Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Two Months On: What's Up On Honeyhill?

Wow! It's been two months. I mean, they've been BUSY months, but it's time to update!

Well, our garden isn't likely to happen THIS year. Debbie has been having some health problems, and hasn't been able to work outside the way she wants to. That's OK, because we don't even have a working LAWNMOWER.

That's right, what we're growing in the garden is a BUMPER crop of grass.

We inherited the lawnmower with Honeyhill. It was sitting in the barn, a Kubota W5019 5.0HP OHV. My research on the web says, "This is one of the best lawnmowers EVER! If I ever find another one, I'll buy it!"

Too bad it doesn't work.

Our first efforts involved adding fuel, opening the fuelcock, choking, and pulling the starter cord. After 3 or 4 (or 6 or 7...) pulls, gasoline began pouring out of the carburetor. Closing the fuelcock seemed like a good idea, as did replacing all the seals in the carb. Now it doesn't leak, but it doesn't RUN, either.

We also went looking for a replacement spark plug, on the theory that the old one might be fouled. What, all that black crud? Fouled? Who would think that? But we haven't found one, and so we sanded the old plug clean, on the theory that would help.

It didn't. It still doesn't run.

In the meantime, we have a Ryobi weedwhacker that starts, but CHUGS to a halt when you push the throttle. And we have a scythe, which works nicely, but is giving me golfer's elbow.

On the plus side, one of our locals, Mr. Frank D., is going to be cutting our fields for hay. This is an advantage to us, because even though we don't have a garden, the land is being used for agricultural products, and we get to keep our agricultural property tax rate. But he only cuts twice a year, and DOESN'T do the lawn...

And so we're looking for our own tractor so we can PLOW our own snow, PLOW our own fields, MOW our own grass. Our neighbor Tom said, "You're going to need one of these. Get a front-end loader, 30HP, diesel, and 4WD." Everyone we've talked to has said, "Yup. That oughta do ya."

The only one we've found was a Yanmar 336D with a leaking front axle. But my research on the web says, "This is one of the best tractors EVER! If I ever find another one, I'll buy it!" I'm just not sure I'm ready to take on a 4WD axle rebuild...

The tractor will be nice when we plow our BIG garden (NEXT year, I'm sure...). But we need a tiller for the kitchen garden, and they're all smaller than I want, or more expensive than I want. I may need to adjust my priorities.

One thing we have to be careful about is mowing around the beehives.

Well, not yet. The bees arrive TOMORROW, after being delayed WEEKS. But mowing around hives can be a ticklish business. You don't want to make the bees nervous.

The bees? What about ME?

Meanwhile, our other livestock is growing nicely. Debbie has 8 chickens in a dog crate in her sewing room, and they're well past the "cute and fluffy" phase and into the "miniature velociraptor" stage. What we're NOT sure of is:

Are they all HENS?

I mean, we're pretty sure MOST of them are. But one or two are giving us cause to doubt. But they're not at the "chicken coop" size yet, which is good. Because I HAVE TO FIX UP THE COOP.

It has to be weatherproof, cat-proof, fox-proof, and hawk-proof, or I'll be the one sleeping in the coop! Meanwhile, the birds will stay inside and lay eggs.

I'm kidding, of course. The smell (mostly concentrated in the sewing room, thank God!) is enough to knock you over.

City folk think chickens are stupid. Well, I'm getting over that idea! One thing is certain, they know HUMAN==FOOD.

Nonononono, NO! They do NOT eat people!

But at first, when we walked into the room, they huddled in the farthest corner of the cage, which made it easy to change their food and water. Now, they come to the door and try to get out. I'm sure it's only a matter of time until one of them decides to try to turn carnivorous...