Friday, January 3, 2014

Oh let me tell you the ways . . .

That winter can get on your nerves.
After something like 36 hours of straight snow and 8 degrees below zero F (that is like 25 below zero for you metric folks) the skies cleared long enough to bundle up, go outside and clear the mess.
Shovel the entryway deck clear
and cut a path out to the barn.
And while Annie finishes clearing the deck
I fire up the snow blower and try to keep the wind from driving the snow back on to my face obliterating my view though my glasses.
Got halfway through the job when
The clutch cable on the blower lets go.
 So I string up the machine on the I beam in the Garage
and remove the bottom guard plate on the machine . . . .
only to find that in addition to the broken clutch cable the shear bolt between the drive sprocket and the axle is also broken off.
This happens about 3 or 4 times a season despite it being a grade 8 bolt. So I try to recenter it to punch out the now captive middle piece jammed in the axle.
I usually keep a few on hand but now I cant find any, so I need to go to the hardware store.
but I find the door handle on the driver side of my truck has decided to break and will not open the door . . . oh well climb in the passenger side and open it from that side.
off to the hardware store as I drive past First St.
On to Rt 1, where it seems the sun is finally attempting to make an appearance after something like 3 weeks in hiding.
I get the needed bits at the hardware store and make my way back home only to get stuck in deep snow for about 5 minutes of slipping and spinning.
Back on to Maple Ave looking a bit claustrophobic with the high snow banks
and make it home safely
Fire up the wood stove not so much to warm the garage as at 8 bellow you'd need a jet engine to warm it up, but having a hot stove going helps thaw stuck bolts from you fingers.
and start assembling the bits to make a new clutch cable.
A bit of fiddling and some cursing
and we have a successful crimp
and after 20 more minutes of fussing looks like I have something I can use to replace the broken clutch cable.
half an hour fiddling with the tiny chain links and its in.
Pretty smart if I do say so myself . . . the chain link was an unusual spark of brilliance
Then I drill out the axle shear pin hole for a bigger diameter grade 8 bolt to see if we can keep the bastard from breaking again.
and the new bolt in place
Finish clearing the driveway, the patio and the paths around the house and barn
and start raking the snow off the roof.
and shovel all now hard packed snow I raked off the roof from the deck.
My work is finally done... as I strip my boots and coveralls in the unheated mud room the moisture freezes on the glass.
At least the pigeons are happy
Until they get all wigged out by something or other and a bunch of them scatter. If you will note the red plastic bottle filled with corn has a nylon fishing line attached to it. The line goes from the kitchen window, to the bottle, around the steel pipe and back to the window. This rig I use to spook the squirrels away from the bird seed when they come and hog it all.


  1. Bueno, pensá que en solo 3 meses viene la primavera...

  2. It's nice & warm here in Oregon! Somehow we are avoiding all that cold weather.

    1. It started way to early here this year. Sometimes we don even get snow til beginning of January. We have had 4 big foot or better storms in December alone. Right now anyplace but here is looking attractive. Where abouts in Oregon are you?

    2. McMinnville, in the Willamette valley. About 1/2 way between Portland & Salem. It very rarely snows enough to stick here. It does tend to get wet in the winter though. This year's dry. 50% less rain than last year.

  3. Replies
    1. yes Gorges, I wish I could do like the bears, and simply sleep right though it . . .

  4. What a coincidence, the driver's door of my truck will not open but to take the interior trim off to provide access to the lock mechanism requires the door to be open. Still haven't worked out a non destructive solution yet...

    1. Ugh - - - there has got to be a way to repair that, there must be a way to remove the inside door handle trim without opening it. I am hoping that mine is just iced up and will work again when things thaw out. The truck spent all of its life in it the Florida sun before I bought it last May, so the window seals are all sun baked, split and have some bits missing. Now snow can get inside the door. I tried finding replacements but as it is s 20 yr old truck no one has them. Got some from a later model at the junkyard as it was the best I could source but they are different enough they won't work.

  5. Nice job! No problem Michael things will get better by April /May

    1. yes Dan, April seems like a long ways away right now, and then we have MUD season and bugs to look forward to...

  6. Keep smiling that white stuff could break a lesser man !!! ;)

    1. Yes Brian, I will keep smiling right to the loonie ward ha ha ha ... I keep waiting for all that global warming they blame me about . . . . I mean if I have to bear the blame why can't I at least get the benefits?

  7. You never have much luck with that snow blower! The side door on my van only opens if you have the "knack". I've been meaning to fix it but I guess it's a good thing to deter thieves!
    Not got cold here yet but I'm sure it's coming! Just wet and very windy which is a sod because I'm working on a roof for the next few weeks.

    1. Hey Kev, that's what happens when you buy a Sears Crapsman. The brand leaves a lot to be desired these days. But it was all I could afford 10 yrs ago. Sold the outdoor jacuzzi that came with the house as I could not justify the 50$ a month electric bill on it either and unlike our friend Tom, I was not about to parade in the nude for my neighbors in order to use it. Got 2 thousand for that and ran right over to Sears and bought the riding mower and the blower as a package deal and had to wave the cash in their face and make like I was leaving for them to pull every trick out of the drawer and let me have the mower with the Honda engine and not the B&S one for that price. Both have lasted 10 years so far but every year I have to replace the shear bolt in the drive axle on the snow blower at least twice a winter. And the cables let go with similar frequency. I am mystified why it snaps the grade 8 bolts. It happens shortly after I use the reverse gear to get the machine out of what ever hole its got stuck in. I always face the dilemma, Do I wrench my shoulders out of their sockets yanking on the machine or do I use the reverse gear? Hopefully with the bigger bolt it will last longer, But with my luck it likely will shear the axle off as the hole in it is now bigger. I am surprised the engine has held together on it this long with no significant problems. The truck door now has a length of parachord running from the inside handle to the outside, I just have to remember to lead it outside before I close the door. And get brave and make a more permanent repair.
      PS: for what it is worth, it looks like I have been hit by a spambot posting nonsensical comments about "cable blowing machine" with links on my blog... they don't get through cause I have to approve all comments but be wary.

    2. I get lots of spam from "Birmingham tree services" that I have to delete all the time. I'd like to find their address and send them lots of spam (the real kind).
      I'm not sure if you'd laugh or cry if it took the axel off!