29 July 2011

Mechanical arts

The venerable and normally ultra-reliable Ford 1710 tractor ate its water pump a few weeks ago. After much head-scratching and adequate procrastination, Mr. Fuzzy bit the bullet and removed the offending appendage on Tuesday. Right on time, UPS delivered the replacement pump at 3:35. A Ford pump would have cost $365 -or- an OEM pump at $102. Is that a no-brainer? The real difference between the two: the Ford part is Ford blue and the OEM pump is left metal-bright.

The engine itself is a three cylinder diesel made in Japan (Shibaura) and is amazingly economical with fuel. Producing 23.5 HP, it can easily pull a double plow through the heavy clay of Floyd County.

On Wednesday, Mr. Fuzzy mounted the new part and except for a leak or two where the old hose clamps were dodgy, all went back together smoothly - thank goodness. It must be said that Ford designed the radiator assembly to be easily unmounted, a necessity for working on the fan/water pump.

The engine block minus the water pump, radiator and assorted water hoses---

Mr. Fuzzy's father, a fine man throughout, was however, mechanically challenged by the simple turn-crew. Thankfully in his teenage years, during the era of street rods and hot rods (not to mention rat finks), youthful Mr. Fuzzy (yes, there was such a time, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth) learned about engines and their performance from Roland Story and Paul Ezell, two of the finest drag racers in the state of Kentucky during the earliest years of said sport. In addition to being true native mechanical geniuses, they were kind, wonderful men. Their instruction hath saved Mr. Fuzzy from many an unscrupulous mechanic and allowed him, when facilities and tools were present, to perform many engineering acts on his cars and trucks. Thank you most kindly, good sirs, for those summers of patient tutelage many spare parts ago.

new water pump (shiny!) in place, at work-

14 July 2011

full bloom

Apologies for the dearth of postings, dearest loyal readers, but there just hasn't been much going on at the farm - this has been the "dog days of summer." There is a superb daylily farm only a couple of miles away and the plants we purchased a year ago have established themselves nicely and are in their finest form right now. I submit them (and one geranium) for your approval.

N.B.: Mr. Fuzzy's Kentucky hometown was the hottest place in America yesterday with a heat index reading of 123 yesterday. The Fuzzies are content to dwell in the Blue Ridge mountains rather than the Ohio Valley, oh yes indeed, they are...

02 July 2011

Obituary for Salvadora Sebright

Salvadora Sebright
26 April 2010- 2 July 2011

Salvadora was hatched on May 26th, 2010, at the Murray McMurray Hatchery in Webster City, Iowa. When she was a day old, she came to live at Stratheden Farm. Salvadora was a perfect example of a Sebright bantam chicken and then some - she was the only curious, smart, responsive to humans chicken Mr. Fuzzy has ever seen. If the shop door was open, even if the chop saw was whaling away at wood, she would come in and sit to watch what was going on. She was a strong flyer, unlike most chickens, and would effortlessly hop up on Mr. Fuzzy's hand or Mrs. Fuzzy's shoulder for some attention.

Sebrights have the reputation of being poor mothers but Sal was far and away the Best Mother in the entire coop. She raised Cheepers from a day old and both was affectionate with him and taught him well. At the time she was killed, she was incubating nine eggs (hers and other hens'). She was at a tremendous disadvantage in a nesting box on eggs, totally unable to maneuver, however, the spread of her feathers outside indicated she put up a valiant fight when dragged from the coop.

She was a truly game bird and not intimidated by much. When an eagle roosted in a tree in front of the shop, the Roosters drove the hens and smaller roosters underneath the shop while they (three large Dominiques) stood in the open, almost wing to wing, loudly challenging the eagle. The only other bird that stood with them was tiny Salvadora.

Early on Saturday morning, July 2nd, a raccoon forced open the door on the chicken coop, attacking the hens on eggs in their nesting boxes as well as all the flightless, frizzled, bantams. Perishing with our little girl in the attack were two roosters, Guido and Horace the Hopeful, and hens Blackie, Squeaky (on eggs for a third try,) and Curly.

She leaves behind her stepson, Cheepers, who began crowing this very day.

Two large Cochin hens were also attacked but were not seriously harmed.

Mr. Fuzzy and his friend, Mr. Ruger, hope to greet that raccoon tonight when it comes back for the wee pile of half incubated eggs that it left on Sal's nest. Mrs. Fuzzy has left them as bait outside of the coop door...

Salvadora's empty nesting box