"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Monday, April 18, 2011

Firewood Day 3

 I had big plans and high hopes for today.  I was going to split all the wood I'd cut yesterday, plus cut a bunch more.

Things Mechanical had other ideas.  Things Mechanical decided to remind me of a Life Truth.

When Things Mechanical didn't work, I spent a lot of time cooling off by watching two mountain goats.  See 'em?

See the goats?  They're right there--the three white spots like Orion's Belt?  I think that's Orion's Belt, that is.  One is snow; two are goats.

I started my day's work sawing logs (really, not metaphorically).  Then I decided I was tired of sawing logs and instead would split yesterday's bounty.

First, I had to air up the tires on the wood splitter to make it easier to move around.  Then, because I really hate rolling up the air hose, I aired every tire in the vicinity--lawn tractor, cart, wheelbarrow, etc.  That's when Things Mechanical began their lesson.

I'd already used up my supply of Things Mechanical Magic a couple days before when my four-wheel ATV wouldn't start for the first time this season.  After several tries, and fearful of flooding it, I removed the spark plug and cleaned it up with a piece of emery cloth:  VROOMMM!!!

Okay, I'll zoom in for you, but they'll be out of focus.  See?  One is standing, one is still lying down.  You think the bottom one's snow?

A tire on the cart that I'm going to use to move all this wood into the woodshed was near flat and wouldn't take air.  A simple little chore like that, must have taken 20 minutes to air up that tire.

Look, I'll prove it to you.  They're both standing.  The bottom one has moved over to the left.  Snow doesn't move.  When snow moves, it's called an avalanche.  Goats don't avalanche, except when they're caught in one.

I split wood for a while.  I will admit to taking many breaks to watch the goats.  And drink Coke Zero.  And anything else I could think of to get out of working.

This is what I got done today, in spite of Things Mechanical.

After one break, the wood splitter wouldn't start, no matter how many times I yanked on that !#*&# cord.  I will admit I haven't much strength when it comes to yanking on cords that start engines that are acting all mechanical and such.

I had to dig a drainage furrow around my work site.  Ground's still frozen and not taking water.

I'd yank a while, sulk a while, yank a while, pout some more.

Then I changed the spark plug and it started on the first pull.  I swear it was laughing at me.

This is something I'd forgotten about.  It's on a vacant lot I own nearby.

After I quit playing with wood for the day, I still had to pump the septic system.

I couldn't get any suction out of that darned pump.  That might have something to do with the fact that I lost the flat gasket that seals the suction line to the pump and I'm substituting an O ring.  I messed with that for a half hour or so and gave up, so my house is under strict orders to limit the amount of fluids going down the drains tonight. 

Well, lookee there.  Split spruce and birch from last fall.

Years ago when my husband was alive and I threw a hissy fit about a Thing Mechanical not working, he would say, "It's just mechanical."   Then he'd remove the offending Thing Mechanical from my vicinity, work his considerable mechanical magic on the dad-ratted thing by waving his hands over it and maybe chanting under his breath, and have it purring like a kitten in his hands.

He would pet and cuddle and whisper sweet nothings to the Thing Mechanical while I stood nearby and glared at it.  Then with obvious reluctance, he would place the offensive offending Thing Mechanical back in my vicinity where it would continue to purr until he was out of sight.

A lot of this is still green, so it will go in the back of the woodshed.

Oh, I hated those words:  "It's just mechanical..."  "Exactly," I would respond.

He and I lived in two different worlds.  He in a place where Things Mechanical succumbed to his charms; me in a place where I succumbed to his charms, but where Things Mechanical obviously were jealous of that and thus worked at counter purposes to the domestic peace and tranquility.

As far as I'm concerned, Things Mechanical have two jobs in their miserable lives:  Work and Not Work.

Which is exactly what I told the supervisor of a building where I was trapped in an elevator for an hour and twenty minutes on a Christmas Eve, after he told me I was "perfectly safe."

"I'm in a machine that has just failed," I said.  "That's what machines do.  They fail."

And elevators don't use spark plugs.


  1. Wonderful post! I thought for a moment you were talking about my husband, me and all things mechanical at our house :)

  2. I see 'em. I see the goats. I enlarged the first photo twice and there they were. Of course, I saw the one on its feet first and then I just trusted you to believe the white spot nearby was the second.

    I commend you on your "wood working." Ever think of doing wood carvings with a big chuck of log and your chain saw? Or would that be asking too much of Things Mechanical.

  3. There's too much good stuff to catch up on and I'll be darned if I'm going to give it short shrift. See you in the morning over a mug of hot coffee.

  4. I think it was Steinbeck, in "Travels with Charlie," who disparaged Florida because it had "climate" rather than "weather." (He apparently wasn't here during a hurricane.) Nonetheless, reading Things Mechanical and thinking about your chores vs. my chores, I feel like a lazy slug. It's a good feeling.