Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lifehack: A Lesson in Frugality

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand 

I was feeling about as smart
as this little guy after a purchase this week!
I really thought I'd made a serious mistake last week.  We're planning to expand the blackberry trellises, as well as putting out a windbreak, so we invested in an auger for the tractor.  I found a used one on Craigslist, so we hitched up the trailer and took off on a two-hour drive.  It looked just like the picture, so we paid the folks, loaded it up, and headed home.

We only had about an hour of daylight left so we hurried to hook it up to the tractor.  The boom and yoke hooked up easily.  But when we went to attach the Power-Take-Off (PTO) shaft to the tractor, our problem became apparent.

It was too short.

No problem; we could just extend it.

It would not budge.  We pulled harder.  We tapped on it lightly with a hammer.  We tapped on it harder with the hammer.  Nothing.  Running out of daylight, we headed home, with me fearing I'd made a big mistake.  How could I have forgotten to check the telescoping joint on the PTO?  A new PTO would be really expensive if we could not make this one work.

Had my attempt at frugality been penny-wise and pound-foolish?

Too short by several feet!
The next day we did what any reasonable person would do:  we consulted every farmer in our church.  The consensus was to pour brake fluid down the slip joint and let it soak in.  We spent a while that evening hammering a small screwdriver into the telescoping joint, hoping to loosen any rust or grit, then dousing the shaft with brake fluid.  We let it marinate overnight with no success.

I was really worried.  I priced out really long PTO shafts.  Ouch.  We kept fiddling with it, with no success.

I was making plans to load the thing up onto a trailer and take it to the repair shop when, this morning at church, one of our farmer-consultants made one more suggestion.  I tried it this afternoon.


What a lovely hole!
Still one bolt to saw off, but I'm in business.  It's a good thing, too, since my trees are here and ready to be planted.

So, am I smarter than the earthworm?  Well, the jury's still out on that, but the lesson I learned this week is actually two lessons:

  1. Be alert in business.  Make sure you get a good value for your investment.  Be penny-wise and pound-wise, too.
  2. Persist in the face of trouble, but do not be afraid to ask for help.  Universally, the farmers both Jim and I consulted readily offered advice, and offered to help if we needed it.
So, it's been an educational week here on the farm; hopefully, next week's lessons will not be as, ahem, challenging . . .

What about you?  How are you living your Savory life?


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