Monthly Archives: February 2013

Don’t Worry, The Pony Will Run

I’ve learned a lot while restoring the Pony, and of course, the job isn’t even done yet.  One thing I’ve learned is that you can do a lot if no one comes along and says, “You can’t do that.”  Or, if someone does say that, just don’t listen, and go ahead anyway.  If you’re lucky enough to get through the “can’t” stage, you can get through all kinds of disappointments, problems, and mistakes as long as someone else is around to say, “You can do that.”  When things seem bad and I can’t figure something out, Gene will always say, “Look at all you’ve learned so far.  You’ll figure this out too.”  And the Idiotic Brother, he must have said a hundred times, “Don’t worry, the Pony will run.”  Although, when he says that, sometimes I think he was indicating more faith in the reliability and indomitable strength of the combustion engine, than in my ability.

I was at one of those “can’t-figure-it-out” points last week.  While following this blog, have you ever asked yourself, “Gee, I wonder if I could restore an old tractor?”  Something occurred this past week that to me proved that anyone, I mean ANYONE, can do it.  Remember the beautiful job I did of restoring the front end steering and wheels?  Here are some “before and after” photos and a “way after” video.

front end beforefront end

Study the still images carefully.  What puzzled me ever since I put the Pony’s steering back together was why were the tie rods bumping into the tires when they hadn’t been doing that prior to restoration?  Careful study of the two still images, should give you the answer even though it didn’t help me.  Of course, when was the last time I studied anything, CAREFULLY?  If you think you’ve figured it out, now view the brief video below which shows the front end after I fixed the problem.

Click on the following brief video for the “way after” Video

Ok, how many of you figured out that initially I had the wheels installed backwards?  Talk about your idiotic author.  I not only installed the wheels backwards, but I drove the tractor at least 3 times before figuring out what was wrong.  But, the key thing is, once again I learned something, and I’ll bet I never make THAT mistake again.  By the way, in my defense, the valves were sticking out of the side of the wheel that faced in.  Heck, in a million years I wouldn’t have guessed the stems go on the inside.  Must be a tractor thing.  So, yes, if I can restore a tractor, even making mistakes like that, hell, anyone can do it!

On Sunday we had a pretty day here, and it only took me about half an hour to jack up the front end and flip the wheels around.  By the time I got that done Lynne was home and offered to take some video for me.  What follows are three videos of less than a minute each, which are the beginning, middle and end of a little test drive I took with the wheels properly installed.

Beginning
Middle
End

Gradually things are coming along, and a day like Sunday gets me “juiced-up” to finish the job.  With some consistent good weather, I’ll be able to get back to work painting the back 1/3 of the old beast.

Oh, I forgot to mention, I got a call from the folks at the “Guinea Pig Lab” a while back.  They had a deal where all they wanted was to ream out my nose (something I usually do myself), and take a sample of “snot” containing some of my precious nasal skin cells.  I know that by now y’all probably think I’ll do anything for money, and they were offering $65 for about an hour’s worth of my time, but I’ll tell you, I turned them down flat.  I said, “Thanks, but there’ll be no skin off my nose!”

Have a great week everyone, and in case you need someone to say it, believe me, “You can do it!
Thanks for reading.

“Still,” That Was Quite an Explosion

This won’t be news to North Carolinians, but I thought the rest of you might have some fun with this.  Listen to this description contained in a News and Observer article, “…a fireball raced across North Carolina skies, followed by an explosion that shook the Eastern North Carolina town of Kinston.”  The event described, although remarkably similar to the recent meteorite that came down over Russia, occurred on December 4, 1934.  What’s great about the North Carolina incident, however, is that the assumption of most locals at the time was that “…a moonshine still had exploded.”  Sure, prohibition had just ended in 1933, but it says something to me about this state and its inhabitants, that a moonshine still explosion was everyone’s first thought when all the ruckus took place.  Getting back to that recent Russian explosion, now that I think about it, they do make one helluva lot of vodka over there, hmmm.  Next headline you’re going to see:  Cover-up at Russian, nuclear-powered vodka still.

After putting my little love note in the last post, The Princess has suggested that the recovery money from that recent gold crown that she “found” be applied to the Guinea Pig-O-Meter.   Her little Valentines Day gift.  Sounds fair to me, so look for a $48 “bump” in the G-O-M.  Thanks, Princess!

I was perusing the Daily Tar Heal (the UNC student-run newspaper) on Monday.  One of my “must reads” is the Police Log.  The following item made me laugh,

“Someone reported loud music coming from a party at…12:29 am Wednesday, according to Carrboro police reports.  The officer on the scene heard Stevie Wonder’s ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ playing on the radio, reports state.

Talk about a slow night, that’s some detailed police report.  Catchy tune though, I always liked it.  And come to think of it, a great tune for Valentines Day.

Hey, Pony news, check out this photo of the Pony’s new “eyes.”

New Headlights

I installed the refurbished lights yesterday and Gene wired them up.  We flipped the switch, and after all the years in the woods, etc. one of the lights came immediately to life.  The other one, well, I’ll be calling NAPA in a few minutes.  As I left the garage I heard the Pony exclaim, “I can see!”

One last item, the following cartoon from a recent New Yorker is supplied as a service to readers, without  comment.

blogger cartoon 2

Everyone have a great week, and thanks for reading.

A Grand Day Out

Last Sunday was the Pony’s best day.  I replaced the connectors on a leaking oil line, even used the special tool (boy that’s suggestive!) to cut and “flair” the copper line.  We hit the starter button, and just as it had the week before the engine started right up.  This time the engine ran much more smoothly, and just as important, the refurbished oil line didn’t leak anymore.  With that, we spent about half an hour reattaching and adjusting the throttle linkage.  It seemed to match up to the governer lever and the carb real well, so we decided to fire up the engine again and see how it all worked together.

The engine started, ran smoothly and when I fed gas using the throttle lever up on the steering column, it responded perfectly.  Wow, BTA (better than average)!  Gene backed his car out of the way, and I jockied the Pony out the door and down the drive.  Now, for the only bad news.  This is where I’d normally insert a video to document the Pony’s first really great day out.  After buzzing up and down the street once, I pulled into the drive and since Lynne had gone back into the house, I asked Gene to take some video.  I headed out onto the street again, getting the Pony really moving in third gear, even climbing a hill.  No problems.  Well, I found out after I got home that Gene is no videographer.  He got essentially “nuttin.”  You’re fired Gene; next time I’m switching back to Lynne.

But that’s a small downside.  We were both all smiles.  That evening I called the Idiotic Brother and reported the good news.  We talked about the initial days of working on the Pony and how so much of the Pony’s engine was frozen up, just a mess.  If you don’t remember it after two years, here are a few shots of what we found when we first opened-up the engine.

IMG_0402a IMG_0408a IMG_0409a

Why didn’t I just quit right then?  Can you believe that this engine is now running nice and smooth and pulling the Pony right along?  Amazing!  A number of folks have asked what I’ll be tackling next, and there’s still a LOT to do, but I’ve had the headlights all set to go for about a year now, and I’m thinking the Pony will steer better once he’s got his eyes, so I’ll be rigging those up next.

The Princess and I were out running errands today and were away from home when lunchtime rolled around.  “Let’s head over to P.F. Changs,” I said, ‘cus my pal George recommended it.”  This was one of those meals you could compare to the biblical parable of the “loaves and fishes.”  We shared an appetizer and we both ordered an entrée.  When the meals came out, our server said that the kitchen made a mistake and made the wrong entrée for one of us, and she said when they do that, they just give the table the wrong dish AND the right dish.  So, we ate all that we could, and our server boxed up the rest.  I put the bag of leftovers on the bathroom scale when we got home:  FOUR POUNDS!  Thanks for the recommendation, George.

When William Murdoch took over the Wall Street Journal there was a lot of complaining, but I actually like it better now than before.  There’s a lot more general news content, and a Personal Journal section has been added.  That section is pretty lame, but as I do with the cartoon section from our local rag, I always go to the Personal Journal section first.  Great stuff in there like “How to Pick-out a Handbag.”  I didn’t read this article, but why wouldn’t the answer to this one be just one sentence?  Buy one that’s black or brown and just big enough to hold all your stuff.  End of story.  Or, how about this article, “Can Decor’ Save Your Marriage?”  Hmmm, well again I didn’t read the article, because there’s a very short answer:  Yes, as long as it involves separate bedrooms.  Next, “Uncork the Nose’s Secret  Powers.”  Again, didn’t read it, this time because I’ve got a lot of personal experience.  Remember, my nose saved my life (see my post of July 24, 2012).  Now that’s power.  I can also smell the glaze on a donut from three blocks away.  Finally, from yesterday’s WSJ, and I’m not making this up, “Exercise Two Can Play.”  Come on, if you need to read this article, all is lost.

I came up the stairs yesterday and The Princess said, “Stay right there!”  She kinda scared me.  She went back into the bedroom, came out and told me to close my eyes and hold out my hand.  Something dropped into my palm, I opened my eyes, and Woo hoo, another Princess gold crown.  I KNEW she had two of those things, and suspected she was holding out on me after I cashed in the last one.  And sure enough, another nice, shiny, gold crown, I’d say heftier than the last, with no nasty tooth material inside.  Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy….Come on Pony boy, let’s cash that baby in and head on over to Tractor Supply.

I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to reflect on Valentine’s Day, which just as annoyingly Ground Hog Day, birthdays and pine pollen comes around once a year.  I went really crazy this year and bought The Princess $12.98 worth of roses at Trader Joe’s and as a special treat made an appointment for tomorrow with Social Security to sign up for benefits.  Talk about a major milestone for us.  That’s right, we’re “goin on the dole.”  My goal for the dole?  We’re going to try to beat my Grandma Kratzke’s record.  She started collecting at age 65 and took the government for 40 years worth. 

Roses are fine,
And Violets a bore,
We’ll take Social Security
Til ’54.

I love you, Princess.  And everyone else, oh heck, I love you too!