I’ve been spending time on the back of a tractor, contemplating all the mysteries…
In case you were wondering where I might have been all these days, well, did you know that on older MacBooks the video card attaches to the motherboard and that when the video card goes bad, the motherboard though still good is now worthless? Yep, I did not know that either, though I have since found out about this and much other arcane trivia regarding both my now old and now new computers.
To be honest, the Gentleman Farmer does few things well and computers are not one of them. Slowly, but surely, while my face basks in the glow of computer light, I am making friends with the newest addition and expense to Totem Hall.
Somewhere, someone promises improved productivity and instant enlightenment, right?
I just noticed the blurry image of my old and now very defunct computer, which is somewhat apropos, no?
27-ton, chainsaw, chopping wood, family, farm boss, farm chores, farm equipment, farm tools, fireplace, firewood, front-end loader, hydraulic, kubota, laurel oak, log-splitter, nephew, Quercus hemisphaerica, Quercus virginiana, southern live oak, splitting wood, stihl, troy-bilt, winter fire
So, besides the feeling of power and glory, compensation issues really, the main reason that I chainsaw is for firewood.
On the ground is a Laurel Oak (Quercus hemisphaerica) that we took down because it was growing too close to a Southern Live Oak (Quercus virginiana). Don’t you just love the Quercus rolls off the tongue? Go ahead say it really fast three times over.
After the initial felling, the main trunk is broken down into smaller sections known as rounds, using the Stihl Farm Boss, which I referenced in an earlier post.
I tractor up and use my front end loader to move the rounds from the tree site to the well house shed where I can split the wood.
Now, I used to split wood using wedges, hatchets, axes, and mallets, but that was before my enlightenment. At the shed, out comes one of my favorite boy toys, the Troy-Bilt 27-ton hydraulic log splitter, and a complete exercise in brute power,strength, and dominance.
From there it is just what you would expect. Stack the wood.
Burn the wood. Enjoy the life…
I like my chainsaws.
I like the power.
I like the danger.
I like the dirt.
I like the sawdust.
I use them.
I use them a lot.
I chop trees down.
I chop trees up.
I cannot make art.
At least not with my chainsaw…
I had big plans for the day, which really were no plans, perhaps do some fishing, get my sailboat out, chase a golf ball, float in the pool. Instead, as the heat index reached 100 (that’s about 38 degrees for my Celsius friends), I found myself shoveling dirt in a horse stall.
With our farrier making his monthly, bimonthly, six-weekly, visit tomorrow, I found myself under the gun to get the main run-in stall back in decent enough repair that I could hold reins and not be terribly embarrassed by the condition of the barn.
You see, the flies this time of year bother my boys terribly. Hell, wouldn’t you be? The damn flies bother me terribly too, but I least I can scoot into blessed air conditioning when the going gets too tough. No such luck for the horses, so what they do is paw up dust to keep the bugs away. Paw enough when you’re big enough and soon enough there’s a mighty fine hole in the ground and a mighty fine weekend of plans of doing nothing much goes bye-bye.
Bear with me, just a few more comments. The whole job would have been easier with a backhoe, instead of the front-end loader, but I am too cheap to buy one, and have no place to store it if I did own one. It is amazing how tight a barn stall can get, especially when you’re on top of a tractor. Things might have been easier if I had taken off the mower deck, too lazy, too hot, too bothered…
bountiful bush bean, dark star zucchini, farm chores, heirloom vegetables, kitchen garden, lioness f1 squash, organic gardening, plants, procrastination, solstice, sumter cucumber, tequila sunrise pepper, vegetable garden, vegetables, victory garden
Most folks call it a vegetable garden.
Others prefer to use kitchen garden.
Me, well, for me I go old school; it’s a victory garden.
Here at Totem Hall we let our freak flag fly and do our best to live the whole granola crunching organic lifestyle. Let’s see, for this year’s edition of my victory garden, I planted corn, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers, basil, eggplant, tomatoes, watermelon, and, for the sheer heck of it all, potatoes. All are organic, with a big percentage of my garden being heirloom varieties. In case you’re curious, I do talk to my plants. Why not, it works for Zonker.
On solstice day, I had the first picks of the season. Yeah, yeah, I know the harvest should be earlier, but what can I say, I planted way too late, a victim of well, my tendency to do this or that before doing this or that.
My bar needs adjusting. There, I needed to say that, just for laughs and giggles, and well because my bar really does need adjusting.
For those who just can’t get through the day without knowing, the adjustment bar helps with a mower deck’s angle of attack. You see, most folks tend to have the front of their deck too high in relation to the back. This will lead to backside dragging (a problem whether you’re a human or a machine), which results in blown out, abused, and otherwise perfectly trashed back panels. A little adjustment here, a little adjustment there, and before you know it, the front side has the most is the perfect pitch to the back and you get the most loveliest of mows.
At least that’s how it works in theory. In my reality, I adjusted too hard, cranked one too many times, which, as you can see by my ruts in the dirt, led to a not particularly aesthetic finish. Adding insult to injury, my nut froze to my bolt. The only solution: saw it in two.
I leave you to think about that for a bit…
Well, there is an explanation, broken heart, and broken tractor, and, so, I have been running late, and running behind.
The broken tractor is easier to explain than the broken heart. Underneath my rotary mower, manufactured by Taylor Pittsburgh, in the center part, is a contraption known as a stump jumper. The stump jumper is dish shaped so the mower will slide up and over large stumps and rocks. Bisecting the stump jumper is a brace, bolted to which are two blades that do the cutting. It is that brace which failed and put a damper on my spring fieldwork.
Of course, that is not the only equipment failure. There is an adjustment bar for the mower wheel simply vanished somewhere in my back forty, a victim of my negligence in checking for fastness. At least that job did not require a trip to the welder, just a wait on the UPS man.
Both zero-turn finish mowers, a Kubota, and a John Deere, required more than one trip to the shop. The John Deere had an alternator issue, thankfully covered by warranty. The Kubota suffers from a faulty starter, unfortunately not under warranty.
Tomorrow I make a run to pick up the now repaired Kubota. The John Deere I used today around the barn and pool area. The tractor went into the woods for a hard mow to maintain our hiking and horse trails. The new adjustment bar will need some adjusting; the back part of the deck keeps dragging, cutting down on my efficiency, and not helping the aesthetics of my mow.
arrow, brooks brothers, business chores, clothing, cov-ver, farm chores, filson, fishing, hay, hens, home chores, hunting, jc penny, koi fish, long leaf pine, polo ralph lauren, quarter horses, russell moccasin, sears, st. john's bay, wigwam
Back in the day, before the deluge of the modern mail order catalog, I eagerly used to await the latest Sears or JC Penny wish book. Once I had the catalog in my hands, I would carefully go through the pages, picking this and that for some vaguely defined executive future. Happily ensconced in the world of Sears and JC Penny, I put together many an outfit to wear to the office, on the golf course, at supper, in the garden.
Here we are now; flashed forward forty plus years, and those early dreams of an outfit here and an outfit there did not quite turn out as planned. Dress at Totem Hall is nothing but practical. Horses, chickens, pine trees, hay fields, vegetable crops, fruit trees, and koi fish demand nothing less, and those are just the living entities that want attention. I have not mentioned the pool, barn, home, fencing, drive, studio, well house, all of which have their particular care and needs.
Above, spread out over the bed, is my day. Below is my day, in detail.
Brooks Brothers and Polo Ralph Lauren
(age and, well, age means boxers instead of briefs)
(southern boys always wear crew neck tee shirts, always)
(the ubiquitous button down, worn out, frayed, usually Brooks Brothers)
(if there is a better pair to hunt, fish, farm, garden, chore, or spreadsheet in, show me)
• Socks & Boots
Wigwam and Russell Moccasin
(heavy-duty, warm, need to fill the boots)
(ma’am, just bury me in my boots, please)
St. John’s Bay
(goodwill find, wish it had pockets, absolutely love it and I like browns)
(my best buddy, very floppy, much worn in, much loved)