By the time the grass was about dry enough to cut, it had become quite long, and a long way from dry internally. The problem with the moisture is that, combined with the mud from the mole hills (about which more later), it conspires to cling to the inside of the blade housing and to the discharge chute. About a dozen times each session I have to stop the machine, remove and empty the discharge chute and extend my arm as far into the gubbins as I can through the hole under the seat to gouge out the gunge, or as much of it as I can reach, anyway. Not only is this a difficult and unpleasant job, it also fails to address the root cause, which is the buildup of gunge in the blade housing. At the end of each session we can travel the machine up to the barn, and raise the front using the block and tackle I described a couple of weeks ago, but that is not really the answer.
Technology to the rescue! One of the most potent lines from any film made in the past few decades (OK, maybe “You can’t handle the truth!” is more potent, but this comes a close second) – is from Michael Crichton’s 1973 film Westworld starring Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin and James Brolin. The official Company line of the amusement park, Delos, is “Technology is our friend“. It certainly is mine. A natty little 79 € device called a lève-autoportée makes raising the beast in-situ as easy as lifting the front of a Formula One car at a pit stop. We can then do a proper clean that will only be necessary three or four times in a session.
As the picture above shows, it gets pretty mucky underneath – in fact the caked grass inside the blade housing gets to be about 3cm thick and, in time, will stop the blades rotating, even with twelve and a half horses pushing them around. This was the cause of our previous breakdown that necessitated our sending the beast for warranty repair!
Now if I can only perfect changing all four wheels and filling it with petrol all in less than ten seconds …
I mentioned mole hills earlier. I am happy to say that, thanks to the repellers that Sue, Wendy and Phil so kindly sent to us, we are starting to get a handle on the mole problem. We have so far placed six of the seven repellers (two we already had plus the five from Sue, Wendy and Phil) and we are shepherding the beasties away from the veggie patch. Having taken advice from the suppliers, it is apparent that clearing the moles out is going to take a lot of time, and we shall maybe need to buy a lot more repellers, but there is evidence that they are starting to work.
Speaking of veggie patches – look what clever Clare has grown – the onions, silly! Unfortunately the garlic was not as successful, but other things are looking good. Currently waiting to go in are the rutebaga (swedes) and the navets (long white winter turnips). I think more carrots may be on the cards too.
Yesterday, whilst Clare was engaged on phase two of Rik’s stair varnishing project, I decided to refashion a large pallet into a gate, with the intention of replacing the mesh at the top of the ramp with something a bit more professional. The refashioning went well and I now need to buy some furniture for it. I also need to place a couple of posts for it, so I started to dig a hole for the first one. I knew that the top of the ramp was covered with builders’ sand left over from Rambo’s major renovation works, but when I started digging, I hit gravel only about two inches down. I dug further, and the result is below.
Currently the hole is about half a metre deep and about 120cm by 60cm. I have filled the small mower trailer twice and have in excess of half a cubic metre of gravel. I think the gravel covers quite an extensive area and, over the course of the next few days, we shall dig out and see what we have. Any further extraction will cause the sand above to collapse but, as it is mostly good builders’ sharp sand, I don’t mind having some mixed with the gravel. We have a number of plans that can make use of that material, so it looks like we can save ourselves a wodge of cash by doing a bit more digging.
The whole thing is becoming a bit of a quarrying exercise, hence the title of this blog entry – obviously.
The more senior among you will recall that, in 1956, a Liverpudlian by the name of John Lennon formed a skiffle group that he named The Quarrymen after their school – Quarry Bank Grammar (I remember grammar schools). This group eventually evolved into The Beatles. Do try to keep up! Wikipedia link here
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