“Is the wheel supposed to look like that? On a funny angle like that? Is that normal?”


John had just got back from work. I needed him to look at the back wheels of the four wheeler before he got to the house and sat down. He suffers from permanent exhaustion working in the heat all day.  Once he gets to the house he seldom comes out again.

“No, that is not normal. What did you do to it.” This was a rhetorical question and needs neither a question mark nor an answer. I watch him awkwardly kneel down and peer under the vehicle. Having been brought up Catholic with the mandatory baggage of guilt I am thinking to myself that it is probably something I did that broke the bike John found out the back of the workshop one year, put a new battery in it and called it good. I start it with a screw driver as the key is years lost. I never drive over 15 miles an hour because I am afraid it will fall apart. Apparently it is. Falling apart.

“I rode on it. Just to the other side.” Actually I ride on it everyday to the other side, yesterday back and forth through the hay fields,  pulling weeds out of the cut oats for hours, stacking them up high in the little trailer I pull behind me and dumping them on the burn pile.  The dogs standing  behind me. Watching.

The four wheeler was not the problem yesterday. The old hay rake was. Two of my hay fields are not very wide and I drove the unwieldy, too -wide, found on the side of the road,  hay-rake into an oak tree, a telephone pole and a beanfield and almost flipped the tractor turning too close to a ditch but not the 4-wheeler.  The quad had a quiet day really.

It had been a hot and  humid hay day. The hay was slow to dry in the wet air.


“Nothing. I did not hit anything with it.”

He gets up from his inspection of the undersides.  Using his lunchbox to push himself up.

“Park it up. I will weld it back together when I get time.”

And he has already shuffled on – empty lunchbox in hand, without waiting for an answer.  Looking for his rest corner and the undemanding iPad.

And just like that I lose my wheels.


The ducks are helping me dig a pond for them.

Hopefully today we will bale the hay. Another sticky day. This is not Hawkes Bay with its long dry summers. The humidity is high here with the wet ground and high temperatures. The drying is slow this week. The summer is short too. We need to get a lot of hay in during this short period.

So far, this is the perfect (though humid) week for hay. Just not for quads. I think they call them ATVs here – or something like that. Everyone has a different name.

I hope you have a lovely day.


Tuesday 20% Precip. / 0 in
Sunny to partly cloudy. High 88F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.

Tuesday Night 10% Precip. / 0 in
A clear sky. Low near 60F. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph.


49 Comments on “OLD GEAR

  1. Oh Celi… It’s too hot for you to be trudging everywhere. The only things not gently falling apart are you and Ton. Your patience is extreme. Perhaps you could get welding lessons for your birthday, or is that encroaching on Our John’s territory too much? Our ride-on mower just died, it has thrown a piston rod yet again (apparently the breed is prone to rod-throwing), and My John has finally given up and is going to take it in somewhere instead of fixing it himself as usual. I hope the prognosis is more hopeful than your quad bike’s.

  2. You sound disgruntled, and I can see why… I am too, our swan has just been eaten by the foxes, and he was such a lovely guy. Oh to be on a Greek island…

  3. I hate it when machinery misbehaves, and usually when you need it the most. Be careful out there. Laura

  4. If it’s not one thing, it’s a dozen others. I’m not a fan of summer. I know it’s the time of year when food grows but I could eat a whole lot less and stay cool.;) He’s retiring soon, right?

  5. I hope you get good haying weather. We got ours up and sold within 24 hours of being in the stack! STILL….I understand that need for good haying weather from start to finish!

  6. Whew, for a moment there I thought that “losing your wheels” meant going off on tired John for making the old assumptions that men resort to (“What did you do?”) and later wish they had thought better of it.

    • Ha ha ha . No. No point setting off a forest fire over a flippant comment like that. No. There is a long line of vehicles needing fixing though – all old gear- so that might be the last I see of my 4 wheeler. It was so useful too .

  7. I grew up with a father and a brother who loved to fix things and kept everything in perfect running order. My father died when I was 10, my mom’s second husband was a cowman. He was a wonderful fellow, but his fixits relied totally on baling wire and prayers. Still, he would try. Then I got married and discovered that some men just couldn’t fix anything. My best luck has been with immigrants who are accustomed to working with old machinery and the necessity of keeping it going, they know how to improvise. My own son works all day on commercial refrigeration systems. He says when he comes home he just wants everything to work. It’s hard to even get him to change a roll of toilet paper before he buries himself in computer games.

  8. Is there someone who can fix the quad besides John? And what would that cost if there is?

  9. And then POOF!, it was gone! Will the pickup work? Does John have some piece of equipment you can commandeer until he fixes yours? That may hurry things along a little! Just went through a very similar conversation with my hub about an electric cart of mine that he broke. I’ve waited nigh unto six years or more for repairs. I empathize, believe me!

      • Oh my god, “the pick-up… has grass growing… give it a clean out” now there’s a picture! (Oh no Celi, please don’t tell me that’s how the old car in the barnyard was turned into a “hay rack”!)

  10. Mame19 – I loved your comment about “talented kitties’ yesterday! Herding competitions would be great sport! Thanks for the chuckle!

  11. I think I’d get a horse, but you’ve already got cows, I know they can be taught to accept a rider. Just teasing, you’ve got plenty of other things to do. I know about that “wait till I have time to fix it”. I waited 4 years to have one truck fixed that was never done then 6 years for another truck which went for scrap because the poor thing rusted to bits. A horse would’ve (and still would be) easier, certainly more reliable, oh well. Hope you get your ATV back soon.

  12. There’s a saying: “If it has tires or testicles it’s gonna give you trouble”. (Sorry guys).

  13. “Quad, 4-wheeler, ATV…” no matter, they’re all the same. Machines break and need to be fixed. Crap happens. Regular inspection and maintenance needs to be done. (Although honestly, by your own admission just now, I’d say he’s got a right to sound leery, C; ) And for heaven’s sake, slow down and don’t go rolling the bloody tractor over on yourself now, will you? People have been killed doing crap like that! ):): And good luck with himself finding the energy to fix it…

  14. Great blog you have here! I know you need your ATV so I hope it gets fixed asap. If we’re neighbors, maybe I can help John during weekends.

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