Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lost weekend

I figured with the bright shiny blue skies I'd be getting five truckloads of wood in like I did last weekend.

Took a run into town for my Globe and my Timmies. Not much in the Globe today. Our rebels are still having a stand-off with the Gaddafi loyalists. A couple of hundred rebel trucks made an advance, but then somebody shot at them and they were forced to retreat. They are waiting for NATO to soften up the loyalists a bit more, so we know it's business as usual. Our rebels can't move forward till NATO does its job. Almost makes you think it's a NATO revolution instead of a Libyan one.

So I finish with the paper and head across the road to my marsh woodlot. Everything is going great. Cut up a bit more of that black cherry. It's pretty dry and it splits up pretty good just with the maul. Then I drop a 40 foot elm into the marsh. Hook a tow strap to the truck and drag the tree onto terra firma so I can cut it up. Done that, hop in the truck so I can back into where the wood is, and no go. Nothing. The old Ford has never missed a curtain call in the five years I've had her. Today, different story.

After 20 minutes of wiggling battery cables and general dinking around I hike back to the house. Need to get the tractor to boost the battery on the truck. Normally I use the truck to boost the battery on the tractor, but it's a crazy world these days...

Haven't used the tractor for a couple weeks, so it doesn't want to start. Take the Mazda through the hayfield, park it in front of the tractor, hook up my genuine NASCAR booster cables, and get back in the cab of the tractor. Wasps. I'd noticed a few the first time I tried to start her up. There's a few more now. Quite a few more.

Helpful Herb had quite the wasp event not that long ago. He's heading back to his woodlot for a bit of Stihl therapy. Happily cutting away till he takes down a tree that has a honkin' huge wasp nest in it. All of a sudden he's being swarmed by wasps. Calls Mrs. Herb from his cell. "Ouch oh fuck get away ouch they're swarming me ouch ouch I've never seen so many ouch ouch holy shit ouch..."

That's when he dropped his phone. Swatted off a few more wasps and they were gone. Picked up the phone. Line dead. Tried the house number a couple of times. No answer. Meanwhile, wasps gone, trees await.  He was good to go.

I'm trying to fire up the Ford 4000. Haven't run her for a couple weeks. I see there's three separate wasp nests under construction on the inside of the cab roof. Run in the house to look for that can of Raid. We're as organic as can be around here, but we don't mind a bit of chemical warfare when it comes to wasps, at least when they're inside the tractor.

The last thing Mrs. Herb hears is ouch holy shit the wasps are killing.... and then the phone goes dead. She does the reasonable thing under the circumstances; calls 911.

I give my wasp nests a good squirt of the Raid and head off to the woodlot to get the truck fired up. Heading into the pasture the cab takes out Lundy's electric fence that he's rigged high enough to let a truck through but not a tractor. Shit. Get the tractor untangled from the electric fence, and I'm on my way, but not without a couple of jolts. The metal cab hits the electric fence, and whoopsie, all of a sudden you wished you paid more attention in those grade nine science classes when you were learning about conductivity.

So Mrs. Herb has two ambulances three cop cars and a fire truck at the house. Hasn't been able to get Herb on the phone. The fields are too wet to drive the rescue vehicles over. So they begin the trek. Four paramedics, four cops, and six firemen. They've got a stretcher and a medicine bag. If the wasps haven't done him in, Herb is in good hands.

No go with the truck. If it ain't the battery it's got to be the starter. Can't really change a starter down here in the marsh. I'll have to tow the truck up to the house.

Mrs. Herb leads the delegation of first responders over hill and dale in the general direction of where she thinks Herb might be cutting wood.

I'll need a pair of hands on the wheel of the truck to do the steering while I tow it out. I go back to the house to get Junior. Now Junior is a absolute maestro at video games, but that doesn't do much for upper body strength. With the truck not running and the power steering not working, upper body strength would be a good thing. We have to back-and-forth a few more times than I thought was necessary on account of this lack of upper body strength. Nevertheless, we persevere and eventually we tow the truck out of the marsh and park it beside the house.

When they're a quarter mile from home base Mrs. Herb hears the sound of a chain-saw. Oh no. He's alive.
Sure enough, the first responders carry on over a couple more hills and dales, and there's Herb, happily applying his Stihl to the trunk of another tree. "What the fuck is this?"  Cops's? Stretchers? Paramedics?...

Instead of getting two or three loads of wood in today, I got one, the one that was on the truck when I towed it over. By then I was a little pissed off about the whole thing. I'll deal with it tomorrow. Maybe swap in the Mazda battery just to find out for sure if it's the battery or the starter.

Meanwhile, I've decided to call it a Warsteiner weekend.

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