Monday, February 2, 2015

Everyone has "Days" - Today was Mine

Yesterday I posted about a lovely winter snowstorm that was dumping copious amounts of snow on the Hoosier Country Home and most of the rest of Northern Indiana.  This morning we woke to cold and beautifully clear skies and between 12 and 15 inches of snow, depending on where the wind cleared and dumped.

The pre-sunrise view from our dining room picture window

The view from the patio after forcing may way out of the kitchen door.

Look at all that white stuff!

The plan was to do some 'away' job work (the one that pays the bills) until the sun came up, dig out the front door, hop on my little tractor (it lives under a tarp since I don't have an outbuilding that will hold it yet) and clear the parking area, driveway, and the outside edge of the patio.  Alas, it was not to be as I had hoped.

Hear (and see) now the sad tale of Mark's hard day:

It starts with shoveling enough snow to get the door open and everyone outside. This is something I had to do either way, but really - Who likes to shovel snow?

A pile of snow, but I'm not breathing too hard - yet.

But what's this!!??  It seems the battery on the Kubota is dead, dead, dead on this cold morning.  As a lesson learned from last year, the faithful '92 Dodge Dakota sits close to the tractor for a reason.  The jumper cables go on, the go-juice flows, and .......  click.   One risk of jumping the gun and trying to jump start a vehicle before you get the battery charged is the starter doesn't engage properly and locks up.

God Bless the guy who invented jumper cables!
So its off to the barn to get a hammer.  A few taps is usually enough to do the trick.

Off to the barn, blazing the trail as I go - Several times.

Allowing snow to build up under a sliding barn door is inviting trouble.  Got to take some time to clear it.
A few taps of the hammer, a little adjustment of the jumper cables, and the little tractor roars to life!  It seems things are looking up!  After getting the tools put away, the jumpers put away, the truck shut down, and the tractor reassembled I'm off to do what I'd hoped to be doing 45 minutes ago.  You'll notice with each picture the day gets a little brighter.

Sure enough, the little tractor does it thing!  This is the first winter for Ag tires instead of turf tires and I'm happy with the result.

Sure enough, we're moving snow!!

But what's this!??!  You should never, never, ever, ever see this!!
The green yellow fluid running (not dripping) out of the underside of the tractor is hydrostatic transmission fluid.  For those of you who know what that is, I can feel your sympathy.  For those of you who don't, let's just say the hydrostat is the 2nd worse thing than can go wrong with a tractor, right behind the diesel engine.

This is Mark's little tractor, not moving snow.
This is where Mark's tractor is missing a plug, the absence of which is allowing Mark's hydrostat to bleed to death.

So....  There is still a LOT of snow to be moved.  There's a little tractor that's not gonna move it. There's a plug to locate at some not too distance Kubota dealer.  There's a "day job" that's still waiting to be done.

A few phone calls on De's part while I'm trying to locate a plug, and it's local Christian community to the rescue.  The tractor is still drivable for VERY short distances so it gets moved out of the way.  A young man from our church is just getting his snow plowing business going, so for the grand sum of $25 the driveway gets cleared.  I locate a plug for something like $15 that I can pick up in a few days.

The parking area gets cleared.

The driveway gets cleared

And its a beautiful, cold, sunny winter day.  Check out that clear blue sky!
There is, however, still the matter of the patio.  My little tractor can get in there and drag all that snow out.  The truck with the blade on the front, of course, won't fit.  So it's time for Mark to get back on that snow shovel.

Now I AM breathing hard, but at least its done!

And look what's waiting for me inside!!

After drooling over Mama Pea's crisp yesterday, De took pity on a somewhat grumpy old man and made me a apple rhubarb crisp.  It was wonderful!

So at the end of the day I have a clear driveway, a tractor that is (presumably) not toast and can be fixed with an inexpensive part and some not-horribly expensive oil, 5 hours of "day job" work on the books, a warm bowl of apple rhubarb crisp with my lunch, and part of a day spent outside on a perfect February day.  I'd say, all things considered,  I'm still blessed!

Col. 1:9-12,



  1. Good job at putting the positive spin on things! 'Course, your dear wife knowing enough to bake you that goodie helped considerably, I'm sure! (We gals know when to keep our mouths shut and bake!!) You folks sure have a lot of snow. Maybe we should move south . . . ;o)

  2. I was a little jealous of all that snow until I remembered how much I dislike shoveling!

  3. Mama Pea - That crisp did improve the end of my day considerable! Our little NE corner of Indiana is right at the tail end of the "lake effect" snow zone from Lake Michigan. It doesn't happen with every snowstorm, but we can plan on 2 or 3 of these a year, at least.

    Hoosier Girl - I was reminded that shoveling a 4 foot wide, 5 foot path of snow is a good way to get your blood pumping on a cold, clear morning. I was also reminded that shoveling a 4 foot wide, 20 foot path of snow could add an ol' guys name to your list of autopsy reports. Lots of 'breathers' required to get that one done!

  4. Hi Mark--thanks for your visit!
    Sounds like you have a great place. I'll be looking forward to seeing what you do in the upcoming growing season. I guess that means that Mama Pea and I will have to just STEAL your snow, but will leave you alone.
    Your wife knows the way to soothe a bad day---she's a smart lady. Treat her good!
    (cuz Mama Pea and I probably beat up other people for reasons besides them stealing OUR snow!!!)

  5. Sue - We're getting another 3 inchesbof snow or so today and my tractor is still down, so at this point I'd be OK with giving at least a few inches away! I do try to treat my bride of 32 years right so I think I'm safe on that front, too.

    Picking the veggies and all for the garden usual goes pretty quickly. We have our tried and true favorites and that's 80% of the garden. We're just starting to get educated on varieties, pollinators, tree sizes, and everything else that goes into getting a homestead orchard going. Same for blueberries, raspberries, and maybe grapes. I'll be coming through your blog looking for thoughts on cold hardy, productive varieties!

  6. Hi Mark, great blog, pretty little homestead! I actually got a lot out of your bad day. I think our truck's starter is seized up, the battery was dead, and didn't start when we attempted it, so we replaced the battery. I might be day dreaming, but if it is possible to tap the starter with a hammer.... I'm sure gonna try.

    1. Debby - It doesn't always work but sometimes, especially when you have a cold or weak battery, the gear on the starter jams into the gear on the motor (the flywheel) and gets stuck there. Tapping with a hammer is often enough to free it up. Sometimes I've had to loosen, but not remove, the bolts on a starter. Getting it just loose enough to be able to wiggle the starter around a bit will allow it to "un-jam" itself if that is the problem.

    2. We've looked at some videos, the starter doesn't appear to be easily accessible, but I haven't given up yet,