Gardening, Mechanic-ing, and Lumberjacking

Yesterday I was a mechanic and a landscape artist. The landscape part was fairly straight forward and didn’t provide anything new for me in the way of knowledge. It was simply a matter of removing most of the green growing things along the west side of our garage. There were challenges, however, because this form of artistry hasn’t been done in that location, to the degree I attained yesterday, since we took up residency. I took out pretty much everything except the group of flowers, the name of which I can’t remember, the baby’s breath, and the Andromeda bush. I have to admit that I did extract a great deal of Baby’s Breath before determining it wasn’t really a weed. During this process I discovered that Baby’s Breath erupts from the ground from one really long horizontal root. Really interesting. Most of the other stuff was just grass, dandelions, and interesting curly cue corms that produce a lot of roots, nice leaves and pretty flowers. The corms themselves look a little like flying saucers with tentacles. I saved all the ones I pulled up so Diane can plant them wherever she wants. The corms are the consistency of potatoes. Maybe we can eat them. Might have to try that.

Before playing gardener, I played mechanic and I learned two things that will come in handy in my future life, I’m sure. This knowledge was imparted while working on the ’73 Winnebago. The goal for that was to make it run so it could be moved out of the way of today’s lumberjack activities, the details of which will be forthcoming a little later.

The first thing I discovered, after installing batteries into the RV, was that the 12V system powering the domestic lights. There wasn’t, however, power to the 12V system that made the engine run. No ignition, no running lights, no headlights, tail lights, things like that. So, it became a troubleshooting evolution to determine why. After three trips under the rig, in the vicinity of the battery tray,  I emerged each time a little more wise about the way electricity works in a Winnebago, and that the position of the driver’s oversize rearview mirror doesn’t move, even when you bang your head into it. I discovered the mirror thing three times, on the exact same spot on the right side of my forehead. That’s how I discovered it doesn’t move. If it did, it would have hit in different spots each time, but it didn’t. It’s really sore.

On the second trip under the rig I discovered the value of a fusible link. That’s something  like a real fuse that blows up if it’s exposed to too much electricity. According to the wiring schematics, which I can actually read, there are two fusible links connected to the circuit very near the batteries. The one I found was destroyed, like blown to bits, and I immediately remembered a time last fall when I was attempting to connect newly recharged batteries. There was a little spark on connecting the second cable of the battery. It looked like success at the time, but but turns out the corroded cables I connected were both of the positive wires thereby making a direct short across the battery terminals. The fact that the battery didn’t implode was because the connectors were corroded. That was good news. I’m pretty sure this had a profound effect o there fusible link.

Not having a fusible link to replace the one that crumbled in my hands, I took two short 12 gauge wires from some wire I had in the basement. I twisted them together and installed them in place of the blown fusible link. This creative solution is temporary, of course, unless I forget. But, it worked. The old Winnebago cranked right up, smooth as a sewing machine.

After it warmed up, I put it in gear and pulled it out of its old home, and headed for its new spot across the street. It was exciting to learn the brakes worked because the last time I drove it, they didn’t, and I ran into the house. You may remember that from a previous post. Or not.

I got it parked, but not exactly where I wanted it because the old truck was in the way. I couldn’t move it because the battery died a couple of days ago, and when I put a recharged one in the started gear didn’t mesh well with the flywheel, and ground off the tops of a few teeth. This created a situation where I found it necessary to shim up the outer bolt on the starter in order to rotate the gears into closer proximity. Happily that was the solution and the truck started, then died. It was out of gas, this time, so I took care of that, and got it running. The fact that it sounds a bit like an old John Deere tractor isn’t a problem, yet. It runs, and I got it moved.

Then I ended the day doing the gardening mentioned above.

Today I found the electric chain saw, oiled it up, adjusted it, and went to work cutting down all the trees within reach of our green extension cord. That’s not true or I would have taken down the birch tree out front. I think it’s a birch. I just removed the 20 cedar trees between us and our west side neighbors. It looks a bit naked right now, but that will change once the fence goes up.

That’s a project for another day, after the new neighbors take up residency at the end of May.

Now I’m tired and Diane said I have to go to bed.

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