Monday, October 25, 2010

Cows and Bushhogs

You know how you plan your week. Maybe you think about it over the weekend, set goals, promise yourself that you'll have this or that done FOR SURE, come Friday.

Last Monday started off great. Did some work on the new short story series, was closing the file when I heard a truck in the driveway.

My father, 78 years young, was outside, leaning on the horn. He had some plans for getting the main pasture ready for some cows. What cows? The cows he was going to buy that afternoon.

Which meant he wanted to bushhog the pasture. He got his favorite tractor out and I did an oil change and basic maintenance while he went to the livestock auction and bought some cattle.

When he came back he started making the rounds. After I did a few things, I caught up with him to find him driving around the pasture, knocking the overgrown field down, but not cutting anything. He had burnt the clutch out of the bushhog.

About this time, the cattleman showed up and delivered the cows. They disappeared into the field and I went back to the shop.

We put the bushhog in the shop, it turned out that it was in serious shape. My father tends to drive like he's racing at Le Mans, so I was looking at a fried bearing and a nice, deeply blue driveshaft. Overheating them will do that, if they don't seize up and shred something.

The rest of the week was spent chasing parts and cows. I got to work on a couple of my projects, but it meant for some long hours. Maybe I'll get to finish welding up those tool boxes this week.

At this time, we're waiting for bushhog parts and two of the cows are staying with the neighbor's herd. I guess they got lonely and left.

You got to love farm life. It's never what you expect.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

One Bite at a Time

I'm trying to get some projects done before winter. This keeps me from doing as much writing as I would like but I usually get in an hour per day on my stories . The spider bite didn't do too much damage to my leg. It just takes time out of the day to treat it. Healing nicely, thank you.

Took on a project this week that I've been putting off all summer. Promised my neighbor that I'd weld up her 25 year old ATV's gas tank. Rust over the years has ate away at the gas tank.It had some small pinholes, but they can empty a tank overnight and you don't want gasoline all over your garage floor. It's a bit of a health and safety situation.

Oxygen-acetylene welding, for those of you who have never stuck an 1700 degree welding torch into a metal tank previously full of a highly flammable liquid, can be slightly nerve wracking. I took the proper steps, emptied the gas tank, filled it full of water, then went one step further, I put it in a cut-off 55 gallon drum full of water. Figured if it exploded it would contain the shrapnel. Don't want to mess up the shop with shredded Tom parts.

The small pinholes turned out to be major potholes. The more I welded it the worse it got. Now the tank has a huge brazed patch on the side, all in an attempt to control the splitting and cracking of the ATV tank. Old, rusty car parts will do this, gas tanks are the worst. You can get away with some pinholes in a weld on a fender, not on a gas tank.

I'm considering cutting the side out of the tank and making a new piece to repair it. What should have been a two hour job has turned into a nightmare. Which is a real bite out of my work week.

At least it hasn't blown up in my face.