Haying came to a screeching halt last week when I realized that, though stones do seem to appear and grow along with the grass in my fields each summer, they are not intended to be run through a mowing machine.
It started with haying new fields. This summer I unexpectedly have fewer grazing Black Angus, and so I’ve been attempting to make hay off of the now uneaten pastures. This Monday I was mowing a pasture across from the house, thinking how with the limited string of short haying periods, I was being pretty smart by haying these small pieces when the forcast was iffy. If the small amount of hay got rained on, no big loss, but if I could bale it, it would be profit! The unholy noise of hitting stones in these little pastures has not been etched in my memory like the other fields – so I was a overly optimistic on how close to the edge I could get, and hit a piece of nice Vermont bedrock. It struck the mower right between the rock gaurds and disk knives; the perfect place to do loads of damage.
After a little begging and pleading, I got Luke Persons to come help me tear the mower apart and start to re-assemble it. Luke grew up on this farm, and is the best natural mechanic I have ever worked with.
I tend to look at problem as a single issue to try to repair, while Luke looks at the problem as part of a whole system and tunes the system as a whole. He is also very entertaining and never at a loss for words.
I feel the need to have every thing in order as I take it apart…mostly because I am worried I will not remember how it goes back together. Luke seems to work on the chaos theory; everything is everywhere. He claims that he can take something apart, shove it in a pile, pile it among all the other piles in his garage, and put it all back together again years later.
The first day we disassembled the mower bed, found broken gears, disintegrated bearings, chewed up guards, broken teeth, and busted bolts. After a trip to Desmarais Equipment in
Orleans for $1600 in parts, (and a stop at Red Sky Trading Company for an excellent doughnut) we started the long process of putting it all back together.
I hoped to have the mower up and running by the end of the week, so I could continue trying to avoid rocks that never seemed to stop poking up in the worst places at the worst times! It’s Thursday morning and so far all I’ve had is a very disappointing false start yesterday evening. A refreshing 5:30 am call came from Luke, who must have had a eureka moment and thinks he knows what the new problem is. Outlook for today is good! With a little luck, I’ll be off the computer and back in the fields soon.