Covid Spring rolls into Covid Summer. While Mostly Peaceful ProtestsTM burn down American cities we continue to hide (mostly) in our twenty acre woods. We add some purchased bedding plants from end of season sales to the plants we started indoors. Wish I kept a diary. Maybe next year. In any case we know we started them after March 31. Bought the seeds in person and we were not out of the house before April first and probably not in a store before the middle of April. Senior archeology at work here as I dig into my memory without contemporaneous records.
A passing storm dumped hail on us but didn’t ding any vehicles. Good! Took until December to get last year’s dings fixed.
No visitors of record this month.
Mid-month I went for the annual eye exam that usually happens in March. My eyes are getting worse. The correction has changed a lot in the past year, especially in one eye. Still good enough for the DMV but the cataracts that have been tiny for several years are starting to make their presence known. I am referred to a cataract specialist. Covid is disrupting things so it could be a while.
I bought a DR brush mower last year. It was my reward for working a long turnaround near Edmonton. We have been blessed with good employment all my working life and it provided enough for a modest retirement starting at age 57 in 2005. Working a couple of months a year as an instrumentation technician since 2007 has provided icing with a few toys and some nice trips. Last year the toy was a mower ordered at the end of July. I had always wanted one. DR Mower’s web site showed a dealer in Vegreville about three hours away. I phoned and asked about what they had in stock. They said they really loved the mowers, but dumped them as a product line because they were impossible to deal with for parts.
After looking at other options, including dealers in Montana, I bought my mower on-line through Peavey Mart. It was to be delivered to their store in North Battleford for pick up. A hundred miles each way. Better than a day to Montana and a day back.
Peavey Mart was, how shall we say? Optimistic about delivery? Yes. That’s a kind word. Add about five weeks to their expected delivery date. The day came in September and we drove there and watched the forklift load it and drove home with the prize. When we had invited enough family members over to lift it off the truck I assembled it. It was amazing. It can chew through 1-1/2” thick sapling in a single munch. I had time to mow the field next to the grid road and knock down some brush there that had grown since the last time I had enticed a highway crew to mow it.
It ran long enough to earn its five hour first oil change and not much more before time to get parked for the winter. I called the factory parts store for belts and consumables and got a taste of why Vegreville had dumped them. Wonderful machines. Crappy parts delivery and so easy to solve. Thousands of merchants have. They are probably okay to deal with if you are in the continental United States.
Canada not so much.
You call, get a price for the parts and the order gets put in limbo for a final price with shipping while they go out for a quote from UPS. They may or may not get back to you with this final price before they consider the shipping quote expired then the process starts over. A sixty dollar parts order becomes US$ 120 with shipping. Then weeks later when the order gets somewhere near the border UPS contacts you and wants to be paid directly for customs brokerage fees. Today. You may find yourself on a bench at the side of the street in Fort Louisbourg sorting this all out on your cell phone providing beaucoup information. Seemingly everything short of your DNA.
Juanita got her DNA test results back in December. I got a notice that my spit sample wasn’t good enough, Try again. They mailed a sample kit from California in early December. It arrived after we had left for Nicaragua in January. After we were out of quarantine I spit more carefully and sent another vial to Ireland. The test results came back in July. A cousin whose parent was adopted out and never acknowledged until decades later was proved to be a cousin indeed. I learned of some other cousins who were unknown (to me) branches of the family. It’s like “discovering” a new continent. It’s not the same as springing into being.
I discovered I was a bit more English than I thought and a bit less Irish. That makes sense. My forbears left England in a religious snit and lived in Germany for a few generations until they got tired of the parade of marauding armies passing through. Some compatriots left for Pennsylvania (Pennsylvanian Dutch were really Pennsylvanian Deutcshe (German)). My direct forebears were repatriated from the Palatine region to England for a winter then to Ireland. Running away didn’t work so they eventually settled down until the Potato famine drove them to Canada. So England->Germany->Ireland->Canada married to Ireland->Canada didn’t pick up as much Irish as I thought although it did get me an Irish Passport when I applied. My mother’s side of England->Australia-> Canada mixed with England->Canada->Australia->Canada certainly contributed a solid bit of “English”.
Now where was I? Oh yes. The mower. After knocking down the weeds near the grid road again, I started using the brush mower to mow brush and make some trails. Not much at first. Enough to learn the vulnerability of the mower to control cable end failures. Kinda necessary for moving from forward to reverse and for choosing speeds in forward. I got involved with the factory parts store again. Cables are inexpensively priced. To start with. If you can actually get them to ship you some. I got backwoodsy and made my own temporary repairs that sort of worked. For a while. For this month.
I’m sure the story has not ended.
Another discovery was Ground News. It looks at each news story and shows what coverage you get. Some stories are never covered on the left leaning news sources. Some never covered on the right. Some are covered on the full spectrum. But not many. You live in a bubble of your news source choices.
In July I started saving cover shots of books I have read. It was only one cover, but you have to start somewhere. As they say, the longest journey starts with packing Imodium. Or something like that. Who do “they” think “they” are anyway?
Book of this month: Malta Exchange – Steve Berry. A fast moving distraction from real life. All you want in a book of this genre.