I have the best brother

And he has the best wife.

It’s coming up on 4pm as I write this. We’ve actually started to cool down slightly. We’re now at 31C/88F, and the “feels like” is down to 34C/93F My daughter was keeping an eye on the temperatures, and she saw us at 32C/90F, and feeling like 38C/100F while we were still working outside.

Before they arrived, I did a bit of cleaning up of dead lilac, as the branches would be in the way as we mowed.

This corner of the storage house is usually hidden by the lilacs. It’s looking quite naked right now! Not a lot survived last year’s flooding, but there is plenty of new growth at the bottom, so it will recover soon enough.

This pile is just the lilac I cut away, none of the other trees trying to grow against the storage house. I did cut a few live branches. One was by accident. Other, much smaller, ones got cut because it was the only way to reach the dead ones they were next to.

When they arrived, I was surprised to see they brought two riding mowers. I didn’t know they even had two riding mowers! One has two blades on it, and that was the one I was expecting to see. It turns out they don’t use the smaller one much, but have it because it fits in between trees the bigger one can’t get through. They also brought a push mower and, as usual, my brother loaded the back of his truck with all sorts of tools and equipment. After many years coming out here, once a week, to help our late father with stuff, my brother learned he could not count on the tools and equipment he needed to still be on the farm. Even then, our vandal was “borrowing” things and not returning them. Of course, now, we’re about one step ahead of the stone ages, so he comes out loaded for bear!

Once the mowers were unloaded, I went to finish using the weed trimmer around the house, then switched to their push mower to do the tighter spaces while they worked on the inner and outer yards. Even their big mower, however, couldn’t do much in the area in front of the barn, where we had no been able to mow at all last year. That layer of thatch hidden under the fresh grass is just too thick. Enough was done, however, to leave me with a generous amount of dry clippings to use as mulch!

They were also able to mow the sides of the driveaway right to the fence lines, and continues the lane past the pump shack, all the way to the warehouse shed. Then my brother even mowed a path past some of the Korean Pine we planted in the outer yard, nearer the fire pit, all the way to the secondary gate.

I kept on using the push mower in the tighter spaces, and almost ran over this surprise.

I haven’t seen a Lady’s Slipper orchid in years! I certainly would never have expected to find one in the maple grove!

Once the push mowing was done, my brother got me to show him which 4 trees I wanted to have cut down, before showing me how to use the smaller riding mower. My SIL and I worked on the old garden area, which is really rough, while he worked on bringing down the trees.

That turned out to be a bigger deal than expected!

First, he brought out his gas powered weed trimmer – yes, he brought one of those, too! – to clear around the base of the dead trees a bit. Then he tried to first use his gas powered chainsaw. It hasn’t been used in a while, but it started.

Then it stopped, and would not start again!

He had a back up, of course. He brought out his battery powered chainsaw. With that, he was able to finish cutting down the first tree, then two more. The battery died while cutting down the 4th one. It was almost all the way through, so he went and got his extended pole chainsaw, which has only a 10 inch blade. It was enough to finish cutting the tree.

It didn’t fall.

The very tip of it was hung up on another dead tree.

By this time, my SIL and I had finished mowing. I had even manged to get a bit more done near the barn, but when even doing just a few inches at a time got to be too much for it and it died, I stopped. The rest is going to have to be done with the push mower.

It would have taken me days to get even half of all this done, without their help!

Of course, we did stop for breaks, hydration and food. Sitting in the shade with a breeze, it was actually quite nice out. The moment the wind stopped, or we stepped into the sun, though, it was like being in an oven!

After one of our breaks, we all went to see what was going on with the stuck tree. My brother ended up using a ladder to tie a rope as high as he could on it, and we tried to pull it loose. No go. We eventually brought out our electric chain saw, and he was able to free it up a bit more, and then we could finally get it moving.

Only for it to get stuck on another tree.

That was it, though. I have enough to start with.

It was while we were dealing with this when I started hearing a strange meowing sound from the lilac bush behind me. A bit of searching, and I found a familiar looking pair of ears above the deep grass.

Judgement was back!

I haven’t seen Judgement since the day before we got the email response from the vet, about how to bring him in without an appointment. After all this time, I was sure a coyote had got him.

He is not limping, either.

He seemed a bit standoffish at first, but eventually let me pet him. Then he followed me around for a while.

Before packing things up, my brother serious considered taking down the dead spruce tree closest to the house. That tree finally died just a couple of years ago. In the end, though, he didn’t dare take it down. There wasn’t much of a wind, but it would have been pushing against the direction the tree needed to fall. He considered having it fall the other way, but then it would have landed on top of a huge maple branch leaning over the north yard.

So that tree was left alone for now.

They still had one more surprise for me before they loaded the riding mowers onto the trailer and left.

They realized how ridiculous it would be for me to keep up on the lawn with just a push mower. Between the weather and all the other, higher priority jobs that need to be done, it would be near impossible for me to keep up just what was mowed today.

They left the smaller riding mower for us to use, and my brother took the Bolens they bought for us our first summer here, and will see if he can fix it.

The shop I’d taken it to basically told me it wasn’t worth the cost to fix it, because it would be expensive, but would not be a permanent fix. We have neither the equipment, nor the knowledge, to do it ourselves. Heck, we don’t even have a safe way to work under it.

So we now have a riding mower, about the same size as the old Bolens mower, to help keep up on the lawns!

Did I mention, my brother and his wife are the best?

They are totally the best.

Meanwhile, the storms the weather apps said we might have, did not come even close to materializing. We’re going to have to do some deep watering this evening!

As for me, I can’t barely keep my eyes open as I write this.

I think, however, I will go cut myself an aloe vera leaf and make good use of the gel before I give in to the heat!

The Re-Farmer

Well, that didn’t happen as planned!

Oy. What a day!

My main goal for the day, having used the weed trimmer all over the inner yard for the past two days, was to get the mowing done. So I checked over the riding mower, topped up the oil (it burns through oil rather quickly) and the gas, and got it going. I didn’t even have to recharge the battery this time. 😉

I barely got 30 feet of actual mowing when it simply stopped.

Not the motor. That was still running. It just stopped moving.

The chain has fallen off again.


I didn’t want to deal with it then. Putting the chain back and tightening it is not an issue. The problem is finding a safe way to access it, with the materials we have.

No worries. I broke out the push mower. It would mean a LOT of walking, but I don’t mind that.

My husbands prescription refills were due to be delivered, so I had the gate open for the driver. I decided this was a good time to mow outside the gate.

Which is where I found these.

Little puffball mushrooms!

I’d run over a couple with the mower, but once I realized they were there, I worked around them. They are edible at this stage, but I am leaving them be. I’d rather they reach the spore stage and spread. 🙂 They are so small, I’d rather get an area infused with the Giant Puffball spores we have, and hopefully be able to have steak sized mushroom slices. 😀

After mowing the area on either side of the driveway outside the gate, I started working on the level area between the fence and the ditch. The far end of this is where we want to spread the pollinator wildflower mix of seeds we have, so I wanted to start preparing the area by mowing it, and cutting away the saplings that are starting to spread into there. I really don’t want that area to get filled with trees. That was allowed to happen on the other side of the driveway, and it really affects visibility.

I started cutting along the the barbed wire fence first. Where it was open enough, I would even go under the wire a bit.

I didn’t even get halfway down the length of the fence, when I somehow managed to get the barbed wire stuck in the mower. It slid over the top of the plastic cover the air filter fits into, then somehow managed to slide in between the plastic cover and the motor, getting stuck.

So I shut the mower off and fought with the wire, trying to get it out. A barb was basically right in the middle, and kept catching, but every time I tried to move the mower so the barb would be at a wider gap, it would roll right back again as soon as I tried to use both hands to get the wire out.

Eventually, I got it out, but in the gap, I could see a couple of wire pieces had come loose.

Of course, it wouldn’t start after that.

After fussing with it for a bit, I took the mower back to the garage so I could take the cover off. After fighting with it for a while, I realized I would have to take off the plastic cover with the air filter, but I couldn’t for the life of me see how it detached. Also, while I could see where the end of one wire piece was supposed to be attached, I couldn’t see where the other one was supposed to be attached. The user manual had nothing about the engine. I went online to try and find a diagram, but while I found some with one of the pieces – which I finally found a name for; a governor control arm – none had both. For my specific brand of mower, all I could find was a pdf version of the owners manual I already had. I knew the general location the piece was supposed to be attached, but I could not see what and where it was supposed to hook up.

This was the point that I decided I needed some guidance. I was able to contact my brother and his wife and arrange to go over. The timing worked out perfectly. I was just starting to load the lawn mower into the van when the driver arrived with the prescriptions.

I’m glad I did.

My brother has the lovely set up that allowed us to work on the mower at a comfortable height. They also had company, so I had two people available to figure it out! 🙂

After taking the cover off the air filter and checking out what was loose, we had to take the whole piece off. It turns out there was a reason I couldn’t see how it was removed. The screws were hidden under the air filter.

I have to admit, I actually felt rather encouraged when neither of them could figure it out at first, either! 😀

Here was the problem.

Once it was open, my brother was able to get the end of what turned out to be the control arm for the choke, back where it belonged. The green arrow is where it had come loose, and it was a pain in the butt to get back into place!

The governor control arm is the piece below. The end with the purple arrow had been in the hole on the governor where the other purple arrow is pointing. That end had still been attached.

The other end had been attached somewhere around where the blue arrow is pointing. Somewhere around there, there should have been a hole for the end of the control arm to slide into.

After much searching and moving things as much as could be done without having to unhook the fuel line, we came to a conclusion.

The reason we couldn’t find where it was supposed to be attached, was because something had to have broken off. We couldn’t actually see what looked like the rough edge of broken plastic, but there could be no other possibility.

My brother was determined to get it going for me, with at least a temporary fix. After searching around among his supplies, he found a length of ceiling tile wire. He used it to create a small loop for the control arm, then wrapped it around that plastic part the blue arrow is pointing to, under another control arm with a spring on it (not visible in the photo). I can’t remember the name of that one, anymore.

Once the wire loop was attached, it was still difficult to get the end of the governor control arm in place. That thing has no flexibility! Eventually he got it, though. Then everything was put back together, and the mower got tested out.

It started like a dream. Even better than when I’d started it earlier!

There is still the possibility that the wire might vibrate out of position or something, but that gives me time to try and find the part. Which is going to be a bit of a challenge, since none of us have any idea what it’s called.

By the time that was done, I got invited to stay for supper, which was very sweet of them. 🙂 Especially since supper included smoked ribs! 😀 I didn’t want to stay too long, though, as I knew it would be dark before I got home, and this time of year, there are a lot of deer crossing the highways.

Once home, it was full dark, and I didn’t even bother unloading the mower. I’ll leave that for tomorrow.

I think, however, I will finish mowing the inner and outer yards first, before moving back to the strip along the road!

The Re-Farmer

A wild morning – but I have my new “toy”!

Wouldn’t you know it, since I was planning on heading out early, I ended up not being able to sleep at all last night.

Which is why I was awake when the edges of the predicted storms passed us by. At about 5am, the winds picked up like crazy, there was some rain and quite a light show, but that was it. We did lose internet a few times, too.

In the end, I managed about an hour of sleep before I quickly did my morning rounds. No time for kitty pictures. Sorry!

The first thing I saw when I stepped outside was this…

One of the dead branches from an elm finally came down.

Aside from the usual small, mostly willow, branches scattered about the yard, there was only one other larger branch that came down.

This is such a huge improvement from our first summer out here!

My mothers flowers seemed to really like the rain. The patch of lilies is starting to open up now. 🙂

Such a cheerful colour!

After I rushed through the morning routine, I headed out to a small city, somewhat closer than the city we usually go to, for our monthly shopping. After doing some searching online of the several hardware stores we could go to, including the local ones, I ended up settling on Canadian Tire. Thanks to Father’s Day sales and the incredible generosity of a friend (you know who you are! You’re the best!!), I was able to afford a higher end machine that we otherwise would have.

I made a point of getting a photo of my screen, so I could show an employee exactly what I was after, if needed. It was needed! There was no display model I was after, so the employee went to their storage area to bring it out for me on a flat cart.

When I bought our electric snow blower, I got their last one in stock, and just wheeled it out of the store. Somehow, I expected to do that same today, but nope! It was in a rather large box. 😀

While checking out, the cashier said she would call someone to help me load it into the van. She ended up paging someone several times. The box wasn’t really that heavy, so I was considering just letting her know I’d do it myself, when a guy showed up. As he was loading it into the van, he asked if I had oil.

I did, but I asked if there was a specific kind of oil I should have.

It turns out, I don’t have it. So I was really glad I ended up with this guy helping out. He also just happened to be a mechanic, and was soon telling me about which oils I could use, and which was the one he used and recommended himself. All my other machines, including the van, use 5W30, which he said would be a bit thin. For this machine, he recommended 30. Which I didn’t even realize was a thing. I ended up going back into the store after him and he found some for me. Once again, I was glad, because 1) it was at the opposite end of the store from the lawnmower sections and 2) I’m short. He was able to reach it more me. 😀

Once at home, it was assembly time!

Here are all the parts and pieces. 😀

All done, and filled with oil and fuel!

Among the things I discovered as I went through the owners manual before starting it, was that it has no prime pump, which is awesome. When I was ready to test it out, I discovered it is also raised and lowered by a lever at one wheel, instead of a lever at each wheel. So much easier!

The mower started with the first pull, and I barely even had to strain! With the heat (it’s currently 30C/89F, feeling like 36C/96F) right now, I did just a quick couple of passes.

It runs like a dream!!! I am so happy!

Then I put it away, because while it’s already 30C right now, we haven’t reached the high of the day, yet!

We have more thunderstorms predicted tonight, but I’m hoping to have a cooler break this evening, where I can put the new mower through it’s paces.

I am so looking forward to using this thing!!!

The Re-Farmer