The Princess and I were up in New York City last week, and on the train up I noticed that folks were out in the strawberry fields picking. So, as soon as we got back I headed out to the usual patch, picked three buckets of berries, and brought them home for jam. By dinner time Friday I’d made 15 jars of jam, so I think if I just make another five-jar batch next week I’ll be good for the year. I made a strawberry pie yesterday and hopefully still have enough berries left for a few portions of strawberry shortcake to0. After OD-ing on all that, I’ll probably slow down a bit and just have them on my morning cereal for a while.
And staying with the “things that are red” theme, I’ve been working on a little project for the Pony. For some time now it has annoyed me that when I drive the tractor, I’m sitting right behind the exhaust stack, engulfed in a cloud of exhaust, breathing it, and later smelling of it. It was like smoking a pack of cigarettes, but without the pleasure of the nicotine. My idea was to get the exhaust to pass over me by adding a “stack” to the muffler.
I measured the muffler exhaust pipe and found that the O.D. was 1 5/16 inches. I then went to my trusty AGCO parts book to see what I could find that would fit.(1) The closest I could find was an exhaust stack with a 1 1/2 inch I.D. I decided on a two-foot stack and to add some class, got it in chrome. I also got a chrome clamp and a new rain cap, not available in chrome. All in, about $50.
The parts arrived while we were out of town last week, so I was able to get right to work when we got home. The first job was finding a sleeve to “step-down” the I.D. of the stack to as closely as possible match the O.D. of the muffler’s current exhaust pipe. I had luck at the third place I stopped, an auto shop that did muffler work.(2) The guys at the desk flagged a guy down as he passed through the office from the lot, and I explained what I needed. He didn’t say one word, just turned around and headed back into the shop. About ten minutes went by, before he popped back out holding the exact thing I had described. I was so happy I almost forgot to ask if he could also cut four inches off the the top.(3) Again, not a word, he simply retreated to the shop, came back in five minutes, and this time with just a hint of a smile, held out the finished product saying, “You’re going to have to file that burr on the inside. I didn’t have a file.” I said, “Man, that’s just perfect, what do I owe you?” No quotation marks necessary here, he just shook his head and turned to head back into the shop. I said, “Wait a minute,” and slid a tenner across the counter. He reached back, snagged it and again with something just approaching a smile went through the door into the shop.
This little experience so struck me that I just have to preach a bit about how this guy exemplified the perfect employee:
* Most important, he was a good listener. I didn’t have to repeat myself. He got it right the first time, including the dimensions I had mentioned.
* He didn’t waste time. Nothing unnecessary was said; the dude just turned and went to work.
* Of course, he had the expertise. He knew what to do and how to do it.
* He had pride in a job well done, but wasn’t a show off.
* Finally, he’s not stupid…he took the ten bucks!
This is a direct contrast to the desk employee and for that matter most of the other employees (not Sammy, the doorman; he was great) at our New York hotel. I explained to the employee that because the maid had left a window open in the room, it stank of McDonald’s hamburgers (shop just below). I explained that they should strip the beds, deodorize the room and in general do whatever was necessary to get rid of the stink. We really didn’t want to change rooms at that point. That room stank when we returned to it later in the day and continued to stink for four straight days. When the hotel’s email survey arrived a couple of days after we got home…oooooo, did they hear about it!
To get back on message, here’s a photo of the little sleeve he made, shown sliding up into the bottom of the stack.
Photo, courtesy of Gene. Here’s what the finished project looks like.
I tell you what, that thing looks sharp, and after a test drive, I can say it works pretty well too. The Pony may still be smokin’, but at least I’m not inhaling it anymore!
Hey, happy Mayday. The tradition here is to put the hummer feeder out on May 1. So this morning I cooked-up a batch of hummer juice and after it cooled, filled and hung the feeder, which in keeping with this post’s theme, is of course red. The females usually get here a week or so before the males (not going to touch that), so we’re ready for them.
Have a super month and thanks for reading.
(1) You know, that dang book weighs two and a half pounds! It cut-off the circulation in my legs as I sat paging through it and calling in my order.
(2) The shop is Chapel Hill Tire, University Mall location; sorry, I didn’t get the employee’s name.
(3) I Have to step back for a second to say that in doing a trial fit on the Pony, Gene and I found that at two feet, the stack was a bit to tall to get in and out of the garage. Thus, the lopping of four inches.