Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bambi lost her slipper!

Or some other more creative, more appropriate metaphor for "Bambi got a flat." I had just finished my arrival routine (consisting of unlocking, warming up and rolling out Bambi, attaching the front bucket, unloading and refueling the chainsaw, and spraying my ankles with OFF) and was heading to my most recent clearing site. I was backing up to the one of the trees I had previously felled so I could continue the pulling out of these dominated cedars. As I hop off of Bambi, I glance at the front tire and I see a "stick" poking out at an ominous angle. I've gotten in the habit of quickly checking the tires any time I walk by because it's not uncommon to find a wicked mesquite thorn starting to burrow. Normally, these are shallow wounds that don't break all the way through, so I can pull them out to prevent any further burrowing without any damage. Well, this latest "stick" was what looked like a 2 inch nail, but turned out to be a 3 inch nail. Ouch. I reached for it hoping it really was only 2 inches long, but as I grab and wiggle it I hear air rushing out. Crap! The tractor is running, so I quickly lower the bucket so the front tires barely come off the ground, and then shut the tractor off. The last thing I want is to have the tire go flat and come off the wheel with the weight of the tractor. I go ahead and rip out the nail and curse as I see the additional inch of metal slide out. Needless to say, this tire was not going to stay inflated for long. So, I went to get the remaining quart of Slime, my $7 air compressor from Harbor Freight, and my portable power source. 30 minutes and several curse words later, the tire is inflated and holding air. I've used the Slime several times for mesquite thorn punctures, but this was the biggest puncture yet. So far, I've been pretty impressed with the stuff.

The rest of the day went without any more drama, and I was able to get some more of our "pasture" cleared out. Jenna stopped for a little while and brought the dogs for a swim. They had a good time, as expected. It never ceases to amaze me how fearless and carefree they can be. When I see the pond, I see a potential water snake haven and a bacteria breeding ground. Winston, on the other hand, immediately jumps in, swims to the deepest part among the floating branches, and starts biting the floating sticks. I envy the lack of concern and worry.

Lastly, Dewayne made an impromptu visit. It had been a while since we'd chatted, so it was good to see him. He hadn't come by in a while, so his comment of "wow, you guys have made a lot of progress" was gratifying. Even if he was just being polite, I appreciate that kind of support. Since we make such small changes each time we go out, the progress feels amazingly slow. But after he left, I did stop and take stock. We have done some damage, so that felt good. Thanks Dewayne.

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