I promised to deliver some sand to one of H’s horse enclosures today. I promised it would be this afternoon, but as the morning progressed it was clear the temperature would get no better and the wind would get considerably worse. So I phoned and moved the appointment up.
Driving Gulchendiggensmoothen in winter is just plain no fun. It has no enclosed cabin, nor any windshield. Also that 3-cylinder Ford diesel was made sometime in the mid-seventies, and warm ambient temperatures are a definite aid to starting. Still, I will pat myself on the back and say the repairs I did a month or two ago do seem to have corrected that pesky battery charging problem. So I had to crank for a while to get it going, but the necessary cranking amps were present. Checked the fluids, got it running, and left it to warm up while I took the boys to Gitmo.
Did you know large moving parts of a tractor can freeze solid? Neither did I. It never happened before. But when I slipped it into gear and tried to slowly move forward, nothing whatsoever happened except the engine bogged down and nearly stalled. I gave it more fuel and tried again: This time it acted like somebody snuck up behind Trigger and goosed him with a knitting needle. With that big heavy backhoe and no load in the bucket, Gulchendiggensmoothen does a wonderful and very disconcerting wheelie. Once it got that out of its system, everything worked fine.
Now that it’s no longer part of my normal job description, I’ve finally worked out the procedure for reliably getting a full load of dirt in the bucket. It’s embarrassing how long that took to learn. H was gonna need three loads to fill in the swampy bits of Felice’s enclosure: I grabbed the first one at M’s loop of the wash, then scarfed the next two at the wash crossing nearest J&H’s. If I could really get paid $10/scoop for it, which is what I charge J&H, I’d cheerfully do this back-and-forth thing all day long in summer. But this is winter, and I could feel myself slowly freezing solid. That seat needs a new cushion, because bare metal is not a selling point in February.
Still, that’s out of the way. The boys are back and happy, and I’m just sitting here listening to the wind whistle around the Lair.