Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Chris Judd

Fix it time

Each spring is the same, “why didn’t I get those disc bearings ordered last fall?” or “is the corn planter ready to go?” or “did I fix the recoil on the lawnmower?” When I used to do the combining, each fall when I was finished combining corn and before I parked the combine for the winter, I sat in the seat with a pencil and paper and made a list of what should be fixed before next season before I forgot every little squeak, stretched chain, bad bearing in the auger swing, or several other things that I might forget before next fall. Then I taped that paper with “things to do” onto the window in front of the seat that I was sitting on. If I needed parts that had to be ordered, I entered those into my phone that I looked at a dozen times every day. If we did that with every piece of equipment that we use from the self-propelled forage harvester to the whipper-snipper, maybe the parts would be ready when we needed them. If we send something out to get fixed, we should give the garage the list when we book the appointment to get the machine fixed so they have the parts. Remember that tire on the corn planter that had a slow leak, or the shear bar that should be replaced on the chopper? There are a dozen things that we forget from season to season. Will we get another year out of the tires on the car? This is also the time that garages that fix lawn mowers and roto-tillers get very busy. Better get booked in. Time to service the lawn mower if you do your own. Many farms today have a good shop to fix machinery in. There is nothing as aggravating as having a large machine torn apart and spread all over the shop, and the parts needed to fix the machine back ordered or maybe no longer available. Then you must find a machinist to make the part. Our son has waited for two years for a little $2 part to repair a tractor that is only three years old because the company no longer buys that model from that supplier and the former supplier is no longer in business. We used to keep common bearings, roller chain, sprockets, and other inexpensive parts on the shelves in the shop. Last week I went to a large supplier of generic parts and they didn’t even carry a common size of roller chain. Luckily, we still had a roll in stock on the shelf. Today with so many off-shore suppliers and delays in shipping, it’s not uncommon to wait weeks for a part. It’s also time to get your seed either ordered or in stock. Gardeners are starting to seed their own transplants for the garden. Even the seed suppliers may be getting low on certain varieties. Farmers have already been shopping around for best prices on fertilizers and seeds. If you have dandelions, white grubs, June bugs or skunks that dig up your lawn, maybe you should try to get some calcitic lime (gray) to spread on your lawn. Jeannie has been looking for a different kind of flower for her garden and still hasn’t found a supplier. What about the grass this year? Will you fix up the old lawn mower, look for a new zero-turn, or maybe hire a gardener to mow your lawn each week when you price that new zero-turn and figure out how much it will cost for the gas to run it? Some people who live in cities or towns have a small lawn and find a rechargeable battery powered lawn mower lots big for their lawn. It’s just about Valentine’s Day and maybe your better half would like a part-time gardener instead of a box of chocolates? Maybe a new “raised garden” to get away from bending down would make a good Valentine’s gift and you could eat fresh veggies all summer and lower the grocery bill? Maybe just sit down and think, like I did, about what needs to be done before the grass turns green. It’s only a few weeks away.Chris Judd is a farmer in Clarendon on land that has been inhis family forgenerations.

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