Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Monday Musings And Tuesday Ruminations on a Wednesday Morning

Before I mowed the lawn Monday, I thought I’d change the plugs in my riding lawnmower, since it’s been running a little rough lately. Step one – lift the hood. Step two – search for the spark plugs…….and search……..and search…..and—well, you’re starting to get the idea. Not only could I not even see the plugs, there were no obvious plug-wires to give away their location either. Apparently, you have to completely remove the hood to see where they go, and I didn’t want to take the time. I’ll say again, “the people who design machinery and automobiles should be FORCED to work on them!” I DID clean the air filter for the first time in far too long; it was amazing how much smoother the thing ran afterwards. I guess that’s why they talk about REGULAR maintenance!
I can tell autumn is coming; the broom sedge and fall grass is making itself known. My grass clumped a little for the first time this year; I think the main culprit was some kind of miniature fox-tail that shows up this time of year. It and the others were just so lush that it was a little like mowing a water puddle, though the ground was dry and I had the mower set as high as it would go.
The last leaves have died on one of my white oaks in the yard and borers are already working on the trunk. I hate to lose it, but it’s been hit by several things in the last five years, root damage by loggers, sawflies, some sort of anthracnose from two or three wet springs, and a couple droughty summers. During a horrible drought 20 or more years ago, a forester told me that trees would be dying for 25 years or more that were first weakened by that drought. A guy stopped by that has been cutting some firewood on my place, and he said that I’m losing a lot of white oaks in my woods and he is on his place, too. I hate that for several reasons, including that the white oak acorns are the most palatable for us and the critters both.
I clipped the top off a rabbit’s nest in the very MIDDLE of the front yard, but didn’t hurt any of the bunnies, thankfully. By the next pass around, they’d pulled themselves into a deeper part of the nest and were all but invisible to the naked eye. This was despite their own eyes not being open yet. I hope their mama moves them, if need be, before something finds them. Here I go and build brush heaps in the edge of the woods around my yard so the rabbits will have a place to live and they nest right in the middle of the lawn! This nesting seems a little late in the season to me, but maybe not.
I tinkered a little more on my “sawmill” base after I finished mowing. If I’d just go at it straight endwise, I could probably have it done in an hour, but it’s been so humid that I’ve just been doing it 10 or 15 minutes a day. How’s THAT for being worthless? I remember when I used to work outside all day no matter what the temperature. Of course I picked jobs in the shade when possible and I was a lot younger, too.

I took my truck to the dealer to have the oil changed yesterday. They had a courtesy driver take me down to the unemployment office where I had an appointment, while they worked on my truck. I got a paper in the mail Saturday telling me that I had a Tuesday appointment. I thought it was nice of them to ask if I had that time available. They always forget that they work for US, not we for them.
After getting back to the dealership, I was told that it’s time to get the plugs changed in my truck. Can you believe it’s a $300-plus job? It takes over three hours they tell me. Remember what I said about engineers being FORCED to work on their creations? I think it’s time that I check another garage. I guess I’m showing my age to admit that I changed my own plugs on my last truck (a ’79 GMC). *
The neighbor-lady is getting ready to have a yard sale. She spent her working years hoarding thousands of dollars worth of knick-knacks, seasonal decorations, and “home accessories” in her attic and upstairs rooms. Now that she’s retired and living on a shoe-string, she’s decided to sell her stock for pennies on the dollar. I can only imagine how much easier her life would have been had she simply saved her money. My great aunt always used to quote one of her own aunts who said, “The time to be saving is when you have plenty.” I wish I’d done a better job of it myself.
Incidentally, the meeting at the unemployment office was a group meeting that was about as pointless as certain female appendages on a boar hog! © 2013

* P.S. - Thinking back, I believe that price was for a full tune-up, something I remember getting at $29.95 at times in the past.


Sunnybrook Farm said...

My rule around here is that it is easier in the long run to not use a motorized device if at all possible. I do use a mower to transform yard grass into steer food but had to not follow instructions to get it to work. Anyway I think the idea is for you to just buy a new what ever when the old one breaks, of course that only works if people have extra money.

Gorges Smythe said...

I think you're right, SF; that's why I sold my weed-whacker and wenr back to the scythe.

JaneofVirginia said...

The Autumn feels more advanced this year, and it's still only August. It makes me feel behind in all I have to do !

Gorges Smythe said...

I know what you mean, Jane. Life's autumn is beginning to feel the same.

Mamahen said...

Now Gorges! Don't be talking about lifes autumn that way. I must confess tho, I do have days when Ivwoyld agree. I also know what you mean about working on your own veh. I was Dad's gopher back in the day when he did his own work, and picked up a bit of know how here n there. A fat lot of good it does with todays cars n trucks tho!

They call me Moe! said...

Crazy ain't it? I had a Toyota trailer hitch put on my vehicle when I got it. I know there are after market hitches but theirs was rated for 3,500 lbs so I said install it.

Went to pick the vehicle up and I was presented with a $1,000.00 bill for hitch & installation! $500 of it was labor. The Toyota "liar" told me -- with a straight face -- that it was a 5 hour job to install it! ->>this is where I would normally insert the cussing.

So, lesson learned. I like Toyota vehicles, especially the ones built in Japan. Unfortunately they run their dealerships "American style" what a shame.


Gorges Smythe said...

Yeah, Mh; their goal is to put all shade tree mechanics out of business.

It's a sad state of affairs, Moe!

Mamahen said...

Ok you're not gonna believe this but i'll try to get pics on fb in a day or so. I ready this n commented earlier on part of it. Then just a few minutes ago we heard a sort of scraping thud from the back part of our trailer. Tom ( my hubby for those who don't know) took a light n went out to look n a large limb was laying on our roof. It is not broken, the whole tree seems to be leaning this way! You guessed it! White Oak :( I may get to try my hand at cutting wood after all!

Ralph Goff said...

I guess it is no surprise that places that sell and install spark plugs might advise replacement. My 97 Blazer still has the originals at nearly 150,000 km and running fine. I think they will last the life of the vehicle (or me).

Gorges Smythe said...

I hope you can get it off without any damage, Mh!

You've got a point there, Ralph. The truck is running fine and I'm pretty broke right now, so it's going to be a while, any way I look at it!

Mamahen said...

Good news for the light of day it appears it's not the whole tree, just a limb that was broken after all.

deborah harvey said...

hi. we move fairly often and have no land of our own. the only thing i've ever eaten off what i planted, besides veggies, is i got some grapes in one place enough to eat and make some canned things.

as i've aged i had plans for here where we've lived 6 whole years! but age has slowed me and i only have one and one-half raised beds. soil here is unworkable clay. got tendonitis trying to go at it with the mattock.
do what you can and think about perennials that need no work to fill in where it has got too much for you to do.
years ago at our mechanics i said i'd love to have a new car. he said no you don't. i asked why not. he said it was a hundreds of dollars job to do the spark plugs because the engines are designed so you can't get at them.

obviously a conspiracy between auto makers and auto dealers to fleece you again and again.
well, we've joined the ranks of those old people we used to listen gripe out on the front porches in the evenings when we were kids.
unbelievable isn't it!!
deb harvey

Gorges Smythe said...

Glad to hear that, Mh!

That's why I'm gradually going with permaculture, too, dh. If I could only have ONE wild plant for my "garden," it would be common milkweed.