Tractor Drivin’ Mama & Her Rock Pickin’ Boys

My younger sons, Robert and James have been picking rocks for a local dairy farmer in the afternoons. They picked rocks every day last week. Since they are home schooled, my boys are available to work during the day when other kids are in government school. I guess we could say rock pickin’ is part of their curriculum. The farmer also hires three other home-schooled boys.

Robert and James work hard and when the farmer brings them home in the late afternoon, they are covered head to toe with dusty soil. It does my heart good to see my sons come home filthy after working in the field. It does them good too. They look forward to picking more rocks and, in a few weeks, helping the farmer to load hay in the barn.

Today, another farmer neighbor needed my sons to pick rocks from one of his fields. The other boys were not available so it was just Robert and James. When I came home from work I found out that Marlene had also helped. She didn’t pick rocks. Instead, Mom, the teacher, drove a tractor through the field while her boys loaded the front bucket with rocks. I was amazed to find this out because Marlene doesn’t have much experience driving a tractor. Fact is, I’ve never known her to drive a tractor. But our neighbor needed help and he asked Marlene if she would drive the tractor. She agreed to do it because she wanted to help our neighbor. That’s what you call being neighborly. That's what you call community in action. James took the camera and snapped this very rare picture of his Ma driving a big Farmall.

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First Cutting
Speaking of hay, I mowed my north pasture (also known as my front lawn) last weekend. It was the first cutting of the year. A friend of mine told me he has mowed his lawn three times already. That gives you an idea of how high the grass was.

Lawnmower Man
Before I could cut the grass last weekend, I had to get the lawnmower going. The beat up old thing wouldn’t start. So Robert and I spent part of the morning working together to get it going. We took a bunch of parts off, including the carburetor, which we completely disassembled and cleaned. And we took care of some other mechanical maintenance. Then we put it all back together and pulled the starter rope. To our surprise, the thing started right up and ran. It ran like brand new.

The reason we were surprised that it ran was that we have never disassembled a broken lawnmower and actually got it to work again. And I have surely not ever taken a lawnmower carburetor apart to clean it. But we were fairly confident about doing this sort of thing after watching Johnny Siebert, the Lawnmower Man on his lawnmower repair and maintenance DVDs.

According to Siebert, “99% of lawnmower and small engine problems start with the carburetor.” If you want to know something about small engine repair, check out the Lawnmower Man teaching videos.

Even though we got the mower going so nice, we needed a part to properly affix the lawnmower blade. It would have to be ordered. The grass needed mowing. So we went to town and bought a new lawnmower. It’s a basic push mower, like the old one. Robert encouraged me to buy a rider, but I resisted. Next best thing would be a self-propelled mower, but I resisted. Here’s a picture of Robert and our new (but very basic) lawnmower.

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See that nice pile of first cutting piled in the Whizbang Garden Cart? That’s some ideal material for making compost. I love a rear bagger on the mower because I can capture the clippings and put hem to good use.

After Rock Pickin’
What is there for a couple of rock pickin’ boys to do after an afternoon of rock pickin? How about build a tree fort....

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Robert and James have embarked on a new tree house project in the woods behind out house. Robert is even purchasing new lumber for the platform framework. He built a treehouse in these same trees a few years ago out of salvaged lumber. This new structure will be much higher up in the tree and built better than the old. You can see the pipe scaffold they are working off in the background.

Whizbang Garden Cart Book Update
Today I signed off on my new book’s cover and it will go to the printer. The interior pages are being worked on by another printer. I’m still expecting to have first printing copies by the end of this month.

If you have not yet taken advantage of the prepublication special pricing for this book, you still have time. Details about the cart and special pricing can be found at this link.

And if you have not been to The Whizbang Garden Cart Blog lately, I have posted a couple of how-to blog entries that compliment the book's how-to instructions:

Drilling & Countersinking Screw Holes

Puttin’ On The Metal Edges

1 comment:

tc said...

From the photo, it looks like your sons have have learned their woodworking skills from their father! Nice looking platform for their fort.