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Rites of Spring, Part 1

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I thought winter was past, but the cold of the last several days have made me pause.

I have a lot to do.

My old JD tractor that I resurrect each spring has proved to be more difficult than usual. It has a big tire flat. Since I wanted to use the backhoe attachment to 'jack up' the wheel, I had to start the tractor. The battery was dead. I couldn't believe it was bad. The tractor had started so well all last year, even with only occasional use. No luck with using the battery charger. No luck with using my pickup truck to jump-start. I'd parked the tractor last fall with the front loader bucket cocked so it wouldn't fill with water. That prevented me from opening the hood to access the battery compartment. I finally tied the hydraulic controls open and used a come-along to un-cock the bucket and allow it to drop enough that I could raise the hood and remove the battery. Wally World (the store, not the amusement park) honored their three-year replacement guarantee even though the battery I was replacing was itself a replacement done two years ago when the original battery failed after only one year. That's a good thing, I guess. I'm pretty sure that the air leak in the tire is at the valve stem. Unfortunately, to repair the valve stem, the tire has to be partially removed from the rim. Also unfortunately, the tire has been filled with liquid for added weight. I'll have to drain that before I can haul the tractor to the tire shop.

My 8-10 year-old riding lawn mower started easily, but seemed to lack power. The low power was verified when I tried to mow dead growth from our asparagus bed. I hooked my mower to the garden trailer and hauled a load of dead pine needles to to the row of blueberries. The acidic needles will provide a good dose of nutrients for the blueberries. The needles fell from the Austrian pine that I'm cutting down and hauling off. The tree is the third Austrian pine I've had to remove. They made great live Christmas trees, but if I'd known they only had a 30 year life span, I would have picked another variety or gone with a cut tree. I've cut and hauled four pickup loads of limbs and noe only have the stump to go. I'll not miss this tree. It was ugly and stunted because greedy yellow-bellied sapsuckers had mined many, many holes in the bark and killed the top growth. Right, the mower. I'll be troubleshooting that lack of power this week because I need it to mow the yard. I hope the problem will be as simple as a fuel filter, but with my luck. . . By the way, I can recommend blueberries and asparagus for the garden. Both are perennials and very easy and rewarding to grow. They seem to have only minor insect problems.

Sunroom color:
2011-03-23 009 2011-03-23 007
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