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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tractor Maintenance, Mower Maintenance and Food

A fine sunny day at last. The grass is growing as are the vegetables. All the climbing and bush beans planted last week are finally peeping through the soil.

At 7.30 am the mobile mechanic rolled up to service the new tractor. Being new we are religious about maintaining the warranty conditions and having it serviced as per the book. This is the first service – 50 hours well not quite it is only 43.6 hours but it has passed the 6 months period.

Last week I collected the recommended oil and filters and all the licensed mechanic has to do is apply them and tick off the check list of things to look at, grease and tighten. The oils and filters came to over $200. And it turns out the dealer does not know his tractors as they supplied an extra filter but for a different model despite me showing them the paperwork from the purchase. As it turns out it is the dearest item at $66. A refund in order. We have already saved ourselves $180 in transmission oil. Originally we were told that the transmission oil had to be changed - all 30 litres. But the manual says no not until 400 hours. All the staff at the dealers were surprised when this was raised as they have been merrily changing transmission oil at 50 hours for all their customers. Pays to read the manual.

We used our local mobile mechanic for two reasons. Firstly to support the local trades and secondly his rates reflect the fact he does not run an expensive premises and advertising program.

While all this diligent maintenance was going on it seemed a good time for me to install the new battery in the ride on mower and while there perform some maintenance. Tightened and grease the drive chain, Grease the various nipples, one of which is blocked and needed cleaning, top up the engine oil and clean the air filter etc.

A look at the manual and the hour meter it shows a major service is coming up. Time to order the filters for this as I will perform the task over Christmas.

Although all this maintenance is time consuming it is better than having equipment fail and incurring the cost of expensive repairs. In the past I was guilty of being less occupied with looking after our tools and learnt the cost of badly timed failures.

On the kitchen front yesterday's milk collection was skimmed of cream and cultured for butter while the milk was converted into a Farmhouse Cheddar. A little tricky when done in conjuction with mower servicing but doable.

Jean freed me up from work across the river by spending half a day over there feeding weaners, mowing lawns and trimming edges. She earned a good rest in the armchair with the ducklings nestled in her lap while I knocked up a dinner. They love the contact. Once in her lap they just snuggle up and stay really quiet. Funny little things.

Dinner just evolved from garden produce. Apart from some cheeses on sliced baby Zucchini and some lightly fried baby peppers drizzled with soy sauce as a nibbles there was a concoction for the main course.

Fried some onion in the wok with a bit of olive oil from the Anchovy jar, a bit of fish sauce, chilli flakes. Turmeric, Garlic and Ginger. Added in a half a fillet of frozen Hoki with skin on and mashed it up when it cooked through. A glass of white wine (one for me and one for the wok) then a large handful of frozen mussels. Then a pile of shredded cabbage and as it softened a whole pile of chopped tomato just so it softened as well before serving with chopped cucumber and all on some rice noodles (the only shop bought item).

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