After finishing off the Saturday Globe and Mail this morning I figured I'd take advantage of the weather and head out to the woodlot with old Rusty and the hounds and grab a couple cords of firewood.
There wasn't a whole lot in it by the way. It's what they call a slow news day, or week... Renzetti had an agreeable column. There's a mildly interesting Q and A with former GG Adrienne Clarkson, but overall, nothing blogworthy. Kinda felt I didn't get my $3.75 worth, which is what you pay for the Globe once they truck it this far into the hinterland.
Wood wise, I'm about half way to where I'd like to be. It'll take 16-20 cord to avoid calling the oil truck, and by my calculations I'm at about ten. I don't want to risk a repeat of last year, when we ran out of wood mid-January, and then spent $4,000 plus on furnace oil in the next four months, which totally decimated the property-tax budget, which resulted in nasty letters from the township threatening to sell the farm for tax arrears, and oh my goodness, it was all we could do to hang on to Falling Downs.
So I don't want to go there again.
I've been cutting dead stuff along the fence lines, mostly elm. I head to the second field in from the corner. There's a bit of a gully to traverse, and it's a bit wet in there due to all the rain we've had the last couple weeks.
Old Rusty is still licensed for the road and fully insured, but this is no longer a vehicle that you drive with confidence on the public highways. She's a farm truck. Last week the power steering went for a shit. Had to muscle her through the Timmy's drive-through. That armstrong steering gets you a full upper-body workout and a coffee when you have to go through the drive-through at Timmy's in a 5,000 lb. truck with no power steering.
Made it through the gully in 4x4 mode with my foot on the gas. Took down three dead elms on the fence-line. I'm evolving an eye for dropping the trees so they don't hit the truck, and except for the last one, where I had to use my 30 foot tow strap to persuade a 50 foot tree to fall in the right direction, things went reasonably well. The old Stihl is working like a charm, trees don't land on the truck, the hounds have acclimatized themselves to the chainsaw and no longer run home to mommy every time I fire it up... what more could you ask for?
Then, as I'm tossing firewood into the back, I notice I have a flat tire on old Rusty.
Oh for fucks sakes!
And not just a flat tire, but a tire that's completely lost its bead - I can see six inches of aluminum rim before I see any rubber. Guess when I was traversing the hillside we were on, there was enough lateral pressure to break the bead... probably wouldn't have happened with new tires. No wonder she felt a bit tippy! I've been meaning to get new tires for a while now, but what the hell, old Rusty is mostly a farm truck now, so why bother?
Anyway, by the time I notice my destroyed tire, I got the box half full of firewood, but now I'm focussed on how to get the truck home. I make the executive decision to just drive it back on the flat tire. After all, the tire is toast anyway, and if I damage the rim, well how much can a rim be worth for a 15 year old F-150?
So, due to the flat tire, I'm nursing it through that water-filled gully... and I get stuck! For fucks sakes! I can go a few feet forward, a few feet backward, but I can't get out of the gully! Not even in 4x4! Not even in 4x4 low range!
Well, gonna have to walk home to get the tractor to pull out the truck.
For fucks sakes!
The mud is up to my knees. Me and the hounds waddle out of the gully and make it home. The tractor doesn't start...
Oh, for fucks sakes!
It's probably due to the fact that I haven't had it fired up in a couple of months.
Luckily, the Mustang 50 just got home from a check up at Jimmy's in Wiarton. Fires right up, and I use it to boost the tractor. There's another half an hour out of your perfect afternoon.
Longish story a bit shorter, I did a couple of back and forth runs between the truck and home base. I was toying with the idea of using shackles and clevises to tow old Rusty and her half load of firewood back to the house. That was not to be. I know I have the right shackles and clevises to make it happen; I just don't know where they are.
I really gotta organize my shop.
So I drove old Rusty home, once I towed her out of the gully, and it looks like there was no damage to the rim.
Then I walked back and brought the tractor home. After running all afternoon, at least the battery should be well charged up. Another bonus.
So after an entire afternoon spent in the great outdoors, getting maybe 3/4 of a cord of firewood, I walk in the house, pants mud-caked up to the knees, and the first words out of the Farm Manager's mouth are, "so how much wood did you get?"
Oh for fucks sakes...