For those of you who waited so patiently through the author’s vacation, you are now to be rewarded with actual tractor news. Yesterday Gene and I met at the woods with our purpose being to clear a way back to the tractor. At the road there is a rusted, metal gate, which was chained and locked by two locks, one all rusty and likely belonging to a previous owner of the land and the other locked directly to it with the initials of our local utility on it. The day before, I had hack-sawed the chain and linked yet a third lock to the others, so that Gene and I and eventually the tow truck could get through. So, after we got through the gaggle of Pony fans waving their “Free the Pony” signs, we were able to walk right in and get to work. Actually there were no fans, but there was a dog there that left a “present” right by the gate, which as is always the case, pulled my shoe directly into it like a tractor (hey cool, tractor!) beam.
I used to watch the TV show This Old House a lot and heard the phrase “sweat equity” so often that eventually I was sick of hearing it. But I’m going to roll it out again here, because our work to clear the old logging road that led back to the tractor truly fit the expression in a most literal fashion. It was 97 degrees yesterday and I mean it was so humid you could see the moisture in the hazy air and there wasn’t even a whisper of breeze. I love being in the woods, and noticed after we’d been in there for a while that the birds got used to our presence and began to sing. Most notable were two Carolina wrens that set up a loud back and forth on either side of us; ounce for ounce they are one of loudest birds we’ve got here in the Piedmont. The picture you see here is of Gene MSW (my secret weapon) cutting one of the fairly substantial fallen logs blocking the road. I cut a lot of smaller growth and pulled the cut vegetation to the side, while Gene did the real heavy cutting. In this manner we kept working our way further into the woods with our goal gradually coming into sight. At one point though, I asked Gene if I could try out the chain saw so that he could take a shot of me looking like I actually was doing some of the work. With his approval, I took the saw, leaned over and immediately killed the engine. On my second try (see inserted photo) I cut some fairly minor underbrush and in the process broke the chain saw. For those of you who know me through biking, note the item hanging out of my back pocket, which has a name, but which will go unmentioned here. We spent the next half hour, I’m sorry, Gene spent the next half hour, fixing the chain saw. After that, Gene did all the chain saw work and I was his lackey. By the time we were done the sweat “equity” was palpable, and we had each finished two bottles of water. I would continue to drink water, Coke, etc. like crazy until I wet (excuse me, went) to bed last night.
The reward for our work was the cleared road shown in the final photo below. The Pony looks so much a part of the forest in this shot that I told Gene I almost felt like we should leave her there. At the same time, doesn’t she look like she’s ready to head on down the road all by herself. With that concern on my mind, I was careful to lock the gate on the way out of the woods.
There will be more exciting tractor news tomorrow I’m sure, so stay tuned.