When we first bought this place we call our home, it was so overgrown that we had to hire a young man with a bush hog attachment on his tractor to come out and cut the field. The house sat at the head of four plus acres of grass, weeds and forest. The drive and postage stamp size front and back yards were all that was cleared. There were young scrub oaks and sweet gum trees mixed throughout the grassy/weedy sections that would have destroyed a mower.
The young man came out with his tractor and his rat terrier. He told us the dog was a working dog and invited us to stand back and watch him do his thing. The fact that only one mouse was captured and dispatched to his maker should have been a clue that there was a large cat population in the area. After the young man was finished, the property looked better. Not good. Just better. What we needed was a hay rake.
While the contractor was renovating the house, we spent our days raking by hand. We had never had the need for a riding mower before and we had purchased a small used Sears tractor to begin doing some actual lawn cutting. I was excited to be able to ride the mower and cut the grass (I’ll drive anything, it’s a passion). So, we had finished the raking and I climbed on the mower and started to work. That ride was so rough I accused someone of throwing rocks in the yard. My back ached from the torturous yard trip I’d made. Now, we had also purchased a brand spanking new 48 inch cut Husqvarna tractor that Mac wasn’t quite ready to use yet. I remember when it was delivered how he petted and polished it, read the book about its operation and studied the manual as though it was a latest best seller.
The next time it came time for mowing, Mac grabbed his hat and went out to the shed. He got on the tractor and turned over the engine, smooth sound said he. Loud sound said I. But it did a great job. After finishing up the yard, he got a damp rag and went over the tractor and cleaned all the dust from her orange paint job. He cleaned the headlights and rinsed off the mower deck. I clucked in disgust and went back inside. The next day he wanted to go to Lowe’s. It seemed his new tractor needed a trailer attachment to help him gather up grass and limbs in the garden. So he got his trailer. We took it off the truck and hooked it up to the tractor so he could admire it. He promised that I would be able to drive this one soon. As soon as he was through driving it, I assumed.
This week Mac began to worry about his precious baby, his tractor. He said the engine was surging and he didn’t like the sound of it. Now, he has tuned up that tractor, changed blades, spark plugs and just taken wonderful care of her since she first became a member of his motor pool, the one thing he had not been able to do was learn to pronounce its name.
“Hasputin,” he would ask?
“No, Husqvarna, ” I replied.
“Husqvarna!” I repeated. He thought it over, looked at the name as it was written on the front of the hood.
“Husvention!” he said proudly.
I took a deep breath and wrote down on a piece of paper, husk-VAR-na, he looked at what I had written and repeated “Husqvarna, why didn’t you say so?”
So, I called the tractor repair place in Hartsville and told them we had a problem with the mower and needed to bring it in. I explained that the trailer was large enough to fit the tractor, but that it wouldn’t fit with the mower deck attached.
“Oh, that’s easy enough. It’s just held on with five clips. Look at the top of the deck and you’ll see them. Most people drop the deck to change their mower blades.” He swore it was a simple task.
I repeated his instructions to Mac, who nodded and agreed that it sounded like a simple thing.
The first day he walked around the tractor and after having found the clips, told me that two of them had been put in upside down and it was going to be a job getting them out. He checked that the mower had gas in the tank and cleaned it again, and thought about those upside down clips.
The second day we went out and I had a container (that I hope to be able to locate when needed) for the pins he was going to remove. It was 9 a.m. He got the first three clips off with no problem. Those upside down ones proved to be a bit more complicated. When he finally got them off, we tried to disengage the deck. No way. No how. Mac went and got the manual and discovered that in addition there were two pins that had to be removed. He located them and began that little chore. After a bit and a search for penetrating oil was completed, the pins were removed and the deck dropped down easily. Mac put the tail gate to the trailer down and drove it onto it. It was now 12 noon.
“So, that mechanic told you that it was an easy job?” he asked. I nodded yes, “I want to see him when we get there, ” he said, his voice a bit sullen. “Why?” I asked. Shaking his head and putting his hat on he said, “because I want to punch him right in the mouth!”
— Sandi McBride is a resident of Jefferson, who blogs regularly and enjoys her garden and her furry and feathered friends. She is a wife and mother of two sons.