Gasoline Leak!

Don’t you just hate it when your tractor dies in the middle of a field of dry grass, and when you go to investigate, gasoline is gushing over the hot engine? I know I do!

Gas was pouring out of the air cleaner side of the carburetor and out of the the fitting of the bottom of the gas tank as well. Not good!

I took off the gas cap to see what the deal was, and there an enormous “whoosh” and the cap shot up ten feet into the air.

After finding the cap again, I verified that it said “Vented” on it. You couldn’t prove it by me. What the heck? read more...

iPod Touch: Best PDA for Farmers

Cell phones could have been invented for farmers, just to make it possible to get in touch with spouses who are in town on one errand and vector them off on another — for a hundred pounds of chick starter, say. I got my first cell phone after moving back to the country.

Eventually I’ll have an iPhone, but the first rule of rural cell-phones is, “Use the carrier with the strongest signal at your house.” For me, that’s Verizon. For the iPhone, I’d need AT&T, and their signal stinks out here. read more...

Rabbit Resurrection

My 1975 VW Rabbit came home rejuvenated from the shop today. (As I wrote in an earlier post, restoring my 33-year-old Rabbit, which has been in my family since it was new, is the method I’ve chosen for achieving better gas mileage). Its main problem was that it had about a half-inch of rusty sludge in the bottom of the gas tank. This (and the underlying problem of water finding its way into the gas tank) had caused a variety of problems. The good people at the Independent Auto Werks in Corvallis cleaned the tank, blew out the fuel lines, did a partial rebuild of the carburetor (including replacing a clogged idle jet — no wonder it didn’t want to run!), and now the car is running better than it has in years, maybe decades. read more...

“Slime” Tire Self-Sealer Works Great

There’s a tire sealer called “Slime” that works like a charm. On my lawn tractor, the sidewalls on the tires were horribly cracked and the tires were obviously shot. On a whim, I bought a bottle of “Slime” and poured it in according to the instructions, and the horrible tires actually lasted another season with no trouble!

Slime is a green, gooey substance, and some of it actually seeped out of cracks in the sidewall, but it quickly sealed the tires. I’ve since used it to fix leaky tires on a wheelbarrow, hand truck, and, most impressively, on my Ford 640 tractor. Works like a charm. Which is good, because I used to have endless trouble with slow leaks. read more...

Love in the Spring: My new iPod Touch

Things are awfully busy around here, and I was looking for a new PDA (Personaly Desktop Assistant, such as a Palm Pilot) to help me keep my act together. I have an ancient Palm-based Sony Clie, but it’s sort of big and heavy, and anyway I was looking to reduce the number of things I lug around in my shirt pocket — a PDA, an iPod, and a cell phone is too many.

I carry an iPod not for music, but for audiobooks, so I can combine reading time with chore time and driving time. I’ve written about this before. I get most of my audiobooks from audible.com, which is a book club for downloadable audiobooks. read more...