Monday, November 14, 2011

Breaking And Fixing Things

My wife normally walks the youngest to the bus stop, but since I was home today, it fell to me. As usual when the weather is nice, the dog accompanied us. After the girl got on the bus, I noticed that the dog was limping along next to me. I felt under the paw she seemed to be favoring and there was a little broken acorn stuck in the pads. I cleared it and she immediately started walking normally. She is not the kind of animal who could live on her own in the wild. If she did run away from us, I am pretty sure she would befriend some human, that would take her in and feed her.

The day was perfect for gathering and disposing of leaves and so I set-about that, using a leaf grinder that we have. It works pretty well: You can run it at full power and blow the leaves into a pile and then lower the hopper and rake leaves directly into it. There is even a bag that can be placed over the outlet so that the ground-up leaves can be piled-up for composting. I ran it for only about half an hour before it started making a violent sound and shuddering. I shut it off and investigated the mechanism. It was FUBAR'ed--at least beyond repair until parts could be obtained. The grinding mechanism consists of a bunch of steel flails that can pivot on thick steel posts and the whole thing rotates on a large open drum. At least one post was knocked-out and at least two flails were sheared off. There were no rocks or other damaging materials inside the works, so I can only surmise that parts, weakened over time, finally broke.

There was plenty else to do, so I got cracking on those. A large branch that broke in the recent nor'easter was hanging over part of the driveway. Most cars have either a hard tie-down point or come equipped with a eye bolt that you can screw into your bumper via an access port. So I used that, along with some rope I had, to pull the branch of Damocles down. The chainsaw made the branch into manageable pieces and it all joined the rest of the pile from the snow storm a few weeks ago.

Next, the swing set. A large branch had caused one of the swivels to break-off and so now one of the swings was hanging by only one chain. Even though the swivel had broken off, there was still the top part of that piece of hardware--so a chain could be reattached. I didn't want to do that though because the swivels have a nylon bushing in them which allows for smooth swinging action. Luckily there are other attachments that don't really need to swing and I used the same swivels for everything. I just switched out the swivel from an adjacent trapeze with the one from the swing. It was tedious though--the bolts are threaded for their whole eight inches or so and had to be screwed all the way out and then all the way back in.

Next, wasn't really a repair, but still it was stuff I did: I hauled all of the bikes and a wagon as well as a unicycle from out of the front porch/alcove to a loft in the garage. Now it is nice and neat there. While I was crawling around in the loft, I came across a hand cart that has had a flat tire for years. Today was the day to do something about it. The hub of the wheel was in two parts and held together by four bolts. Once these were off, it was easy to pull out the old inner tube. I took it with me to the hardware store so that I would get the right one. The new one is installed and functioning perfectly.

No comments: