Friday, April 11, 2008

Everything is Broken

All my tools are broken. I can’t get anything done on the farm if I don’t have the proper tools. Kurt is out there right now trying to fix the riding lawn mower. He said the battery is as dead as a doorknob. He said we left the key on last winter and it drained it dry, plus the thing has been jinxed from the get-go. I don’t know about that. Maybe he doesn’t realize all the mowing I did in that other place we lived which was 53 acres of jungle on steroids. But I’d have to say, even though this could be jinxing things, that I got my money’s worth out of that riding lawnmower.

In addition to the dead battery, it has a flat.

The dually wheelbarrow, the big mama, also has a flat. This is a problem concerning the weeds. They fill up a wheelbarrow fast, especially those beachy-looking things the previous owner planted everywhere. They go great with the pool but you have to get rid of the straw-like stalks before the new growth comes in and they’re bulky. They take up a lot of space in the wheelbarrow causing me to make many trips down to the gully to dump them on the manure pile. It’s not the trips down that’s the problem. It’s the trips back up. I try to do big steps so I don’t have to take as many. Sometimes I have to stop and rest before I get to the barnyard.

Before I knew the dually had a flat, I filled it with chickweed that was running amok around the house, threatening to crawl right up the foundation and rip the shutters off the hinges and possibly cover us all so that before long we’d be living in a vine-covered cottage. That’s what we’d call it. A chickweed-covered cottage doesn’t sound so pretty.

I got it all filled up and then started to go but I was huffing and puffing halfway across the yard. That’s when I realized the tire had a flat. Kurt was at work and the bike pump is mysteriously missing so I had to call him up and have him walk me through filling it up with the air compressor. This involved finding an extension cord that was long enough to reach an outlet. Air compressors are heavy. You don’t want to move one unless you have to.

The extension cord was buried under towing chains which were wrapped around the wheels of the generator, which last time I heard, also had a flat. I lifted the generator, even heavier than the air compressor, untangled the chain and pulled it out. Then I pulled out the extension cord. With plug in hand, I climbed over the Christmas tree stand, a milk crate filled with assorted tools, and boxes of things we bought but never opened like weather stripping and flood lights. I knocked over a box of nails, crushed the hose to the swimming pool by stepping on it and wedged my foot in between a toolbox and the metal shelves because it was the only place to stand. But I made it to the outlet. However, the cord wouldn’t reach. No matter how much I tried, stretching and tugging, it was an inch too short.

The whole time Kurt was talking me through it. I had the phone on my ear. He said slowly, like I am three, “”

It worked. I got the cord untangled and plugged in. It stretched across the garage at eye level, a big loop you now have to crawl under, while simultaneously crawling over things, if you want to get to the other side. It appears, to the uneducated eye, that the garage needs a good cleaning. But Kurt knows where everything is so don’t touch it.

Now Kurt had to tell me how to hook up the hose to the actual machine. “See the nipple on the end?” he said. Let’s just skip over the next part because he thinks he’s funny.

I pulled the sleeve back on one of the round brass things that was sticking out of the air compressor and pushed the hose onto it. When I let go, it popped off and hissed like a wild snake. A big gust of air hit me in the face. I screamed. I tried again but it kept popping off. I cried, “It doesn’t fit!” After a number of attempts, we realized a piece of rubber around the end of the hose needed to be pushed back to expose the nipple fully. Finally, I got it on and I pumped up that wheelbarrow like no tomorrow. In fact, I got scared. “It’s not going to blow up is it Kurt?”

This is what we’re dealing with.

So the riding lawn mower is broke, the dually wheelbarrow keeps getting a flat, I couldn’t get the push lawnmower started or the weed-whacker. The farm truck won’t start otherwise I would have pulled it up to the beachy things and just thrown them all in there. Kurt’s not happy he’s got to fix all these things but I told him, I’ll do the work, you just get it going for me, that’s all you have to do. I don’t mind doing it if I have the tools to do the job but I can’t be climbing over generators and nearly hanging myself up on cords every time I get the urge to pull a few weeds.

Later, when I went out there, Kurt and Kelly had the garage all straightened up. I think he realized it was in his best interests to let me get to things now that I know my way around an air compressor.


Amy Hanek said...

Knock on wood, my Spring hasn't started as badly. Last Spring, I kept getting hurt. I am determined to actually feel I can do it all instead of being overwhelmed.

If it doesn't rain today it should be a perfect day for pulling weeds.

Cloudy, kinda cool, not too warm.

By the way, I am so glad you are posting more now. I love reading your blog!

Becky Mushko said...

Nothing is ever simple. Especially on a farm.

Sloan said...

Debi, I really love your stories. I can't wait to come and see if you wrote a new one. Keep up the good work. And don't quit writing. You are good!

Kristine said...

Kudos to you, Debi! I think you did great for a former "city girl." I may live in the country now, but I'm still a sissy, I mean, city girl. If this were me, I'd wait until my husband came home to fix it. Oh, but it this were me, I wouldn't have tried to put air in a tire anyway!

I even manage to conveniently forget when a toilet is plugged. SOMEONE will take care of it. And I don't mean one of my kids. :)

Marion said...

Lordy, Lady, there ain't nawthin' you cain't do.

I am downright impressed.

Motley said...

Debi, You really need to keep listining to your hubby, as it seems he has taught you a lot! Keep up the great writing and yard work. Can't wait for the next one!

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Yeah, pretty soon he'll have me out there with the chainsaw and the tractor.

Amy Tate said...

I completely relate. Last month, everything broke all at once. My oven, the sewer (backed up), driveway sensor, air conditioner, tractor battery, and the ice maker. Is it summer yet?

colleen said...

I like your new wide open spaces look here. It only took me 36 years to find my way to the country. I love it but do miss the ocean, having grown up on a peninsula.

Joe was just pointing out yesterday how long our wheelbarrow has served us, like 15 years. It sure gets a workout this time of year. Still in between wood chores and mowing ones.

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Colleen, I know. I thought I was all beached out--I grew up on the ocean. My father has a boat. But I miss it too.

Anonymous said...


Just love reading about your adventures of becoming a "country girl". I have to print out your blog for my mother in law (no internet for her) when new writing shows up. I also know about that bleach blonde clam digger stuff. Keep writing, we will keep reading.

dawn said...


I love reading your stories. You sure can paint a picture with your words!

Your story "Everything is Broken" made me chuckle!

I am going to read another right now. Keep them coming!

Anonymous said...

I loved "Everything is Broken". You sure can paint a picture! Reading that made me laugh! I am going to read another one of your stories right now.... keep 'em coming!

Giulia said...

What a pain in the butt! I know just how ya felt. I haven't been in the position of everything being broken at once, but I sure know about many trips with wheel barrows; don't have a compressor but have blown up a totally flat car tire with a bicycle pump, and will have a story on my blog coming out soon about fixing wind chimes and tripping through the garage for extension cords and, jig saws, etc.

Just love your stuff, Debi. Feel like a kindred spirit.


Mrs Mom said...

Came across your blog from the VA Horses list- and have enjoyed it! Know the Broken feeling all too well. Welcome to the country!!

I look forward to reading your next post!

BTW- reiner turned barrel horse.. heheh bet thats a great education for some of the folks you run with up there.....hehehe