Messing with Mules

Cousin Bill has been starved for photos lately.  But I mean, really, if I started including photos in my sex columns, TIT (That Idiotic Tractor) would be no more than a cheezy porn site.  But I’ve been working like crazy on the Pony the last few weeks, so I’ve got some good “art.”  I’m going to try a little sideshow first of the metamorphosis of the Pony’s seat.

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The welding on the seat was courtesy of the Idiotic Brother.  Not being a modest man, he indicated that his five-hour effort to restore integrity to the corroded seat could not have been accomplished by anyone else ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH, with the possible exception of his alter ego, Dr. Fullofit. 

By the way, the pink stuff you see that I have spread on the seat and then sanded off prior to repriming is glazing and spot putty.  That was necessary in order to fill a lot of small pits in the metal.  As you can imagine, while the Pony sat in the woods for 20 years the seat acted like a bird bath holding damaging water much longer than other parts of the tractor.  The seat really looks great after two coats, but I’m going to go for one more since its surface will need to hold up to a lot of…let us say, friction.  Oh, for crying out loud, Dr. Reinhold Boehmke just heard the word friction and thinks a little more explanation of sex is necessary than was provided in the last post.  Actually, he was taken to task by a reader; she said, “You know you really didn’t explain sex in that last post as the headline indicated you would.”

In her defense, she was a new reader, and not aware that the Idiotic Author will say just about anything in a headline in order to get people to read on.  But while we’re on the subject, I’ll just print here an example of how to talk about sex so that you’re clearly understood.  This is from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

“Minds me of a story they tell about Willy Feeley when he was a young fella. Willy was bashful, awful bashful. Well, one day he takes a heifer over to Graves’ bull. Ever’body was out but Elsie Graves, and Elsie wasn’t bashful at all. Willy, he stood there turnin’ red an’ he couldn’t even talk. Elsie says, ‘I know what you come for; the bull’s out in back a the barn.’ Well, they took the heifer out there an’ Willy an’ Elsie sat on the fence to watch. Purty soon Willy got feelin’ purty fly. Elsie looks over an’ says, like she don’t know, ‘What’s a matter, Willy?’ Willy’s so randy, he can’t hardly set still. ‘By God,’ he says, ‘by God, I wisht I was a-doin’ that!’ Elsie says, ‘Why not, Willy? It’s your heifer.”

I’ve got to tell you that when I paraphrased that story for the Idiotic Brother some time ago he enjoyed it so much that he went straight to the library and read the Grapes of Wrath in its entirety.  Little did he know that that little ditty was the only funny thing in the entire book.  Now get out of here Reiny; we’ve got a lot more tractor stuff to cover.

Gene has been bugging me to get to work on the Pony’s hood and grill, so I finally got serious last weekend and sought out a sand blaster to prep those parts for painting.  Over a year ago on one of my trips to Siler City’s Tractor Supply store I saw a sign out in the boonies that…well, here’s a photo.

sand blasting sign

As we shot by I asked my co-pilot, The Princess, to write down the phone number for later reference.  I called the number on the sign Saturday morning to find out if the guy would be around.  He said he would, so about an hour later I was turning into the drive you see in the picture.  The drive soon turned into two twisty-turny dirt ruts full of mud puddles and went back away from the road at least a quarter-mile.  I finally stopped at an old shed where, fortuitously, I noticed a pile of sand.  There was crap everywhere, roosters of all colors hopping around and plenty of mules, one up close and with an eye one me.  Just an aside, did you know mules are good coyote killers?  Yup, apparently one good, swift kick from a mule and you’ve got coyote road kill.  Anyway, in spite of all this activity, including a radio playing in the shed, no actual human was around.  Thanks to cell phones I found my sandblaster was on the way, and sure enough, in about 5 minutes here came a pick-up up the ruts.

I showed him my parts and he said sure, he’d do them maybe even that day yet, if he gets “froggy.”  Now see, that must be a southern thing, because I had no idea what that meant, so had no clue to what my odds were of seeing my parts that day, or ever.  I said, “But hang on, what do you think this is going to cost me?”  After some foot shuffling and what sounded like sand blasters’ double talk, he said, “Fifty bucks, but that’s not firm.”  I about jumped out of my skin, not because he said fifty bucks, because that’s kind of the figure I had in mind, but because as soon as he said fifty bucks, that mule that had his eye on me squawked out at the top of its lungs, “he HAWWWWW!  I said, “Hey man, is he trying to tell me something?”  To that he just raised his shoulders and let them fall again.

Turns out that he apparently did get “froggy,” because The Princess got a call from the guy in the afternoon (I was out working on the Pony).  According to The Princess he was a bit put out that I hadn’t been sitting right by the phone awaiting word, but after some phone tag that night and again on Sunday I was able to pick up the finished hood and grill late Sunday.  Earlier Sunday he said he’d be “Messing with Mules.”  Hmmm.

I was surprised and happy when Jeff (I asked his name finally) told me the final cost would be $40.  Fabulous!  And, the parts looked great.  You’ll see them in the photos below, but before leaving his place I tried delving a little further into the mule thing.  “So, Jeff, do buy them and raise them, do you sell them, what?”  Again, not giving anything, he said, “Aw, I just mess with ’em.”  Well, I don’t care what he does with the mules, but I’m sure I’ll be back for more “mule approved” sand blasting.  So first, here’s where I’ve gotten to with the grill.


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Nice transformation, eh?  It helps that I have a new al fresco paint booth now.  I use the woods out beyond Gene’s garage.  Upside, no chiggers like in the old spray booth.  Next check out the hood.

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Reminds me a bit of a little brown bear at this point.  Oh, that reminds me, it’s time for another edition of “Fun With Pony Parts.”  Here’s a photo of the metal part that serves as a guide for the hand crank one uses to crank-start the Pony.

mardi gras tractor face

I thought the piece looked so much like a face that I took it into The Princess’s art studio and laid it down on top of a collage she was working on.  Here’s a more cryptic one.


That’s the image left on the cardboard after priming the hood.  Reminds me a little of Snoopy!

Finally, and don’t say you didn’t get your money’s worth from this post, here’s a couple of shots of me working on the Pony’s hind end while the paint on all the other stuff dried.

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That concludes the photo portion of our show folks.  I hope this vindicates me somewhat.  I know a lot of you were thinking that, hey, if there ain’t no pics, there ain’t no progress being made.  So hopefully, that thought has been put to rest.

Thanks so much for reading and have a wonderful week…and even if you get “froggy,” don’t go messing with any mules!


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