Monday, September 13, 2010

Vehicle on the Ranch

I never really realized that the vehicles we have on the ranch are really required. I knew we needed them to knock down manure with the harrow or run the spreader, and I know the tractor has gotten us unstuck, cleared snow, and cut grass, but I didn't realize how important these things were until they were gone. My wife let me know multiple times that we needed them fixed for chores.

On consecutive weeks, the ATV and the riding mower died on us. The ATV went to the shop, since I wasn't sure what was wrong there. I've never worked with a belt, and when the belt light comes on, I take it in.

The mower was another story. Over the years I've fixed a variety of things on this mower and since it was running fine and then died, I figured I could fix this. First I checked fuel, and a steady stream out of the fuel filter onto my boot convinced me this wasn't the issue. Next was the spark plug, and when I held it in my hand and didn't see a spark while cranking, I decided to get a new one.

I did, and I held it up after plugging on the wife to check for a spark while I cranked it. I didn't see a spark, but I felt one. Just a hint, hold the rubber boot of the spark plug wire, not the metal of the spark plug itself when you check it. I think I grounded things out. Fortunately it didn't break when I dropped it as the cord held it off the floor, swinging back and forth.

It seemed to be working, so I screwed it in, and sure enough it was cranked up and back to chore duty that day.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Know Your Horses

A text to my wife: Gemini is in the middle of the track, so I opened the gate for him.

Back from her: Hmmm, OK

She was confused, and should have been since she was away at a horse clinic for a couple days, and she had Gemini with her. He's the black horse we have, and the only black horse. Or so I thought.

My wife had agreed to be a middlewoman between someone selling a horse, and someone looking to get a horse for a friend. When the lady number two saw the horse, she felt it was "too much horse" for her friend. So Starlet, the horse for sale, stayed at our place. I had assumed that Starlet would be heading back to the original owner any day.

Apparently I forgot what an assumption really means.

Starlet was in our pasture for a few weeks when I mistook her for Gemini. I know one's a boy and one's a girl, but I didn't check that closely. I was heading out one day, saw a black horse in the middle of the pasture with no water, and opened the gate.

I wasn't thrilled with us going from three to four horses, but my wife pointed out that we'd been dealing with it, and the chores, for a few weeks and I hadn't noticed. At that point I didn't have much of an argument left.

It pays to be able to tell your horses apart.