Saturday, November 16, 2019

Maintenance and Upkeep

As is not uncommon, a number of pop-up tasks have, well, popped up over the last ten days or so. They're the kind of tasks which which only rarely represent any kind of emergency, yet are things which almost always need to be addressed immediately or within a few hours at most. I like to think of these things as living -- or at least animated -- creatures, lurking in the shadows and in clever hiding places, biding their time and waiting for an opportunity to spring out and drag me down just as I'm in the middle of a VIT, or Very Important Task. VIT's are routine but are tasks which must be done each day, and must be done correctly and completely. Checking cows and water, for instance. 

That way of thinking about unanticipated pop-up tasks is for my own amusement only, for pop-up tasks are only in rare instances actually surprising. When I imagine them as lurking predators I'm actually giving myself a bit of grief, along the lines of, "If that had been a snake it would have bitten you right on the..."

The truth about these pop-up tasks is that they are almost exclusively back-burner items which have simmered long enough and now must be finished.

All of the foregoing is meant to set the stage for this; I've not produced very good posts of late, and I recognize the fact for what it is. It makes me uncomfortable. I'm struggling with some family dynamics just now, and that's, well, a struggle. The hardest part of the struggle there is actually me. I know very well that there's a difference between what I can control and what I can't. In simple terms, I can control me, and that's it. Whenever I seek to control others it's a failure, and there's a great danger of violating my core principles and beliefs. THERE. BE. DRAGONS! Fortunately for me TBGWABMO stands ever ready to rescue me and set me back upon the proper path.

All of the foregoing is meant to set the stage for this; I've not produced very good posts of late, and I recognize the fact for what it is. It makes me uncomfortable. This blog thing is part of me too, and the relationship I have with you readers is important in and of itself and represents relationships I cherish.

The point I think I'm trying to make is that in a very real sense it's all important. Everything I do is part of my life, and it all deserves my own respect and the giving of a good solid effort.

Hope that doesn't sound too cryptic or goofy. Sometimes spelling things out like this helps to clarify and solidify my scattered thoughts. In this way you readers -- my friends -- do me a large favor indeed, and for that you all have my thanks and gratitude.


The story of today is fairly simple. My major task was to get the bobcat running again after leaving it in the middle of an oil change.

Things started at the hardware store for no particular reason.

Leaving equipment in the middle of an oil change is really not the best way to go, and I know it. Sometimes you have no choice though, as pop-up tasks come to the fore and other challenges crop up. On this particular job it was both a pop-up task -- quickly handled -- and an unanticipated challenge. Anyway, how 'bout a video? This is how the oil change works.

Not exactly the same model but close. The unanticipated problem was that the oil filter stuck and I crushed it while trying to make do with the wrong size filter wrench. Ever hear the old adage, there's never enough time to do it right but there's always enough time to do it over? Yeah, that's me. The fuel filter was stuck too.

The problem with the stuck filters arises from the fact that the ranch equipment was owned and maintained by my Dad, and he wasn't into the whole routine/preventative maintenance thing. Given that, I let things slide myself rather than choosing to die over and over on a hill I would never be able to take. It's not an excuse, no one held a gun to my head and made me do it that way. And at the end of the day it doesn't matter because we have to live in and deal with the world the way it is, period.

Once I'd purchased another proper tool and added it to my tool box, changing the filters went the way things usually go when you use the correct tool. From that point on the task was straightforward and enjoyable.


The bobcat, which wasn't running right before, is still not running right. So it's into the tender arms of the mechanic I'm afraid. And that's okay, because it's simply the reality of the situation.

While I was at it I got to work on discovering just what kind of train wreck of a welding rig I've purchased. It's a trailer unit with a gas engine powered stick welder and oxy-acetylene rig. I didn't pay much but the rig has been sitting outside for 20 years. No major signs of deterioration but there's a bit of condensation water in the crank case of the gas engine. It seems salvageable and the welder should be more or less okay, but we'll find out. Of course the gas welding hoses and regulators are shot but that's an easy fix (replacement).

I knocked down a lot of other odds and ends throughout the day in addition to the usual chores of checking cattle and water and taking the pulse of the ecosystem.

One chore was watering chickens and gathering eggs. Not much of a chore, really, except when it's very cold and windy outside, and today was not that. So eggs. Look at that monster!

Really big. Nearly 3" x 2".

Here's one that's more average, essentially a supermarket "large" size egg.

And here's a white one from this morning, merely supermarket "jumbo" sized.

Cool, huh?

While I was checking cows I wandered over to the snake den I didn't video well yesterday and took a couple of pictures. Far:

And close:

Butt not too close!

The day was supposed to be windy, cloudy, rainy, and relatively warmish. We never got the wind or rain but it was cloudy all day and pleasantly warm, so all in all a delightful day to non-labouriously labor. Pretty at times too.

Hope you're all well and enjoying the blessings of liberty!

*The Big Guy Who Always Bails Me Out 


  1. Yesterday left the camera at home and missed a chance to record clouds. From North to South and out East for many miles were standing altocumuls lenticular clouds caused by a Front Range standing mountain wave. Perhaps the most I ever seen along the Front Range. Pilots need to take heed. Try to go over the mountains under them and you chances of dying are close to 100%. If you can't get above them, return to base smartly.

    1. The sky is so very often spectacular. Provides good warning signs too.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. When family troubles arise, attend to them first. We are your friends, and we understand, and will wait.

    Do you think that might be a triple yolker?

    1. Thanks Scott, much appreciated.

      I asked my Mom that very question, but I'm not any kind of chicken hand so I've no idea. Be interesting to find out. I wonder if they make a fourple yolker?

    2. My Mom always told me to buy extra large, rather than jumbo eggs, as the jumbos tend to be double yolk, which are only good for scrambled eggs.

    3. Bet that's sound advice. When I used to buy eggs I always bought extra large and only rarely would get a double. I don't think I ever bought jumbo. I'm thinking the big one today would grade mega. Or MAGA.😇

  3. A pretty day out there, the vistas of the Great Plains are awe inspiring.

    TBGWABMO has bailed me out more than once.

    1. They are that indeed. Ifr you're not careful on a day that's not just prizackly to your liking you might end up accidentally inspired!

      It's cool how the big guy rolls, innit?

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Sarge!

  4. Hay, stuff happens. Stuff breaks, the Muse runs away or gets grumpy, opportunities arise for something more fun than blogging. We get that. We get more than what we pay for here, and are grateful for all of it. Great posts are great, okay posts are okay, and no posts at all are perfectly allowable, for a couple of days, or intermittently, or even for months at a time. You've done that stuff already, and we keep coming back anyway.
    Enjoy life, help those you can, and don't fret if some refuse to be helped- you can love them anyway.
    John Blackshoe

    1. Thanks very much for the kind and inspiring words John. They mean a lot. And you just paid for a fourple-lifetime subscription when you reminded me of the simple truth "you can love them anyway." That's a message I really needed to get whacked with last evening.

      So thanks again for stopping by and pointing out the way back onto the path. It's a very good thing you've done.

  5. Do what works for you, we'll understand.
    Beautiful day there, Mother Nature was not quite so kind to us.
    You measure eggs like a fisherman measures fish... just say'n!

    1. Ha! There's something deeply troubling about a fellow who measures chicken eggs, isn't there?

      It was a day to treasure. To paraphrase HDT, who said in his own inestimable Civil War Era prose, embrace the suck and drive the hell on!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Brig!

  6. Then there are those of us who have been remiss in failing to comment on the results of your efforts to inform and entertain us for which you charge nothing. As I tell my wife - "I will try to do better." She doesn't believe me either. Btw don't they make a strap wrench that will work on pretty much any size filter?

    1. Thanks Mark. No worries on the comments. And yes they do make one, but not one I won't lose!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!😈