My riding lawn mower is an antique by today's standards. I bought it in 2004 and it's served me well, but each year I have to put money into maintaining it.
Last week a loud grinding sound was emanating from one of the blades. I was almost through cutting, so I just parked it, and went inside for supper.
I know from experience that noises like that usually are not quick fixes, so I dreaded beginning work on it.
When the weather is scorching hot, and dry as the Sahara, ignoring the lawnmower would not be a problem, but Alabama has been like a tropical rainforest this spring and summer, so my grass is growing like Kudzu.
When it got to the point that I either had to fix it, or buy goats, I put on my coveralls and dove in. When I laid down on the ground, reached under the mower and checked the tension of the blades, one of them spun like a pinwheel. Hmmm, I thought. That's not right.
I removed the old part and headed to the parts store. I decided to get new blades while I was there and when I got home I fixed the defective spindle. When I went to install the new blades on the other spindle, I realized it had the same problem as the one I'd just replaced.
So, back to the parts store I go and drop another $60 for another spindle. This time I decided to get a new belt so that all the undercarriage would be new.
I installed the second spindle and the new belt. When I cranked it up, it sputtered a little (a totally different issue) but then seem to do OK.
A few rounds around the yard and I started smelling hot rubber. Then the new $20 belt broke and slung out the side like clipped grass. Well damn I thought (excuse my, well that's not French, but excuse my language).
A little more investigation revealed another pulley had frozen up. The mower had been hard on belts this summer so this issue predated the one that started this journey.
I went BACK to the parts store and bought a new pulley, and another belt. After installation, I cranked up and made a few rounds and it cut perfectly........then it sputtered to a stop.
Apparently I'd broken one of the fuel lines when I removed the gas tank (three times). I got BACK IN THE TRUCK AND WENT BACK TO THE PARTS STORE, where I bought new fuel lines, and filters.
By this time I was on a mission. I was not going to let a piece of garden equipment whip me. It was a matter of principal.
I calmly replaced the parts, and then went inside for a glass of water. I looked out the window at the lawnmower sitting there in the shade.
I set my jaw, went back outside and climbed onto the beast and turned the switch. It sprang to life and I cut grass for two hours.
Sometimes I think the Good Lord puts obstacles in your way just to test your metal. I like to think that He/She's smiled as I mowed the fields this afternoon.
Below is my mandavilla, which finally decided to bloom this summer.