Boy, he wan’t kidding!
For a decade I collected and restored horse-drawn implements. I planned to farm with horses. My first university degree was in animal husbandry. This was going to be a shoe-in…and fun to boot! But then I developed a severe allergy to horses…hives, sneezing, mucous from eyes and nose and throat. I donated all that restored equipment to museums and moved on.
Now I curse my dependence on petroleum based technology. We try to keep it as efficient as possible. But I truly distain machines that run on petroleum.
We cut our hay with a sickle mower mounted on a very efficient Kubota tractor. But two weeks ago it suffered a major breakdown, which is a shame from a tractor that is only 6 years old. A u-joint failed that comes off of the rear transmission and drives the front wheel drive. I just exploded. And the only way to get to it is to split the tractor. For those of you who don’t know what that means, it entails disconnecting the engine in the front from the transmission in the back and sliding them apart. Kubota has not made this an easy fix. The entire frame needs to be detached from both the front and back while you support both sides so that they don’t fall on the ground! Fortunately this is a compact tractor and can be worked on by me but it is clearly the most ambitious mechanical project that I have ever taken on…and by myself. I wish that I had a community of people to assist at this. Perhaps a real mechanic would be nice. But as with the early Catholic Worker farms, so it is with us…there are few who really want this kind of life. We are most grateful for people who have come to assist with the orchard work…definitely! But then again I am reminded that there is no rush to this and that I can take my time, which is all I have. And perhaps I can even live my way into my identity through this, although if heaven includes repairing tractors I think that I will pass, no thank you!
Down to removing the frame today…