Friday, 20 March 2009

A Little Maintenance

I’ve come to the conclusion that plans are never meant to run smoothly; take today for instance, it was marked as the day to break up the soil in the five-hectare field. To do this I have what I believe the French call a ‘herse a peigne de vibro’ – a vibrating comb harrow.

The problems started yesterday. I decided that as I was unlikely to use the plough for a while, I’d clean it and than put it back in the storage area and hitch up the harrow. Sounds pretty easy and usually it is; however this time I managed to put it somewhere uneven and it twisted as I tried to unhitch it. It twisted so much that I couldn’t re-hitch it; everything I tried just made matters worse.

Thankfully Regis was at his place and he agreed to come round after he’d finished work and help me sort it out. This he did; it’s amazing how more useful it is to be in two places at once. Between me moving the tractor and raising and lowering the linkage and Regis pushing and placing the props for the plough we got it straight and unhitched.

Regis then took the harrow out to check the ground was ready to work, which after the wonderful weather we’ve had for the last few weeks, it was. He then checked over the harrow and pointed out that a lot of the tines were worn and needed replacing. All my farming equipment is second (at least) hand.

I thought I would have to replace the whole of the spring tine totally forgetting that farming can be quite green in many ways. Replace, reuse, repair, they are the bye words in farming, at least with older equipment. Each of the tines is fitted with a shoe that can be replaced when worn and even better, these shoes are reversible.

So instead of being out on the field today I’m reversing or changing shoes. I thought that it wouldn’t take too long but…

I do think I was a bit naive setting about this with only a spanner. After an hour and quite a few bruises I gave up and set off for the local farm suppliers where I finally bought
that decent socket set I’ve been promising myself and while I was there, a decent pipe wrench too. Oh what a difference, a little leverage goes a long way.

P.S. I’m covered in grease, I ache, I’m bruised and cut and over 100€ poorer after buying tools and parts, but all 30 shoes have either been reversed or replaced and I feel really chuffed with myself. Time for a sog in front of the TV :-)


Olive said...

You are an amazing woman !!

aims said...

I can't believe you were trying to do all this without the proper tools.

All I got done today was sand down my baseboards to ready them for painting. That was quite a bit considering it took me most of the day to cut them in the first place. All that and with the flu too. Makes working so much harder. The sweating and the nose dripping is what bothers me the most.

And the snow outside too - I almost forgot that. I like to paint my baseboards outside on the workhorses - but snow makes it an inside job.

Mickle in NZ said...

After all that hard work I think you deserved a soak in a nicely scented bath followed by a snuggle with the cats.

Beautiful shot of the blossom, huggles and purrs, xxx

dND said...

Hi Olive, it's a case of needs must and it was actually quite therapeutic too

Aims, I do hope the flu goes soon - same with me, it's the dripping nose I hate. I'm not sure what baseboards are btw? And snow! that seems such a distant memory here, we hit the mid 20's C (mid 70's F) yesterday

Mickle, sadly no bath here and in fact no hot water yet again so just a stand up wash with water from the kettle. One day I'll have hot water on tap all year round but being France I've no idea when!

Mickle in NZ said...

I don't have a bath, just a wee shower box and low water pressure. 2 years ago my Folks had the bath removed from their bathroom and a new, bigger shower put in - is bliss to use when I'm up there.

definately Autumn here now, all okay - is my favourite season.

I have minor sniffles - body doing the "build up immunity" after my flu vaccination on Monday. Hope your weekend goes well, huggles to you and the cats, Mickle xxx

Robin Follette said...

You're absolutely amazing!

softinthehead said...

WOW that blossom looks amazing, especially to Aims I'm sure with snow still on the ground. I know how that feels. Keep up the good work.

Living the Dream said...

How on earth do you manage to do all you do? It makes me feel really lazy. Well done and hats off to you.

The Squirrel Family said...

Hi Deborah

I second what olive said .....amazing i am quite handy with a drill , and a spade and can reverse a 24 foot caravan but engines and stuff is beyond me......

flat pack instructions however i do get .i must have a weird brain!!

Shame about the water though but thank god for regis

Alan said...

Every time I am ready to expand my little farm, buying a tractor and all the other bits to do it, you post something brilliant like this that reminds me how much work these labor saving devises really are. Good on ya for doing the maintenance. Hope you had a good rest and the weather holds for you to get your field prep work done. We are cold and rainy today (my scheduled garden prep day). Looks like I'll be a week behind before I even start.

Frances said...

Wow I am just amazed at how you can do all this by yourself - such determination and energy it really is inspiring!!

Unknown said...

This is great. I like seeing blogs that focus on the personal lives of farmers and people who feed the world. I think that needs to be a major issue these days and I wanted to post a story of a family who's doing much of what you are doing:

Barbara Martin said...

Deborah, you remind me of my time on my quarter (160 acres) in Alberta, except all I had were horses with no tilling. I had a nice neighbour who allowed me to pay him $25 for an old hand pump for a well. It was wonderful because it never broke down, worked like a charm and only needed priming during frigid weather if allowed to freeze. Then boiling water from the kettle down the side of the pipe made everything right again, thus prompting diligence in pumping twice per day to not have it freeze up again. I did everything myself and it was so satisfying knowing that you could.

With everything you do, Deborah, I'm right there with you reliving it. I'm even thinking when I semi-retire of gettting ten acres or so and doing the horses and a garden again. I have a friend who likes draught horses and driving, so maybe we can use them to till the garden.