Monday, June 28, 2010


Mowing some trails through the fields. Big-tongue dog really enjoys romping through the forest and fields. (82 degrees yesterday).
Fence is ready for wire from the northwest corner to the barn driveway. From there to the old wood fence is weed city and I'm having trouble getting the old gas weed eater to stay lit. I've removed and cleaned the carburetor as best I could but it acts like the high mixture jet is still faulty.
In addition to the pile of metal on the concrete pad that we built there was some more this side of the pad. I started clearing it from the road end, so far I've hauled 5000 lbs and haven't reached the pad yet. The white piece is the pile of wood; behind it is a small pile of rubber/plastic; the red piece is the old dozer blade from dad's John-Deere tractor.
There were two redwood trees in plastic pots stuck in the ground of the garden. I've transplanted them to the site of Keith's ashes. I'll soak them throughout the summer with 5-gallon buckets with small holes drilled in the bottom.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back to Fencing

The weather is finally warming, so it's back to fencing. Here's the NorthWest corner. Here to the first driveway is ready for wire. This corner is on the property line on the west side, but set back about 4 feet from the property line on the road side to get beyond the county ditch. The property line seems to be right at the brink of the ditch bank.

The mower trailer was a garden hand cart I found in a shed. I cut off the handle bars and the front legs, then bolted on a tongue. This one has bicycle wheels. The one we were using during the clean-out has motorcycle wheels. This one has an open back like the other, but the front of this one is set up like a pickup tailgate to be let down for longer loads.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A few things at Keith's

I spent some time going through the brakes of the backhoe. There are three brake pedals; the main pedal has a master hydralic cylinder which runs two little external cylinders; and then there are the two "steering brakes" at your left heel position (shown here). These are purely mechanical. I've adjusted the brakes to just short of engaging, but even adjusted there is little braking power. I assume the pads are so worn as to be glazed and gone, or they were "dry" brakes which have been oiled by a leaking seal. The pad discs are either side of the differential and are a major operation to replace.
Here's the right side brake cylinder. It's missing its rubber protective boot and has totally rusted out both externally and internally. How it worked at all surprised me, but when I filled the master cylinder with fluid (totally dry), both cylinders actually worked and engaged what little brakes there are.
Rather than burning the scrap wood, I've been cutting it up for firewood. I expect to have a much larger stack when all is done, if anyone is interested in firewood.
These were some gates that Joyce had craigslisted. I think we could've gotten more, but they sold for $60.
Here's a trailer for you! Two pickup beds welded together. A tailgate at both ends for those long loads.
Keith had the John-Deere hay mower and a little tiny electric mower AND Nothing in between! Here is his roto-tiller tractor with the tiller removed and a sickle-bar attachment I found in a hay shed. Unfortunately the more I tried to get it to work the more it fell apart. With both the mower and tiller it might sell to an antique hobbyist for a good price. It's a 1950's Montgomery-Wards "Chor-Trac" garden tractor. They made dozens of implements that attached to them. ( I think the motor is not original though ).
This is my trailer. I got it free from my brother-in-law. The plywood box was all rotted out, so I've rebuilt it using some of Keith's rough-sawn lumber. The headboard and tailgate are some 1-1/8" plywood that I found up in the mill building. The frame of this thing is very heavy and stout. I've started to haul away the scrap metal. So far I've done three loads for a total of 3,100 lbs and $240 dollars.
I turned around and spent $260 dollars on this riding mower. I was looking for a couple of days and only saw junk, then happen to catch this just 20 minutes after the guy posted it on craigslist. It's also from an estate clearing, sold by a auto mechanic who fixed it and got it running for the lady and helped her sell it. This thing is great! Easily a $500 tractor.
It has a V-Twin, Briggs & Stratton, 20 HP engine that runs great, and he had put a new battery in it. I sharpened the blades which looked to have the original factory grinding marks on them (never been sharpened). I've mowed all the area around the house and garden and the driveways. It really makes the place look better to have mowed lawns rather than fields. I'm also going to mow some trails through the fields and woods so that the realtors can show the acreage easily.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bonnie update

Bonnie is less bitchy. Cost me a new starter motor but luckily that was all it was. Tracing out problems in automotive electrical wiring is a place I didn't want to go.

Bonnie the Bitch

Bonnie, Pontiac Bonneville that is. . . , is being a bitch.

She's now twelve years old, and in car years that's 72 and everything is beginning to give out. She recently crapped out on me and after putting in new plugs I limped it down to the mechanic where they replaced the "upper intake plenum (manifold)". On a Bonnie this piece is plastic and is prone to cracking. It's the second time it's been replaced. Both times I've forgotten to ask to see the old part to see this mysterious crack that causes so much problems. Well $600 some dollars later I was driving again but still having several problems.

First there's the bucking and hesitation when accelerating. I haven't figure out what that is yet, but I'm currently leaning toward transmission and a shift switch of some sort hesitating or bouncing on and off.

Second there was the loss of coolant. The replacing of the manifold didn't change that, but yesterday I finally saw a significant puddle under the car and was able to see enough of a leak to determine that the water pump was giving out.

Well to save myself $600 dollars again I tackled the job myself. Napa Auto parts had a new pump for only $42 and after figuring a few things out which the "Chiltons" manual neglect to tell you I successfully replaced the pump and had everything put together. I started the car three times to circulate coolant and refill the radiator, but then things went downhill.

The belt was squeaking and either the tensioner pulley or alternater bearings were making some noise. I happen to have a can of spray "belt dressing" in the trunk from the fan belt episode of a couple years ago, so I sprayed that liberally on the belt as it was running. Ok so I may have over did it, but it shouldn't have hurt anything, though maybe some got sucked into the alternator. Anyway it was still running.

I came back to start it again a short while later and . . . nothing.

Nothing. Everything comes on, a relay under the dash clicks, but no solenoid click, no starter motor. I've charged the battery, rechecked the cables, checked the fuses, tapped on the solenoid, monitored the battery voltage while turning the key, nothing. She sits. She sits there being a bitch.

If the belt dressing ruined the alternator, it would still start, just not charge, or blow a fuse or something. The battery operates the power windows and everything else shows normal. The computer does it's turn on diagnostics and so on.

Unfortunately there's not a simple wire from the key to the starter solenoid on today's cars. There's computers and security crap and God knows what else to getting a car to start now days.

Today is Day Two . . . .