Sunday, December 12, 2010

Driving Miss Aimee

We spent yesterday in the truck, more or less. But I still managed to put my back and knees out again.

Let me explain.

There's a big road trip that happens each fall to get our ram back to his home farm. For several years now we've used a ram from a small farm like ours over in the western mountains of Maine. It's a two-hour drive there, two hours back.

But the occupant of our Bale House needed a new generator. We took the old, rather expensive one away several years ago after the former occupants tried their best to destroy it. I repaired it and got it running, and bought a cheaper more throw-away one for the Bale House. But that was stolen. So we weren't going to buy another. Whoever was using the Bale House would have to either buy their own or do without.

After struggling for several months to do without, the current occupant decided she wanted a genny, and I agreed to go pick one out and get it for her if she would pay. So before we could drive to the mountains with the ram, we needed to drive to Sam's Club in Bangor, Maine to get the genny. And we needed to do that anyway since I needed studded snow tires for the Ford and I like to get those from Sam's Club, where we have a business account.

I didn't want to buy a full set of four because the Ford has 135,000 miles on it. Who knows how long it will last? I still have some studded snow tires in the basement left over from the Mazda. You can get around pretty well with snow tires on your drive wheels. You don't need them on the other two wheels. But to do this, you have to bring in the wheels. If you bring in the car you have to get four, which would have been another $180.

So Friday evening I pulled the Ford into the garage, jacked it up with the floor jack, pulled the front wheels, put jack stands under the car, and threw the two wheels in the back of the truck.

Saturday morning we rose early and fed animals and climbed in the trucks and drove to Bangor. We dropped off the wheels at the tire shop, picked up the genny and a few other things, then went to the supermarket to drop Aimee off to get some groceries. Then I drove over to Home Despot to get a gas can for genny gas, some small engine oil, and a new light/fan unit for our own bathroom.

I then wanted coffee, so stopped by Starbucks. Finally, with about fifteen minutes to go before picking Aimee back up at the supermarket, I went to gas-up the truck and fill the new gas can for the new generator. As I switched from the truck to the gas can I absent-mindedly laid the gas cap on the ground. I forgot to replace the gas cap on the truck, and ran over it while driving away. So then we had to go the VIP auto parts to get a new gas cap for the truck. Which didn't fit to begin and thus required an ad-hoc alteration to the gas cap surround, which itself is ad-hoc since I rebuilt the truck bed. This crude alteration was achieved with an iron bar I happened to have left over from some random wind research job, while Aimee looked on in mild amusement.

So then we picked up the wheels and the two take-off tires, and drove home. Aimee unloaded the groceries while I fitted the Ford wheels back on, and then moved the car out of the garage to make way for the new genny.

My next job was to get the sheep crate put on the back of the truck. The sheep crate was covered in, and laying in, a snow drift. OK. Right. I pulled it out of the drift with the tractor. But not before I put my back out trying to lift the stupid thing.

(Regular readers will remember last weekend's whiplash incident.)

Then we he had to load the ram. He weighs about two hundred pounds and was not willing to help very much, but he didn't fight very much either. I probably overdid the ropes securing his crate to the truck, but you can never be too careful transporting livestock. Lifting a two-hundred pound struggling ram into a crate on the back of a truck didn't do much for my back, either.

Then we motored over to the Farmington, Maine region, Aimee listening to her favorite Saturday radio shows, me driving. It wasn't an unpleasant outing, and we dropped the ram off on time with little fuss. We did however, forget the meat. We "pay" for the services of this ram with a few pounds of lamb and pork from our stash in the freezer, which is substantial at this time of year and so the terms of this trade are good for us, but also good for the other farmers who prefer to sell live animals than slaughter them, and don't keep pigs at all. We made an arrangement o transfer the meat at a later date, convenient to both families, and went on our merry way, stopping for hot cocoa and donuts in Farmington.

We then drove back, getting home at around 4pm having spent all day from 7am to 4pm, more or less, in the truck. Aimee is not always the most patient person for big messy days like this, but she kept her cool, and we got the whole job done without incident: snow tires, genny, groceries, and ram-removal. I did, however, slip on the snow in the driveway carrying the firewood in for the wood-stove once we made it home.

It's not always that such a huge to-do list of big ticket jobs gets done without incident around here, and things could have been a heck of a lot worse. The ram might have escaped his crate in downtown Farmington, for instance. Giving father-in-law Dick another topic for his satirical wood carvings, no doubt. A study in black walnut of Mick chasing Nattick through the campus of the University of Maine at Farmington?

The possibilities are endless.

I do now have a sore back, and a sore knee. But I was pleased it all went off rather well.

Today we have a big mid-western storm barreling in, snow first, then rain, and lots of it. With a foot of snow on the ground it's going to flood around here, and then be difficult getting around. The tenant wants the genny pretty badly, but she'll have to come get it herself! I need to spend the morning doing farm chores I didn't get done yesterday, and I need to get them done before the storm hits, and then there's a Steeler's game that starts at 1pm, just as the storm begins.

I guess this generator is not going to get delivered today.

A man has to draw the line somewhere!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Welcome to our Farm Blog.
The purpose of this blog is for Aimee and I to communicate with friends and family, with those of our students, and other folks in general who are interested in homesteading and farming activities.

The earliest posts, at the very end of the blog, tell the story of the Great Farm, our purchase of a fragment of that farm, the renovation of the homestead and its populating with people and animals. Go all the way to the last post in the archive and read backwards from there to get it in chronological order.

After getting tired of spam comments (up to a dozen or more per day), I required commentators to be Google "registered users". You can write me at if you have a serious comment or question and are not a registered user.

Spammers -- don't bother writing -- there's no way I will post your spam to my blog. Just go away.