Saturday, June 22, 2013

Stupid Summer Solstice

The summer solstice occurs when the "tilt" of the earth is the farthest away from the sun.

I am solar powered.  I love the sun, and daylight.  I dearly want to go to bed when the sun sets, and arise when the sun does.  It is 4:20 AM as I'm writing this.  The sun is not up, but it is threatening to.  I can hear an owl hooting closeby.  There is dead silence on the mountain otherwise, except for the whir of my laptop's cooling fan.

Yesterday was a productive day.  First, I cleaned the house in preparation of Pam's arrival home.  Then I ran errands off the mountain, returning returnables and hieing myself to Tractor Supply for dog food, a top link for the tractor's three point hitch, and to look at the back blade I called about the day before.

At the checkout, I asked to see the back blade.

"Who did you talk do?" said the somewhat annoyed Tractor Supply Clerk, hereafter referred to as ATSC.

"I don't know.  Does it matter?  I'd like to see it."

Slight eye roll.  ATSC picked up the telephone and dialed a number.  No response.  Bigger eye roll.  ATSC pushed an intercom button, announced a couple of names and asked them to call her.  No response.  Deep heavy sigh.

"You don't know who you talked to?" asked ATSC.

"Look, I have a dog (Olivia) in the car.  It's no big deal.  I'll come back later."

And with that, I was checked out and gone.

Back on the mountain, I put the dogs in the car and drove over to Earl's.  They were happy to be out of the rental unabomber cabin and bounded about.  Earl came outside and announced that he had an idea.

"You don't need a back blade and that shit.  I have something I used here." he said, gesturing to his land.  

We walked over to some bushes and there, deep inside, was the vee shaped front end of a mobile home frame.  I fetched Bessie and dragged it out.  We tied a board on top and then tied five cinder block to the board for weight.  I hauled the contraption down the road to where the land was graded and proceeded to drag it about.  This process is called smoothing.  Basically, you pull a blade of some type about which cuts off the high spots and fills in the low.  It worked good.  Real good.  That is, until I sunk Bessie into muddy clay up to her axles.

The land looked fine, but this soil was a darker brown than the surrounding soil.  We've had a lot of rain lately, and this soil has a large clay component to it.  In places where the heavy logging equipment made big ruts, water accumulated into small ponds. The dozer just drove right through it.  I guess the dark brown soil would have set off a red flag to a farmer, but not to me.  I drove right into it.  Earl was watching the proceedings with amusement.  He came over and proceeded to come assess the situation.  

Puffing on his pipe, I'm sure he was thinking "I don't need this shit."

Long story short, it took the backhoe raising the front end of Bessie out of the mire and pulling to extract her.  I'll leave out all the shoveling and failed pulling by Earl's tractor in the name of expediency.

After being freed, I then dragged the trailer frame smoother about for the next four hours, avoiding the mucky dirt of death.  Let me tell you, driving an old tractor is tiring.  I know, you're thinking "You're just riding around.  How hard can that be?"

Well, let me tell you.  The sun was intense and it was hot, made hotter by Bessie.  You have to keep in mind that a tractor is nothing more than an engine and transmission on wheels.  All the heat just wafts around the driver.  To boot, here is no power steering, and turning 4,000 pounds of tractor in loose dirt ain't easy.  Plus, there was the constant getting off the tractor to tie the cinder blocks back on.  Add to that the constant watch for Chevy the Dog who felt he must follow alongside Bessie for most of the day, and often in front of the tractor, and sometimes stopping to nip at flies on his butt.

But the end of the afternoon came.  I went home for a couple of PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbons for my young readers) victory beers and a hot shower.  Pam came home, the dogs went nuts (Yay!  Momma is home!  We're not gonna die!), we went to Vrooman's for wings and beer, and life is once again is   good.

It is now 4:50 AM.  It is light enough to see clearly outside.  Clearly, my circadian rhythm is messed up due to our move from down south to back north.  Stupid summer solstice.

1 comment:

  1. Yep Dave... As you mentioned in Drift Away blog awhile back--
    Bleecker Mountain blog is gonna be a hoot!!

    I live in gods country but you live in his/Hers Backyard!!