Under duress from my wife, who believes hiking through a hay field to reach the mailbox is an undue burden, I fixed the lawn mower again. It still has a perpetually flat tire that I have to pump up every time I cut grass and the oil hasn’t been changed in a few years, but it hasn’t self-destructed yet, which is a real shame. Don’t tell my wife this, but I’ve been hoping it explodes so I can get a new zero-turn.
I’ve tried everything I know to hasten its final destruction, but it just won’t die. I set the cutting deck to putting-green height and mowed a rock pile. Tried watered-down gas mixed with floating debris, but the pistons just keep pumping. Washed it and left it drying by the road, hoping criminals would pass by and steal it, but none bit. Or if they did steal it, they brought it right back after hearing the engine run.
Usually, I’m pretty proficient at destroying things, so much so my wife pleads with me to take better care of our belongings–as if I don’t take great care in repairing things I break. In fact, you can barely see the rubber cement I used to fix her platter. Plus, it wasn’t my fault the platter was so easily accessible. The way I see it, if the platter was off limits, it shouldn’t have been front and center in the china cabinet. Did she think the hot dogs were going to carry themselves to the grill?
Last week, it just so happened that I destroyed the bush hog. Really, a rock destroyed it. The rocks in these parts grow really fast, and you never know when a new one will hit a growth spurt and expand. It happens all the time, which is annoying because the rock/blade impact usually shears the shear bolt. You would think bush hog manufacturers would be smart enough to spot such an obvious engineering flaw as a shear bolt, shear bolts being so soft and easily severed. Engineers have little common sense, though. I easily remedied the problem by replacing the shear bolt with a grade-eight bolt made of impenetrable steel. Since that quick fix, I’ve yet to shear a bolt again. If it wasn’t for hitting that blasted rock last week, the bush hog would be running like a top. But repairs take time, and it just so happens that welding back together a shattered universal joint is much more difficult than replacing a shear bolt.
Once you’ve destroyed something, to fix it, see my informative post: How to Fix Stuff on a Farm.
18 thoughts on “How to Destroy Things on a Farm”
When we moved here, we swore off mowing. We do weed whack the paths and the garden, but otherwise, we leave it as wild meadow. Some of our neighbors object. Oh well, too bad for them.
I’ve been tempted myself to go the meadow route myself. I’d sure hate to know how many hours I’ve spent cutting grass over the years.
We’re beekeepers–the concept of the manicured, chemically dependent lawn is a big killer of kees–the chemicals, the lack of forage–it’s a desert to bees. It is convenient to walk on, though.
Yeah, I feel bad when I cut down the clover in the yard. Maybe you’re setting the new trend and mowed yards will fall out of fashion soon. It used to be, like in the late 1800s, that everybody just had dirt yards. And they would actually sweep the yard instead of mow it.
I’m not suggesting dirt (I think that’s not environmentally responsible, not to mention the mess) but meadow flowers are lovely, feed the bees and buffer heat and erosion. Hopefully it’s a trend–hopefully my neigbors will stop whining. (Apparently, my unmowed property is responsible for all kinds of their problems.)
I guess it is handy having the skills and tools to weld things back together.
I have only minimal welding skills, but know enough to get things stuck back together. I do know I’d be a lot better off if I didn’t break as much stuff to begin with 😒
I have an old roto tiller that’s like your lawnmower. Nothing will kill that thing. It’s at least 50 or more years old, possibly closer to 60 because my father bought one exactly like it when I was in the first grade. I think it was made in the early 1960s. The only maintenance I do on it is spray some belt dressing on the belt when it starts to slip. Never changed oil, never put Stabil in it. The gas in there in the spring smells kind of funky when I add more, and I don’t think it’s supposed to be that color, but the dopey thing still starts on the 2nd pull every spring. It does smoke a bit… Well, okay so it smokes a lot, but I figure that helps keep the mosquitoes away.
I always figured the best lawn is one you dig the sod up from, fill up with topsoil and compost, and plant veggies, fruit and flowers in. Anything but grass. Lawns are one of the most ridiculous and utterly useless things ever. All they do is take up space that could be better used for growing tomatoes, beans, peppers, flowers, anything.
I think at some point if a piece of equipment defies destruction long enough it reaches legend status. My parents had an old murry riding lawn mower like that, and we were quite sentimental toward that thing.
Yeah, I hate to think of the time I spent cutting grass over the years. It seems like one of those pointless social norms that we all do for no other reason than we all do it.
I think you’re right about it being more of a social thing. Up until cities started to expand out into the suburbs lawns weren’t common at all except around government buildings, cemeteries, monuments, and around the homes of the rich who could afford to hire people to care for them. I think lawn became a kind of status symbol, a way to show off one’s affluence. In order to be able to keep a lawn up, you have to have enough time and money to devote to something as useless as all that grass.
Darn rocks! GEEZ! Many years ago my ex and I moved to Arkansas. We rented a house in the country and the landlord said we could have a garden. The garden area was in a nice spot but no one had a plow to tear up the ground so I could till it. I finally found a neighbor with a disc. When we cane back here for a visit, I took my tiller back. The problem was the garden was full of rocks. I’m not sure how many 5 gallon buckets I hauled out of the garden, but there were big holes in the driveway I filled up. Finally, I managed to till the garden but more rocks came up. I planted the garden anyway and it did pretty well to my surprise. I was not used to rock gardening that way. Later, I went to work for a furniture store and we delivered to a farmer in Blue Eye, Missouri. He had a beautiful HUGE garden in rocks. I never thought it could be possible since there are no rocks on this farm. Enjoyed your post!
Thanks, here in the foothills, nearly every farm has an old rock pile in the woodline. Back when everything was in cotton, they piled rocks to get them out of the way. We’ve got several old rock piles on our farm, which I still contribute to every so often when I discover new rock growth with an implement.
I like the old farms where they have piled rocks inside a circle of fencing and use them for posts. The old timers came up with some interesting ideas.
just save up some money, sell the lawn tractor, and get a zero turn. so much nicer.
I’ve got my eyes on a few, but my wife seems to think a zero turn would be frivolous when i have a perfectly operational lawn mower already. I will tell her you that you agree with me, and hope public opinion sways her.
they are a game changer, but also expensive. balance time and money.
It will break, but only when it is that moment you do not want it to. Thanks for this great post and the chuckles that went with it.
Thanks! Yes, always at the worst possible moment.