Thursday, May 30, 2013

So, I got a Zero Turn mower and...

A couple weeks ago I cashed out what was left of my old 401K. With the economy looking ready to tank, I figured I better use it before Uncle Sam keeps it for himself. Now that I had the cash, it was time to get some things we needed for the homestead.

Of the many things we could put that cash on, we really needed a decent mower for the yards, around the garden and along our driveway. We had several dead riding mowers that Brad simply did not have time to repair, and I had been mowing all this with an old push mower. All that mowing took hours each week and I needed that time for other jobs. We decided to find a used Zero Turn mower to save me time (and to save Brad my nagging to fix the broken mowers).

I found a great deal on a small Zero Turn on my favorite shopping site...Craigslist. It seems the mower was being sold due to divorce and the owners wanted a quick sale. Well, I had cash, the sale was quick and within a few days, the little blue Zero Turn was unloaded in my drive way.

Okey dokey! I'm cookin' with gas now! I've got my mower and I'm ready to kick some butt/roots on all those weeds, wild onion and assorted thistles in our yard. I'm in full blown weed decapitation mode. All those undesirables are about to become mulch beneath my blade! Hah, ha, ha, HAH, HAAAAH! I got a Zero Turn and...I have NO IDEA how to use it. Nothing like getting a pin prick of reality to burst my happy bubble of  weed mulching madness.

Thankfully, the guy who dropped off the mower gave me a quick lesson in how to use it. He's happily explaining all the technical details and all I'm hearing is "Blah, blah ,turn the key to the right, blah, blah, blah, pull the gear lever up, blah,blah." I'm standing there nodding my head, feigning interest and thinking to myself "It can't be that hard to run this thing, GIVE ME THE KEY!" If I can drive our tractor, I'm sure I can figure this out.

Right about the time I decided to just take the key and mow off into the sunset, Brad came home from work. He spoke to the delivery guy and told him that HE would show me how to use the mower.  Ok...I get a Zero Turn lesson from the Hubster. Cool. He knows how I am, so this should only take about 10 seconds of his time. I can handle that.

Brad gave me the brief run down and then took the mower for a "test mow" in the yard. I'm watching that cute little blue mower do a "from pasture to park" makeover on our yard. Oh my...that is just tooooooooo sweet. Honey, I just LOOOVE this mower! I think I can handle it. Do you mind if I MOW NOW?

Brad was happy give me a turn (after 10 minutes or so). I planted my backside in the seat, pulled the handles together in front of me, put my foot on the gas pedal and took off down the drive way. Within minutes I realized I was waaaaay over mounted. In horseback riding terms, you are over mounted when your riding skills are vastly inferior to the training of your horse. If I didn't slow down, my next high speed zero turn was probably going to land me in the hospital.

My little blue mower (now named Zippy) was a lot faster and responsive then any mower I'd been on. I went from being hell bent for leather to decapitate weeds, to driving like my granny to keep from being tossed off on a turn. Zippy was fast, powerful and would turn on a dime. My past experience involved mashing the gas pedal just to get our mower moving, and my turn was more platter size. Driving Zippy was like the difference between driving a pedal car and a Ferrari. Nothing like a heart pounding reality check  to make me adjust my mowing skills.

Twenty minutes later, I was actually comfortable mowing on Zippy. I was mowing around trees, trimming along the fence line and grinning like a fat mouse in cheese heaven watching all those knee high weeds become fine mulch. Every pass around the yard reaffirmed that buying Zippy was a good investment. I can mow in record time and Brad gets a little more peace of mind...sort of.

Since we bought Zippy, Brad mows more then I do! Seems, he enjoys mowing now. What he doesn't realize is that less mower time for me, means I now have more time to nag him about other things. ;-p

Just kidding! Honey, I am SO HAPPY you love mowing with Zippy! I'll go get you a glass of iced tea. Love YOU!

The Never Ending "To Do: List!

Have you ever had a "To Do" list that you ran out of paper at the bottom? There you are...writing away on that list (that looks kinda like a scroll) and you unroll it a bit more and more paper! Well, that's what it seems like our life has been around here over the last 6 months. We had more tasks then paper to write them on.

Actually, I am doing the happy dance about running out of list paper. That makes me focus on getting things done that are ALREADY ON THE LIST.  Brad and I have been up to our eyeballs it seems with multitasking too many things and not getting nearly enough of them completed. It's frustrating to look around the homestead and see dozens of started projects that are awaiting completion. Most of what is incomplete is due to one or more of the following situations:
1. Lack of funds for parts or repair
2. Lack of a sufficient block of time to get it done in a day
3. All the Above

Take for example our ancient tractor. The three point hitch weld broke for the umpteenth time and Brad decided to totally remove it to have it professionally welded. While he was at it, he also removed other parts so we could get the front hydraulics repaired also. Doing this involved removing the back tires so now we have an amputee geriatric tractor on blocks by our shop. "Ole Yaller" has been on blocks for at least 6 months now...and counting. We have a perfectly good Brush Hog and front blades work with and no working tractor to hitch them to.

So, you might think, "Big deal, the tractor is missing in action...that's just one fly in the ointment of farm life." Well, let me tell you, that is one BIG FLY!  When the tractor was dismantled, we thought it'd be back in action within a paycheck or two, or three or four. Fixing it didn't happen due to funds having to go other places. So, the To Do list got a lot longer just by the tractor being out of commission. Here's a short list of what  Ole' Yaller has waiting for him when he finally gets rolling:

1. Pushing all the dirt back to fill in our drainage ditches. Our back and side yards, picnic area and part of our goat paddock looks like it's occupied by giant moles...not pretty!
2. Mowing pastures that are now so tall the goats can HIDE in them. Thankfully, they love me and I never have to FIND them.
3. Moving the small mountain of gravel that is parked in MY parking spot in front of the house.
4. Drilling holes for fence posts...never have enough fencing.
5. Just being ready to do whatever we need a tractor for!

I must say that I am not complaining. I'm just stating the "cause and effect" that happens on a homestead when just a few things are out of whack. I'll be a very happy camper when our tractor is fixed, my favorite Little Blue farm truck is resurrected from the dead, my milking stanchion head stall  is repaired, the rest of the new fence is put up, the water line is run out to the barn, my outdoor canning kitchen is get the picture.