Saturday, January 15, 2011

one truck farm

Missed the NEBCA annual meeting because the pony and I were down at Midas for two hours. That muffler I needed to replace... Well, turns out the tail pipe was shot too. Had holes in it scattered and rusted through like bird shot. I also found out why it was so horrible in the snow—the sway bar was broken, not even connected to the right wheel. So those things were repaired and I was silently grateful that they accepted staggering checks to be cashed after I got paid for the service. I also had fluids topped off, oil changed, hell I even washed the old girl to get some of the salt off her. After all that attention she felt like a new truck again, drove quietly and true. She still needs some other maintenance, but we'll get by for a while. Things like tires, a transmission flush, and some horrible issue with the back end's structure keeping it suspended over the wheels.

Looks like the money I'll get for selling the Subaru (once I get the title from the State of New York) will cover most of the repairs though, and that's a wash I can deal with.

It felt good actually. I was a little upset at first that I missed the only meeting of the year the Border Collie Club held (rumor has it I was nominated Newsletter Editor?), but to know I was taking care of something so important was comforting. The truck is like any other animal on the farm: needing attention, care, and regular check ups. Even though the repairs were more extensive than I thought they would be, hell, at least she's here. In all this chaos of the last week I kept forgetting how lucky I was to have this truck in the first place. I'd be lost without that scrappy beast.

It's snowing here pretty steady. The sheep are birds and fed and Pig is chomping away at her cracked corn and sow ration. It's hard to believe that in a few days she'll be inside the house. I picked up everything on Mrs. Frost's list of supplies after the car was freed: the plywood, bleach, freezer paper, ziplock bags, plastic wrap and such. It's odd shopping for someone's execution. I had no qualms.

31 Comments:

Blogger CJ said...

Things are looking up already. Well done.

January 15, 2011 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I bet that will be a huge relief to have your truck handle so much better in the snow! Keep the back end loaded! :) (I know you know that)

You sound content today :)

January 15, 2011 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger The Wistful Farmer said...

sorry about the bad luck with the Subaru. Good luck with the Ranger.

January 15, 2011 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Jennifer, I am more content. I am accepting that fact that things are going to shake out, some how. I missed a big meeting, but I took care of things. I feel stronger.

January 15, 2011 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger City Sister said...

It seems like when it rains it pours! I know what you mean by the odd feeling you get shopping for the execution...at least you know you will be well fed for a while.

January 15, 2011 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Check out the Gempler's supplies catalog, if you need to move water for your live stock during snowy winter weather,they now have heated garden hoses. No I don't work for them. gemplers.com

January 15, 2011 at 5:47 PM  
Blogger Courtney said...

So sorry about the car troubles. I hate having to deal with things that I don't know how to fix. They leave me feeling so useless.

Please take lots of pictures of the pig processing! I've never seen anything like it and hope to live vicariously through you!

January 15, 2011 at 6:08 PM  
Blogger daisy said...

Glad things evened out for you. There's always a reason, even if we don't necessarily understand it while it's happening. Now you can drive a bit safer. That's gotta feel good.

January 15, 2011 at 6:47 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

If its not thing, it will be another. But in the long run, it always works out! Just a little bit of prayer and helping hands from friends/family..it gets done!
Your doing a wonderful job with your farm!

January 15, 2011 at 7:15 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Sometimes its the little things, knowing something is taken care of, or just realizing you're okay that can turn around the way you percieve a situation. I'm glad things are looking better in your eyes.

January 15, 2011 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger Tanja said...

I think you should be thankful to have stuck close to home today, regardless of your original plans. I had to drive from Saratoga back to Delaware County this afternoon, and it. sucked. hard. 40 tops to 88. I can't wait for spring.

January 15, 2011 at 7:44 PM  
Blogger Odie Langley said...

Little by little you are getting everything in line and doing a very good job of it. I guess living in NY you are used to dealing with neverending snow but I would be happy if I never saw it snow here again. Ice makes doing anything so difficult. Hope you have a peaceful end to your weekend.
Odie

January 15, 2011 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Thinking of the truck as another beast to be maintained is probably a good idea, considering that in another century, it would have been a horse. No, you don't have to feed it every day, but it does need gas and wiper fluid and oil, etc. And water- they both need water. And like shoeing, you have to tend to tires and other things.

Glad you got the sway bar fixed! That has to make a huge difference. I remember as a kid my older brother talking about installing an anti-sway bar in a truck rear-end....sound like they're standard now?

Anyway, I'm glad it all worked out. And that you are content again.

January 15, 2011 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger jim said...

okay gal you have it under control-now make a list of the things the truck still needs and attack this one at a time-this is a critical piece if farm equipt. It will sometime down the road prob need tuned up and a new set of shocks-good snow tires are critical where you live also- if you can knock the items off one at a time then it hopefully will not get to the overwhelming stage-

January 15, 2011 at 9:09 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Yay, I just finished watching Victorian Farm.

January 15, 2011 at 9:15 PM  
OpenID thatsthelife said...

Jenna, do you know how to check and change your truck's own fluids? That's something you can easily do yourself.

As you're learning everything from scratch about lambing and farming, so too must a self-reliant woman learn all about the vehicles she depends upon.

Practice changing tires. Make sure your spare has air in it. See if you can find a spare actual tire, rim and all, which is better than the skinny wheel and will get you to and from work if you blow a tire. Practice putting the chains on by yourself. In snow.

There are lots of books about car maintenance, some even written by and for women. Since we are so dependent upon our vehicles, we must learn to look after them ourselves.

January 15, 2011 at 10:20 PM  
OpenID ruralaspirations said...

Well done on handling this crisis well. One suggestion: perhaps you might consider taking some basic mechanics course? If you had the skill to do basic maintenance and repairs yourself, it would not only save you money but ensure you kept the truck running smoothly while you save.

January 15, 2011 at 10:47 PM  
Blogger Jenny Glen said...

I know one of the reasons you aren't keeping this truck forever is the lack of 4wheel drive but would it help in the mean time if you put chains on it just until you get to a plowed highway? I know that's kinda a pain when you are dressed for work but I thought it might be better than having to call in another snow day to work.

January 15, 2011 at 11:42 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

Glad to hear the Ranger is more road worthy now. Don't forget your tube sand or bags of salt. The extra weight is pretty essential. You'll be fine for the rest of the winter. Even if the Ranger was 4WD, you would need extra weight over the back axle to counter the weight of the transfer case. I know this from experience. I do miss my little Ranger though.

January 16, 2011 at 6:25 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I do have a set of chains and 300+ pounds of tube sand in the back, on top of the bed of frozen snow! She's starting to drive like a hafflinger.

January 16, 2011 at 7:00 AM  
Blogger karl micheal said...

Jenna...keep in mind the things you had to do to the Ranger, are really items that do have to be replaced from time to time. My son has a 2wd Ranger and he has had to get two exhaust systems on his over the years as well as the sway bar on the front replaced. I agree with others on making a list of things that need done, prioritize them and get them done in order of priority when you get the money. Set aside a little money that you can for a vehicle maintenance fund and use it only for the truck. Also, make sure that you can crank down the spare from its position under the truck. Make sure that you can unlock the access to get the long crank bar into the receptacle to crank the spare down. Most Rangers have a full sized spare, but you need to take it down a couple of times a year and clean it up (wash and check the tire, make sure it is properly inflated and even lubricate the mechanism that raises and lowers the spare)and like someone else said practice getting the spare down and out from under the truck. Also, put together a small box of items that might be needed to change the tire (something solid to support the jack on the ground as when you get a flat it is not always somewhere that there is pavement, a pair of gloves, a small light that is either battery powered or with a cord that plugs into the cigar lighter of the truck and anything else you might think of that will help you change the flat). Put all of that stuff in a milk crate (I am sure one of your local stores might let you have one) and keep it inside the cab of the truck. You might even want to at some point get a pair of coveralls to slip on over your clothes if you are on the way to work or out for that special evening. I hope that I have not made this seem like you wouldn't have an idea to do this, but after 32 1/2 years as a police officer and changing my share of flats for motorists (and my own) these are just a few things that I learned over the years. You did good Jenna!!!

January 16, 2011 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

My suggestion is to leave off flushing the transmission. If flushing dislodges small stuff the stuff can lodge in the valve mechanism and stop it up.

Next time buy a truck with a manual transmission.

January 16, 2011 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger LordBaumy said...

Hey, while you are taking care of your animals and your truck and the land and the buildings, don't forget about yourself!!! And the house!!!! Do something nice for yourself today. A walk, a run, a good cup of coffee that you don't need to brew yourself. I was thinking about coming up one weekend in Feb - wanna do anything to the house? Paint, wallpaper, etc - let's do some spring remodeling!!!
- Kate

January 16, 2011 at 10:10 AM  
Blogger finsandfeathers said...

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January 16, 2011 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger finsandfeathers said...

About Powdermilk ;.)

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January 16, 2011 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

I think Charles is right. I know of two people whose vehicle was running well and they were talked into a transmission flush. Next thing they knew things went down hill and they needed new transmissions.
Be sensitive to feelings from the front end too. Rangers seem to need ball joints and other mysterious front end work fairly often.

January 16, 2011 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Goatldi said...

Yes vehicles are most like critters. They require regular care and feed.

Or as I said to my then 18 y.o. daughter when her first car a Toyota died (she was and is still to this day 15 years later the only person I have met who could kill a Toyota) "putting oil in as needed is a good thing." sigh!

January 16, 2011 at 3:09 PM  
Blogger Reason's Whore said...

Yep, things have a way of working out and we cope and life goes on.

You did good. Advice from someone who has not always maintained her vehicles: MAINTAIN YOUR VEHICLE. :)

Regular maintenance is cheaper in the long run. I think you get that now.

January 16, 2011 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Good luck with pig. It so great that you have a moble processer somthing we do not have in oklahoma. I hate having to load everyone up and driving an hour. It's stressfull for me and the animals. Some okie ag laws just do not make sense.

January 16, 2011 at 5:04 PM  
Blogger Stargazer 2 said...

JENNA,
At least you are not main-
taining a 69 year old Chevrolet from another era in World History!!
I can take care of anything on this
vintage truck, & if I could not I
simply could not afford to keep
her because vintage repairs' are
very expensive!!!
Taking a simple maintenance
course as a woman will help kept you from being scammed, & that's worth its weight in what ever you
want to call it!!!
And as you know knowledge is
really power!!!
Great Blog about the upside
& downside of COLD ANTLER FARM in
its infancy!!!
CHEERS with a health drink!!
Ronnie A Very Happy EX Seat Weaver!!!
Startingthe next, & last chapter in my life!!!

January 16, 2011 at 7:12 PM  
Blogger Damn The Broccoli said...

Hey Jenna,
Couple of things spring to mind reading the last couple of posts.

You mention buying ford cause you like American which is fair enough, but in the UK my experience of Fords is they are a low quality product that take a lot of repairs.

If you could stomach buying something like a Toyota pick up, they go for years and need little in the way of running maintenance. In the UK Toyota used to have the best after sales care of any manufacturer and be longer between repairs on average. We do have different models though so things could be different over there and certainly recent troubles for TOyota would make me wary of anything new!

The other thing is it may be worth while you getting some lessons in self repair. You mention paying for topping up fluids which is something I would never dream of doing.

Vehicle maintenance is far easier in most cases than people realise and is so much cheaper. I never pay to have an oil change or my brakes done.

I do however put my car in for a service periodically jsut to make sure that everything is tip top.

An ounce of prevention etc.

Of course if you need to go and buy a full set of tools then this is not so cheap an option, and you have to factor in time as well which can be a struggle but way that up against a £400 bill for instance and it does start to look like a better option.

January 17, 2011 at 3:49 AM  

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