(post by Jason) Today I spent the time between morning and evening chores working through an accumulated and long list of non-critical but necessary farm repairs. The idea behind bunching my repair chores up is that if all goes well, and if foresight and planning work as they should, one trip to town will yield enough parts to get through most or all of the list. First on the list were hydraulic hose repairs. If it sometimes seems I spend half my life fooling with broken or flat tires it seems like I spend the other half fooling with leaky hydraulic lines. I had several hoses and connectors that needed replacing on tractors and other implements and I wanted to get a couple spare hoses with generic connectors so I could keep working instead of getting shut down for a half a day or more when my next hydraulic line failure occurs. Oddly, the best place to get hoses is Church's NAPA Auto Parts. Since it was on the list anyway for various belts and hoses here was a chance to kill two birds with one stone.
After doing a supplies inventory it became clear that I had most of what I needed here on the farm to complete the other repairs on my list. But before I left I pulled a seriously rotted tire off our ancient manure spreader and for once I was smart enough to call the Co-op ahead of time to see if they had the replacement tire I needed in stock. Given the age of the manure spreader and the odd size of the tire in question I was fully expecting to have to order a tire but unbelievably they had it in stock. Of course odd sized implement tires aren't cheap, and I quickly realized the price of a new tire was over half the price I paid for the manure spreader in the first place which is ridiculous. Nevertheless a manure spreader without a tire is absolutely useless so I sucked it up and threw the tire in the back of the truck with the hydraulic hoses and took off for town.
When I got back to the farm I worked my way through a series of fix it tasks, purposely leaving any task that required handling rubber or fluids for last. Some people seem to be able to complete the dirtiest tasks while somehow miraculously remaining clean. I learned a very long time ago that I am not one of those people. If I get within fifteen feet of a tire or rubber hose/gasket combination my clothes, arms, face and hair immediately turn black with rubber detritus. Same thing goes for fluids. Anything involving grease or changing hydraulic fluid, motor oil or (worst of all) diesel fuel will have me so covered in the fluid in question it will appear that I took a bath in it. The plus is that my grease covered jeans and filthy shirt and body parts suggest to people not in the know that I have really been working overtime to get through massively difficult fix it jobs. In reality I probably changed the oil and tightened a belt and a few hoses in one of the tractors.
When I was younger I spent a lot of time in my granddads farm shop so I really don't mind the smell of machine oil, heavy hydraulic fluids and grease. That's a good thing because I'd say that's what my hands and clothes smell like at least fifty percent of the time. The eau de cologne that I don't care for is diesel fuel. I've yet to figure out how I can spill three drops of diesel on my hands or shirt or boots and even after I've had a long soapy shower and my clothes have had a long, soapy wash they and I both still smell like diesel fuel. My last task of the day was to transfer five gallons of diesel out of a can with no top to a new can. In the process of transferring the fuel I managed to pour at least a half gallon of diesel down my left pant leg and into my left work boot. I figure the smell ought to be tolerable in a week. Melissa is betting on two weeks. Oh the joys of farming!
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