Maintaining and Repairing Gardening Equipment
The July and August weather was very hot, humid and dry on the Texas Coast this year. As soon as I stepped outside, my clothes would become soaked in sweat, and my breathing would be labored and exhausting after a few minutes of work.
The only thing growing in the garden besides the tall grass and weeds was the Okra. I quit drenching the okra in liquid molasses and using Spray-N- Grow in early July. By mid-August, the okra started to die. The Root Knot Nematodes took over. The 12 plants of Star of David, which are over 10 feet tall, are the only okra still producing some pods here on September 10, 2018.
A year ago on August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport with 140 mph winds spinning off small tornados. The grief reminder of loss and hard work of recovery plus the drought and high humidity of July/August sucked all of the creative energy and willfulness out of me to garden or write my blog. Then during the last week of August, the mower below the deck of my small tractor lost the power lift. The rains had started and I needed to mow.
Through the 11 years of owning the 18 HP tractor, I had done all the oil and air filter changes and the required lubrications of the tractor, front end loader, and mower. I had never changed the mower blades. The mower was too heavy for me to take off the tractor. This breakdown of the mower pressured me into action. I made an appointment with the tractor dealer’s service department, rented a trailer to carry the tractor, and got to the service department 45 miles away by 7:45 AM. The service manager had the mower fixed and all the lubes done and filters changed for 400 hours of use by 11 AM. The old mower blades which are about 2.5” wide new were worn down to points at the tips like an air plane propeller. These blades were tearing the grass instead of cutting it. I ordered a new plastic hood and engine cover because of cracks and missing pieces. The service manager told me I needed to use Pledge on the plastic regularly because the sun evaporates the oil resins. The tractor mows wonderfully, but now we are having rain every day in September. The ground is too wet to mow. Ironic!
This crisis reminded me that I need to change the oil and air filters on my small tiller, weed eater and shredder which are all 4 cycle. I have a hard time remembering when I last changed the oil and filters, but I am sure it was not last year after the hurricane. Wow! High winds and age have affected my memory. The tractor has an hour meter and a printed maintenance manual to check off. The smaller machines don’t have either of those, although their manuals have some suggestions.
Machines need good care and treatment just like plants do.