Questions, Questions, Questions…

Just about every day someone asks me a question about The Pony that pertains to its future, its repair, what if’s, and when’s, and how’s and how much’s and have you thought of’s, and in general, you know, “You idiot, what could possibly be on your mind?”  It’s like in a movie when you see a horribly mismatched couple fall in love and you think, oh boy, this can’t end well.  When I get these questions, I’m pretty sure people are thinking something similar.  This Pony and this guy are going to part, and it ain’t going to be pretty. 

I don’t blame y’all for having these questions and for thinking these thoughts.  The fact that I can’t answer the questions, and that I don’t have a clue as to the “end game” is all part of the fun for me, and I hope for you too.  What’s so great about this for you is that you can watch some other poor guy struggle and worry and wonder where this is all headed.  I don’t know what got me off on this tangent, but maybe it was just wanting you to know that the questions you have, I have ’em too, and for the most part I have no answers; it’s just gonna be one step at a time.

I was down in the laundry room yesterday doing something and thought, ooh I need to get the iPad from upstairs, so that I can listen to music when I start working on the engine.  So I headed for the stairs and for some reason on the way up started singing, “The Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree,” and magically by the time I reached the top of the stairs I had absolutely no idea why I was up there.  I think that song has some strange mind erasing power.  Anyway, I think something similar must have happened to Dr. Fullofit a week or so ago when he forgot to send an important letter (so he thinks) to me from a member of his staff.

I was concerned that once the good doctor got a foot in the door he might become a nuisance, and sure enough he’s back, this time in the guise of a staff member from the LRPCC.  I’m going to print his letter here, but only because I’m hard up for post (make that “compost) material right now.  The usual disclaimers apply.

Last Resort Pony Carburetor Clinic (LRPCC)

October 25, 2010
Greetings and salutations Mr. Boehmke,
My name is Max Twister and I’ve been the P.T. at LRPCC for the past 10 years. Dr. Fullofit asked me to get a memo out to all Pony owners that have had recent heart surgery.
It has come to our attention that several owners have received their Pony’s repaired heart in the mail and just stuck the ventilated Priority Mailing box on a shelf in the Pony garage. Farmers have other chores, the heart gets neglected, deteriorates, and this can lead to death!  Latest case in point: Carl Kratzke of Bemidji Minnesota notified us that his Pony’s heart had died. He picked up shipment at the local post office, placed it in the glove compartment of his ’54 Chevy pickup and drove to his farm.  Carl reached the farm, opened the box and found that the heart was DOA, suffocated in the air tight glove compartment!  Carl admitted he did not open the box at the post office and did not read our P.T. instruction sheet. Carl’s poor old Pony will now have to get a heart transplant from some other Pony who has passed on. This is always stressful for both the Pony and the heart, often times requiring psychiatric counseling and professional training to get them to work together as a team and to eventually be on a first name basis.
 These repaired Pony hearts need to have immediate home care upon arrival.  They need physical exercise, fresh air, and feeding until they can be bolted back on the Pony intake manifold.
Instructions for Physical Therapy and Feeding are always included in the card board box when we ship. We’ve always assumed that the punched out breathing holes in the box would ensure immediate opening by the owner, not so in Mr. Kratzke’s case.  He thought the punched holes were to make the box lighter and reduce shipping costs! Some of these northern folks just don’t have enough warm blood flowing to the little gray cells!
Mr. Boehmke, we are well aware of your ongoing Pony restoration and this will require some real “one on one” with you and Carbie until she’s mounted on the intake manifold and can breath on her own.
Some simple, easy to follow suggestions and guidelines:

  1. Encourage conversation, 10 or 12 times a day. Things she’s done on different farms, types of crops, former owners, drag races with other Ponies, has she kept track of her sisters?
  2. You’re aware; this is a living organ, requiring exercise, food, and air. Daily P.T. is paramount.  We recommend you keep her in your pocket for 4-6 hours a day and that will keep her warm and will closely simulate tractor motion. You may get some admiring glances. Just smile and say “It’s really nothing.”
  3. Daily fresh air is mandatory for maintaining lung capacity. You mentioned you’re a biker. For only $20 we can send you one of our, handlebar mounted, carburetor saddles. Most of the girls prefer the pink leather. For adequate venturi air flow, do about 20, All Out, 5 minute sprints followed by a minimum of two hours at 20 mph.
  4. Often neglected is proper feeding. Here, you really should invest in one of the doctor’s special “Hand Pump Heart Sprayers”. It’s a bit like a garden weed sprayer but made of 304 stainless steel and engraved with your carburetor’s name. You just fill with two gallons of 87 octane gasoline and spray this through Carbie’s venturi every other day. NEVER use E85 ethanol blend! It can turn her into an instant alcoholic and that’s trouble with a capital T when you’re trying to make nice straight furrows down the field.  Dr. Fullofit gets a kick out of selling these just to see a nice spike on his Profit-O-Meter.

 All of us out here at the LLRCC are pulling for Carbie and we wish you very best on your restoration.
Max Twister, P.T.

I’m telling you dear readers, this anthropomorphizing of a carburetor is stopping right here.  When I got that stupid thing (and no denying, the carb is beautiful) I stuck it in a zip lock bag and I don’t care how loud it screams, that’s where it’s staying until the engine requires it.  Now back to business.

One of the reasons it’s been so long since my last post is that I’ve been painting like crazy.  Since getting the engine back from the machine shop, I’ve been wire brushing and sanding, and priming and painting and painting and painting.  I’ve learned that the paint I’ve got (the official Massey Harris color) doesn’t just go on in one coat and your done.  It wasn’t until I had the paint and read the label that I realized I was in for putting three coats of this stuff on everything. 

Although it was a lot of work, in the end it came out looking great.  The following shots include one of the primer job, one of me applying the first coat, and then finally the finished product.

I was in the garage applying the final coat, when neighbor, and faithful reader Art rolled in on his bike.  He looked at the engine and said, “It looks like you’re working on a piece of art.”  And The Princess, God bless her, as she took the pictures said, “Well, if you never get it running, you’ll have a lot of real pretty parts.”  While not necessarily votes of confidence, I’m taking these as compliments and moving on.

Finally, did any of you notice the nice calendar hippo I circled in the first photo.  Man, is any animal uglier than that.  No wonder people shoot them!  A realtor sent me that calendar, and if there was ever a case for something that needed some “staging,” it’s that fella.  And further more, this is just about the lamest calendar a guy could have in a shop where real engine work is being done.  Someone, please, send me a calendar with “tools and women.”  Bill, don’t you have something lying around the truck stop somewhere?

Thanks for your patience and for your continued support of That Idiotic Tractor!


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