This is a week of receiving help from a number of people and having everything I touch fall apart. I bought a brush hog a month or so ago and Becky, the clerk at the store, offered to deliver it - she and her husband live just down the road from my farm. I learned today that the husband, someone I've never met, put a lot more than delivery effort into my machine. It was raining on the delivery day, so Becky took it home instead of delivering it. Her husband looked it over, noticed that there was no oil in it, filled the oil, found some bars in the wrong place and moved them, and even had to drill a hole that hadn't been completely drilled through the steel for one of the bolts. Unbelievably nice of him - but, after all that, it took me all month to try to get it hooked up to my tractor. Of course, I only had about ten minutes a day to work on it - and those ten minutes had to be stolen from my play time with Gibby.
A few days ago, I was talking with Jim who lives across the street. We talked about brush hogs and I told him about the problem I was having getting mine hooked up - well, anyway, he came across the road when I was gone, wrenched open the bolt I couldn't move and connected my power take-off. He had also come over two days earlier to help Walt, who brought his giant back hoe to bury poor Teague. Walt has been burying my horses for me for thirty years. He's had diabetic foot problems in the past, but this time he's waiting to have a hip replacement. He couldn't jump up and down to open gates, so Jim came over to help him. I couldn't be there because I had to pick my mother up to take her home from the nursing home. I don't have a horse cemetery, we usually bury the horses close to where they breathed their last, so I have horse graves scattered all over the front of the farm, some in the pasture, some in the yard, and a few in the old orchard.
Yesterday, I tested the new brush hog and chopped down a good portion of the waist high grass in the yard. It worked really well, even though I ran into quite a few low hanging branches, so I thought I would cut some more today. My mother had a home health aide for two hours this afternoon and that gave me time to run down to the farm. I had to buy gas and lead substitute for the tractor and then fill the tank using several plastic gas cans. Getting the tractor ready used up all of my time, but I knew I'd be back at feeding time.
When I returned, I checked the high grass that I hadn't cut yesterday and spotted a gray cat hiding behind some wide leafed weeds. I chased her away then I saw one of the wee little kittens. He was so still that at first I thought he was dead, but I picked him up and he let out a yowl. It was the same black kitten with gray frosting fur that I have picked up out of the driveway several times. I think the gray cat is his mother, but she has two other little black kittens and seems to let this loud little guy wander. I suppose she was sitting there watching over him, not really hiding behind the weeds. Her litter of three was the most recent litter born and they're almost three weeks old.
I decided I didn't dare cut the grass in that part of the yard, so I used the hydraulic system on the tractor to raise the brush hog. I heard an awful steel-on-steel clanging noise when I did it, but I foolishly didn't suspect there was a real problem. I didn't suspect anything until after I had driven over to the house and wanted to lower the brush hog - and heard the horrible clanging again. When I raised the brush hog, it had landed on the steel tongue that sticks out of the back of the tractor like a trailer hitch. All but one of the three hitch points had broken free and the brush hog was still connected to the power take-off but it was going nowhere. I'll have to get a good jack to lift it off of the tractor hitch tomorrow. UGH! I guess I've already used up all of my chances to ask friends and strangers for help, I'll have to figure this one out by myself.
Even though I was at the farm twice today, Gibby didn't get nearly enough attention and I not only didn't get anything done, I took steps backward.