Thursday, July 06, 2006

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem….

So I’ll admit it, I’m addicted… hopelessly, utterly and completely under its spell… from the way it sounds, to the way it smells… I’m flat out a horsepower junkie.

Cars, trucks, motorcycles and outdoor power equipment… tillers, mowers, blowers, chain saws, weed eaters, generators, splitters, tractors, chippers… beg, borrowed, purchased or rented… I just love using gasoline powered equipment.

I know, the price of gas is close to $3/gallon, and we’re “running out” of oil… (Except there seems to be no shortage once the price goes up… ever wonder about that?)… and folks seem to think that electric powered stuff is ‘cleaner’ more environmentally ‘friendly’… which of course means the polluting is being done in someone else’s backyard…

But, folks, the hum of an electric motor does absolutely nothing for me.

There’s no thrill of that first ‘cough’ as the motor tries to fire on the first pull… no satisfaction in the way it settles in at speed… or the sweet smell of the two cycle engine on a chain saw or weed eater as you fire it up first thing in the morning…

Then there’s the difference in raw power… the shear volume of work, the right small engine, paired with the right pulleys and belts, or better yet the perfect hydraulic pump, can do is astounding… Despite having owned, rented, and borrowed all sorts of equipment over the years, I never cease to marvel at what can be accomplished by one man with one of these tools.

I mean I’m amazed at what *I* can do… but seriously, I’m amazed at what someone truly talented can do as it’s always three to four times what I get done.

I’ve tried to quit, go cold turkey, those were not happy times….

I sold my 18Hp, 3 cyl diesel tractor, along with the 50” mower deck, 48” roto-tiller and rear blade… got rid of the big Toro weedeater (brush cutter actually)… the lawn mower, almost everything actually… even went so far as to hire a ‘service’ to come in and take care of my lawn…

Those were dark days indeed… I’d find myself in the garage looking over the new models in catalogs from Stihl, Troy-bilt, John Deere, Homelite, etc… hiding the catalogs so my secret wouldn’t be discovered….

It was all in vain… the first time I fired up the chain saw here (which was the one piece I didn’t sell… hey, you never know, I might have needed it for protection)… the ‘thirst’ was back…. And I’ve been battling, albeit losing, with it ever since.

Maybe if I'd sold the chain saw... a Stihl 041-Farm Boss... I bought it nearly 30 years ago this year... after a lawn mower it was the first, "just for me" piece of outdoor power equipment... Since then it's cut at least 200 *full*, not face, cords of wood... trimmed untold limbs and help clean up dozens of yards, and a couple of roads after bad storms... A true friend in need.... how could I sell it?

I get my ‘fix’ every so often by renting something… but the real juice is in buying, loading up and bringing home a new piece of power equipment!! Saturday… I fell totally off the wagon… and bought a new Troy-bilt Chipper/Shredder… 6.5Hp of pure gasoline fired Intek power… RR…RRRR….RRRRRRRR!!!

Can you guess what I’ll be doing next? Well, as time and temperatures permit anyway… that’s right…. making mulch of the read falls, low hanging limbs and other ‘yard waste’!!

Hey, I know, I’m being eco-sound… after all isn’t it better to make my own mulch than to send this stuff off to a land fill?

As always I’ll post some before and after pics in the albums as I progress… I’m sailing now… cruising on that gasoline fumed crest … and all is right with the world… What I fear though… is what it will take to feel this way the ‘next’ time…

If you ever see a bearded old fart, on the street, and begging for spare tractor parts… take pity on me, throw me a spark plug or something… I tried.. I really, really tried… but the jones is back… with a vengeance!
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Note: I hope my attempt at humor isn’t lost… while I do confess to a long standing love affair with gasoline powered anything… and it does border on an addiction… it really is under control.. honest!!


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6 comments:

Firehawk said...

Bill,

I hear ya. I was one of those that really felt sorry when the old "high test smell" went away, in favor of that MTBE smell in the new gas. One of my fondest memories from childhood is the sound of a perfectly-tuned Johnsared chainsaw ripping through a rack of wood (or the mighty Partner saw--what a beast!)

Although I don't have as much mechanical skill as I'd like, and can only do fairly basic stuff with engines, I still find anything that burns or roars or booms hard to resist.

I'm not in favor of people driving enormous vehicles to no purpose, like the wave of giant SUVs we've seen since the mid 90's. If you're going to burn the gas, at least get something that can go fast. My opinion, anyway. I hate to see a pickup without scratches in the bed, or any heavy duty piece of equipment that's never really worked. I have a little Ford Ranger that's moved whole households countless times, hauled rocks, dirt, paving stones, cinderblock, sand...now that's a truck. Sixteen years old, looks like a derelict hulk, but still runs like a top.

It is sometimes hard to square the "masculine urge for more power" with the steps necessary to be eco-friendly, but I think it can be done. There are so many small things we can do, like using more efficient construction methods, cleaner household fixtures, better methods of generating electricity...

If we do all of that, there'll still maybe be a little room for an old hotrod or a loud chainsaw here and there!

Jada's Gigi said...

Too, too funny! You do have it bad...I must confess...I'm a bit on the addicted side when it comes to shoes, myself....new leather...cute toes peeking out...well I must stop...I've purchased 6 pair in the last 3 weeks...where will it all end?!?!

BTW my hubby and i spent this past weekend tropming through Pisgah forrest....that NC of yours is gorgeous! Lots of bikers there enjoying too..:)

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

LMAO!!!!

Can't wait to show this entry to Steve . . . :-)

Lorna said...

How do you turn those jiggers on anyways?

MajorDad said...

I could have used you here earlier today when I thought my standard push lawnmower looked like it had given up the ghost after just three years service. After thinking things through, deciding that it wasn't flooded, I tried cleaning the air filter with some good hot soapy water.

After drying it off and re-installing, the mower roared to life once again.

Glad to hear you've gotten back on the "greenhouse gas, global warming" bandwagon with the rest of us!

See you on the high ground.

MajorDad1984

Bill said...

Firehawk - Your comment reminded me of the guys in upstate NY who has these 'pristine' trucks, that they drove everyday, yet never used for anything more than picking up the groceries. I didn't understand that, or having a work truck without 4WD, unless it never left the highway.

I've got one of those big SUV's you mentioned, but while the truck is apart, the back end is filled with all the work tools of the current yard project.

It's a truck.. use it!

I had a Ranger... what a great truck that was, I've often wondered why I ever got rid of it. I moved myself all over the country in it.. from gig to gig... the 'important' stuff in the extended cab behind the front seat... computer, overnight bag, credit cards etc... the rest in the back under a trap, and later under the 'camper shell. I would have been close to 16 this year as well!

Cheryl - There are a number of really nice forested areas here... and the roads through them are some of the best motorcycling places in the country! I'm glad you enjoyed your visit... Did you get some new shoes (boots) for the hike?

Liz - Wait until you see the before and after pics of this weekend... I was just looking at the 'mulch' pile from yesterday and thinking that it sure doesn't look like much! But then I look at the cleared out areas and am amazed at the reduction rates!

I hope Steve gets a chuckle too!

Lorna - As I was reading the owners manual yesterday... I discovered there's actually a device called the 'starter handle'... it seems that when you pull on this forcefully, and have all the little 'control levers' in the proper locations, the machine will start.

(I much prefer electric start myself!)

MajorDad - Isn't that sound, as the 'dead' piece first fires, one of the sweetest sounds in life? I'm glad you were able to revive your mower!

I had a local shop 'tune up' a couple of units this year.. and even the 30 year old chainsaw starts on the first pull.. I know for sure I'll be using those guys again!!