past weekend we have been scrambling to get ready for the heating guys to come on Tuesday to install a new furnace and heat pump. The heat pump looks like a central air conditioner unit with one big difference: It will actually pull heat out of the air down to fifteen degrees F so the furnace runs less. Pretty cool. The rest of the time it acts like an air conditioner. So the contractor was originally going to come the last week in June but called and moved the date up a week. My plan was to have a cement slab poured this week with plenty of time to spare for it to cure before they showed up next week with the unit. Once the schedule got changed it was crunch time! I made a run to Menards on Thursday morning for lumber to build the cement forms and got them put up before going to work. I called the cement guys and they assured me they could make it Friday morning sometime. Great. Pour the slab on Friday and then it can cure all weekend and be ready by Tuesday. Good plan. Too bad it has to rain every four or five hours or so. Anyway, Friday morning came and of course it had rained. The cement guy called and wanted to know if I still wanted the concrete delivered. I told him it was “do or die” time and so he sent the truck. Once the driver got here he had to manuver around to the back side of the barn and made some nice sized ruts in the soft, soggy lawn in the process. Whatever, let’s just pour cement! We commenced pouring, shoveling, raking and smoothing out wet cement and were nearly done when he announced “Looks like we’re out of mud!” Indeed, with about a ten by ten foot area not filled in the cement truck was empty. Time to call for another load! The second load arrived along with my neighbor, Jerry. He was curious as to what we were doing and so I put him to work helping me screed the last of the cement. That’s what he gets for showing up out of the blue! Put ’em to work, I say!
So just today the furnace guys and the electrician showed up and proceeded to rip out our old furnace and install a new one and also that heat pump outside. That sure is a big unit! Hope it works out like they said. We are looking forward to A) Having central air for the first time, ever. and B) Saving huge coin on our electric and LP bills. I will keep you posted on that.

Up and Down

Life has its little ups and downs. Consider what I went through this past week. I have been trying to get my corn planted (a whole 2 acres) for a few weeks now. Every time the ground is just about dry there will come a rainy spell and set me back a few more days. Also this past week I had to repair a guy’s Kawasaki head that he sent me from Virginia. Basically what had happened is that he ran the engine out of oil and the camshaft got scored which in turn wrecked the head. I told him I could do the job but when the head actually arrived I discovered that A) My welding tank of argon gas was empty. B) It was Memorial Day weekend and the welding shop would be closed til Tuesday. C) I needed a special sized 23.00mm reamer to complete the job after I welded up the head.
So I got the tank of Argon this week but it was the wrong stuff so when I started welding it just popped and splattered with no actual welding taking place. Bummer! So back to the welding shop I went to exchange tanks, again. Lesson learned: Only use pure Argon when welding aluminum. OK, so then I finally ordered the reamer from the tool company. They boned me an extra fifteen bucks for shipping, handling and something called a “fuel surcharge” due to the spike in gas prices recently. Whatever. Buying the reamer was bad enough, seeing as how I will probably, rarely ever use it again. In the meantime, the guy from Virginia emailed and wondered how his head work was coming and could I let him know when it was done? Perfect. Just when I have all this other field work to do, this guy starts pestering. On top of that, my wife wanted me to replace the boards on the west entrance because they were starting to rot. We call it the “dock” because it looks like a dock but is actually a sort of bridge that was made temporary to get in the west side of the barn. (Long story). So a trip to Menards was scheduled for Friday, sometime. The weatherman was forcasting two days of non-rain for Friday and Saturday and so I was hoping to plant corn on Saturday morning, before any more rain could fall and set me back some more. On top of all this there was that whole full-time-job thing to deal with as well, and the lawn has been in dire need of mowing.
Anyway, I finished the head on Friday. It actually turned out quite well and the guy paid me as well the same day. The weather held and I was able to get the corn planted Saturday morning and I was able to get some lumber from Menards and start working on the dock just today. It looks like I should be able to finish it up in the next day or two. Then it’s on to other projects. Everything works out in its own time I guess, but it can be a bit stressfull until it does.

First tryout of the improved scraper.


P254-356-256-363-000h-0062-c11-l060-08-0360-1080-0359-1079-000-LB00-1So I thought I would improve on my old backblade by adding a trailing wheel and sides to the blade to make it a box blade/roadgrader. The wheel is adjustable up and down by the hydraulic cylinder you see. Found the wheel in one of the sheds here, the side plates are 1/4″ steel plate and cost me $41.00. OUCH! Price of steel has gone up alot! Spent $4.00 on plow bolts to mount the plates and that’s it. Total cost: $45.00. Works just fine, too. Way better than the old blade.