Thursday, February 07, 2008

The tiller's workin

2/7/08 Thursday

It’s a good morning. My cognizance level is running a good 8 on the bob scale. I’m not totally clear on what the word “cognizance” means but am sure that being able to think clear is part of the definition. I looked it up several times and am still not sure. Not being able to remember what I read doesn’t help.

So the news. The part for the tiller (the pulley for the pull start) came in yesterday. It took a bit of figuring to get all the little springs and parts put in right but I was sharp yesterday and after a few stabs at it got it right.
I was thrilled to start the motor and hear it run well. I’ll need to play with the carburetor adjustments to help it idle better. The device I fabricated to hold the clutch lever back seems to work well. The original design appears to have required you to hold the lever by hand as you pulled the rope to start the machine up. Otherwise the blades will spin. Of course with a fifty year old machine things might have fallen off. The clutch like this is awkward and I think unsafe so I created this…uhm…holder? Can’t find the word to use so that will work.

So now I have a tiller and there is much tilling to do. Among the tasks is I want to till the driveway border where the rocks and stuff are and then mix up a sand cement to pour. The dogs constantly scatter the rocks off of it and the red mulch that looked so good there has long since blown and floated away. The puppies helped with that too. How the dogs move those big rocks I don’t know. So with the sand mix I can imbed the stones and weeds can’t get a foothold, thus this landscaping will stay a while.

I’ve been playing with different ways to mix up sand and concrete to find something that works well. The recipe on the Portland cement bag calls for pea gravel which I don’t have. Actually I do because when Leroy worked on the well they had a lot left over so just spread it around on the ground. I went up there yesterday and scraped a few bucketfuls up. One of the things I’ve been experimenting with is the Bentonite I picked up at the landfill. When added to a cement sand mix it seemed to make it crumble but just a little Bentonite and sand makes a pretty solid block. It doesn’t do well when it gets wet though.

The important project is to get a floor poured in the henhouse for my seed starting operation and I want to stretch the concrete I have out and make sure it holds up. I picked up what seems like five hundred pounds of rocks at Chuck and Lillian’s to use. They are mostly about the size of my fist. That should help reduce the amount of concrete I use. It’s all new to me so it’s all part of my continuing education on how to do stuff. You can see in the left form I put up the wires I placed. I’m thinking that like rebar it will help strengthen the floor. Don’t think that will go well with the big rocks but I’ll give it a shot. All of this experimentation will help when I get to building serious things like a henhouse for when we get chickens and some greenhouses.

I’ve been keeping the water running every day all day long to encourage the rye to grow. There are lots of little tumbleweeds starting to show up. I’ll have to start carrying the hoe with me everywhere I go to constantly get them. I’m only working three of the five acres I cleared. That’s for several reasons. First is I don’t think I can handle more than that on a physical level. I’m not even sure about being able to keep up with three. Second is that is as far as I can reach with the garden hose so there’s no sense planting where you can’t water out in this part of the world.

I plan on ordering lots of plants and seeds today. Henry Fields has a special on strawberries so we’ll probably order two hundred of them. Then there are raspberries, blackberries, and perhaps some others depending on funds. We’ve only got $150.00 in the farm account so that won’t last long. On top of plants and seeds is the drip feed irrigation I must set up. I can get good deals on the parts needed at Tractor Supply but even good deals add up pretty quick. I should go online to see what I can find but that’s the kind of thing I never seem to find the time or remember to do. One of our online friends, Barbara, sent us a ton of cool seeds to plant. What a help that is and the good thing is that once we get the heirloom plants going we can harvest the seeds along with the produce. Thus we won’t have to purchase them the following year. In fact we could package and sell the seeds as well. You can’t do this with the hybrid seeds, only heirloom. At least that’s my understanding.

The phone alarm went off so I must get out and move the water sprinklers. Time to get back to work.
It’s noon now. Cherie is doing much better but I’m keeping her from doing too much. Or I think I am. We haven’t been kissing during this bout with the flu so as not to share the germs but now we feel it’s safe. I know it’s too much information but it’s sure nice to be kissing her. I mentioned this to Eric last night and he said “Get a room”. Yeah I know, I’m like a little kid yelling “Hey, I kissed my wife”.

I’m pretty tired so will take a nap. Cherie just got back from picking up the mail. Suppose I’ll post this and crash. It will always be frustrating I suppose to get tired like this and need to take a nap. I explained to someone that it’s like I was eighty years old. This kind of thing is not unusual for those of us with traumatic brain injuries. The nice thing is an hours nap can really refresh me and revitalize my energy and cognitive level. An hour is all I’ll get cause the phone alarm will go off to remind me to move the sprinklers.
It’s 4:35. I am having a slowdown. It’s a pretty bad one. It seems that the pendulum is swinging to the seizure side now. I’d have to look but think I had a rough one a day or so ago. Went for a while without any big ones. This is the pattern, the cycle I seem to go through. If so I can expect several bad days. This one came with the return of one of the senses I lost in the wreck. I am intensely hungry and hunger is a sensation I rarely experience. Sometimes it’s the sense of smell, taste, or my hearing but my hearing is acute anyway. I often hear things Cherie cannot. But part of that is the filter we all have for sounds is damaged. Most people’s brain tune out constant noises like a fan running or the buzz of a fluorescent light. Mine doesn’t so being in a crowd with everyone speaking is deafening for me.

Anyway, I am dizzy and unsteady on my feet. It is hard for me to type. At least I got one of the spaces I made filled with concrete. That was more work than I thought or at least harder on me physically. Had to take a pain pill. I went gopher hunting today, prodding the ground with a steel rod I made trying to find their tunnels. Not sure if I did but when it felt like it I dropped some of the poison in.

Cherie came home from shopping. She knew I was having a slowdown just by looking at me. When I talk it’s really obvious but there is something about my face that she can detect. I asked her what but she really can’t put her finger on it. She can just sense it after three years of marriage.

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