Here lately I’ve been feeling like I’m part of an I Love Lucy rerun. I can’t decide if it’s the Lucy the wallpaper hanger or Lucy the candy maker, Lucy trying to get to Europe inside a steamer trunk or Lucy the grape stomper at the vineyards in Italy. I’ll be humming "Fly in the Buttermilk, shoo fly shoo," now for a week. First I blew my knee out crawling up on a chair to change a light bulb 3 days before my high school reunion, which included a cookie, lemonade and garden tour at my house.
Since my house was fairly clean of dust bunnies and clutter, I decided to have an open garden. I hooked up the tiller to my tractor to get rid of some of the grass growing in my garden paths and till the area along the dry creek for some oakleaf hydrangeas. First along the garden, I thought I was a couple of inches from my summer time water line that runs from the garden to the dry creek. When I turned on the water to water a weeping willow tree I planted, I had a geyser. I had stopped just on top of it and cut it at each end of the tiller. After replacing a four foot section which included a new faucet, I started digging along the water line rambling back and forth close to the dry creek. I should have gee instead of haw as now I have a 200 foot section of little four inch long black hotdogs where the waterline used to be. I wasn’t satisfied with taking out that section; I had to repeat the attack of the mad tiller on another section of the line, only it was a smaller scale this time. This big repair job is still on my To-Do list. Do you see why I recommend cut off valves for each section? I’ve decided that I’m too dangerous with a 31 hp John Deere and a four foot tiller, but not quite as dangerous as the one in James Bond.
After I finished with the destruction, I pulled off the tiller and hitched up the mower. At some point I backed over a tree stump. Just before I was completely finished, the belt broke. The rest would have to wait until after the open garden brunch. Straight line winds did a lot of damage a couple of days before. Power was knocked out for twelve hours. The brunch went just great, except for one stink that permeated the garage where everyone came in. Blackie had been playing with a skunk.
Afterwards, my attention turned to replacing the belt on my Big Bee mower. My JD dealer didn’t give me an owner’s manual with it, so I didn’t know what size belt it needed. I found some information online and called the manufacturer in Red Bay. It needs a B108 belt which is an 111 inch belt and not to get this one certain brand as it won’t last on the five foot finishing mower. Why isn’t it called B111? I called around and found the B108 at the repair shop in Tuscumbia. I showed the remains of the old belt to the clerk and explained that the company told me not to use this one brand and they said it wasn’t. As I was coming out of the store, this guy leans out the passenger window of a truck and asked if I planned to put that belt on. I told him that I was going to try. He said I’m forty years old and it’s nice to see women my age doing thing like that. I thanked him for the compliment as I was a lot older than that.
Since I didn’t have the manual I again turned to the internet found a belt diagram and went out to the barn to put the belt on. After weaving the belt around all of the pulleys the belt was too long. They sold me the wrong belt I thought to myself. Actually I told the hooligans who were impatiently waiting on supper. So back into the house, look up the belt diagram, and back out to the barn and went over the belt placement again. Well I have it right, but the belt is still too long. Back into the house get on the internet, but this time I copied and pasted the diagram into a Word document and printed it out and went back to the barn. It was getting a little warm, so I moved my truck from the front of the door and back to the house garage so I could bring the tractor and mower out into fresh air. When I got back to the mower, I was lacking the belt diagram I had printed out. I checked out my truck, not there, retraced my steps, still no diagram. Back into the house to reprint another diagram (glad I saved it) and back out to the barn I’m standing there looking at the diagram, looking at the pulleys with a too long belt, saying to myself “I have it on there right. Finally I noticed I had one turn wrong and corrected it. Now the belt is too short; I could hold the spring pulley with both hands, but didn’t have a third hand to slip the belt over the last pulley. I saw my neighbor Bob out in his garden, so I drove up to his place and asked for help putting it on. I mowed for one hour and the $43 belt broke. After talking to a clerk at one of the auto supply companies, I found out the belt I was sold was not as good as the one the manufacturer told me not to use. A local company looses my business as they wouldn’t make it good.
I ordered a belt on line on Monday from a company in Memphis. Friday after I got off work I called Mom and my belt still wasn’t in, so I checked with the Club Cadet dealer. The belt they thought would work was about an inch too short after my neighbor Bob and I worked on it for a while. Back to exchange the belt and landed up returning it as they didn’t have one an inch longer. I called the company I ordered the belt from on line the next Monday. It hadn’t been shipped yet and the lower forty now hasn’t been mowed in over a month. So I spent my off day driving three hours to Red Bay and back going to the dealer for two belts. Normally it doesn’t take that long, but I took a side trip to the Coon Dog Cemetery on the way back. I haven’t been there since I was a child and it’s the world’s only cemetery for coon dogs.
When I got home I found my trusty diagram and needed to figure out how not to bother my neighbor Bob again. I tied the spring pulley to a tree and pulled up slowly until it was pulled back enough to slip the belt over the last pulley. With the grass being so tall, I thought it best to sharpen the blades. The middle blade was so wavy from hitting something, maybe the stump, that I had trouble sharpening it. Wonder what else was inside the stump? Blades sharpened, one flap bolted down, and I must have gotten distracted as I didn’t close the over flap. Now I’ll have to buy another wing nut and washer.
Rest of the hooligans update; I mentioned earlier Blackie was playing with a skunk. Patches apparently was bitten on the hind leg by a snake. I noticed it last week and she just had 2 little holes. Saturday morning she had an infection in it and kept licking at it. When I got the purple medicine out she wouldn’t get near. When I called her she would only get as close enough to let me touch her nose. I called Mom over and between the two of us we grabbed more than just a nose and sprayed her down. Yesterday she was so busy chasing after a rat in the shed, she wasn’t paying attention to me and I was able to grab her and spray her down. She kept licking off the purple stuff, so I also put some peroxide in a spray bottle and boiled it out with that a couple of times and switched back to the purple medicine. Dad used to keep a bottle of that stuff which wasn’t as watered down looking in the milk barn. We had to go to school a few times with that stuff on us when we had an accident. Levi, while the girls have been chasing mice and rats, he’s been on guard duty watching me while I worked in the yard dividing and transplanting some of my iris and daylilies. It’s a tough job, but some one has to do it.
I’ve included some of my late blooming flowers. I just wanted to say a big thank you to GRIT for publishing my iris picture on page four of the July issue. It’s my first picture ever published, and I’m just tickled pink about it. Check out my garden blog of my top twentyfive favorite iris this year.