Archive for April 22, 2013

Rooster Surgery

I heard over the radio this afternoon about the new education bill that was signed by Governor Scott. I was folding laundry at the time and, interested in what sort of bill had been signed and what it might mean for SwampMan, I decided to look it up.

I was sitting at the computer when BAM! The door flew open and hit the bookcase. I jumped in alarm. SwampMan was standing in the doorway breathing heavily. “Tell me”, he said, enunciating very clearly, “that that is not YOUR blood all over the porch!”

Hunh. I thought I’d gotten it all cleaned up.

“Oh, uh, no. Not all of it! Just some of it!” I said cheerfully.

“What. Happened?” said SwampMan through his teeth, voice still carefully modulated and controlled.

“Just a rooster with string wrapped around his leg!”

“Okay then.” SwampMan relaxed and came into the house and sat down. “So you’re not hurt?”

“Nah. I just sliced my thumb when the dang rooster started flapping and squawking when I was trying to cut the string off his leg. That string was cutting pretty deeply into his leg, and his leg started bleeding, too. We were dripping blood everywhere.”

The feed bags are sewn shut with string through a paper tab. The string will unravel, opening the feed bag, if pulled at just the right place. After putting the feed in the cans, I toss the string inside the bag and put the bags in a large open garbage can. When it gets full, I burn the bags or take ’em off the landfill, depending on whether we’re under a burn ban or not. In the meantime, the roosters will jump into the garbage can looking for stray pieces of grain. They’ll knock over the can and scratch the bags around. Somehow they’ll get the string wrapped around their legs. If I can’t catch them to get it off in time, they’ll lose a leg.

This morning I noted a lil’ banty rooster and a standard rooster limping with string wrapped around their legs. The lil’ bantam was worst off, so I decided to catch him first. I grabbed a net and set off in hot pursuit.

Do you know how embarrassing it is when a lil’ rooster using only one leg can outrun you? Yeah, pretty damn embarrassing. He circled the side yard several times and just as I was about to net him each time, he put on a sudden burst of speed and evaded the net. We had a big rainstorm last night, and I was slipping and sliding through slick spots. I hit one particularly bad spot and was sliding through the mud on one leg, the other leg in the air, arms and net windmilling, while screaming “EEeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” I think that rooster was trying to kill me because he led me through that same spot THREE TIMES and each time I nearly fell. After about 37 times around the yard, he was getting mighty droopy, just barely staying ahead. I put on a burst of speed and netted him.

He commenced to flapping and squawking, and I put his feet against my thigh to hold him steady while I worked. Ooops. Forgot about the spurs. That’s where the streaks of blood on my pants came from. Then I had his body under my arm while I worked on his leg. He jerked real hard when I cut part of the string in his wound. That’s where the cut on the thumb came from (grin). I finally got it all loose. His leg bled pretty severely, too. Whether his leg will recover or not I couldn’t say, but he seemed to be using it while roosting tonight.

I’ll have to try to catch the other rooster tomorrow. Maybe I better buy more Band-Aids first.

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SwampMan’s Bad Weekend

SwampDaughter told me on Friday that we did not have the grandkids this weekend, so we could have the weekend all to ourselves and have fun, whatever that is. It had been a rather busy week for me with two new lambs being born, additional roof work, more chicks hatching, and going back and forth to Georgia several times.

After SwampMan got home, I decided to run up to the grocery store. I had intended to go grocery shopping after picking up the kids, but I’d just make a quick trip to pick up a gallon of milk. I started up the F150. Instead of going “vroom, vroom, VROOM”, the engine went “pblfff pbliff pbliff”. Hunh. I put it in reverse. It made a final “pblfffff” sound and died. As any good scientist would do, I replicated the experiment. I started up the vehicle to see if it was kidding. I got the “pblfff pbliff pbliff” again, with a final “pblfffffff” wheeze of protest upon putting it into reverse. Hunh. One more time for verification. Yep, same results. I took SwampMan’s truck to the store instead.

I got back from the store, tossed the milk in the fridge, and told Swampman about my truck.

“So, what’s wrong with it?”

What? He was actually asking my opinion about something mechanical? MY opinion? He has repeatedly stated to anyone that listens that I am the least mechanical person that he knows and that my idea of fixing something is to hit it with a hammer and, if that doesn’t work, to find a bigger hammer.

I crossed my fingers behind my back and gave my opinion. “I’ve been doing a lot of driving this week and ran the gas tank pretty low before I refueled (at the lowest priced gas station) Thursday. As I’ve told you before, I’d been having a few intermittent hesitations occasionally like the engine is briefly starved of fuel, and I thought that you needed to change the fuel filter. I think the fuel filter is really clogged now and I need a new one.”

“Okay. If you think that’s the problem, I’ll change the fuel filter, then. Fuel filters on Fords are a real pain in the ass, though, and I’m going to need a special tool.”

“What?”

“Yeah, if you had a Chevrolet truck and the filter was in a logical place, it would take me all of five minutes. But nooooooo, you have a Ford.”

What. Ever.

Saturday we ran around town picking things up for his class on Monday. We did not pick up a tool for the fuel filter. On Sunday morning after breakfast, SwampMan announced that we were going to go get the fuel filter and the Ford fuel filter changing tool. I got all happy because I needed to go to the grocery store to pick up some items for a new recipe for crockpot chicken that I wanted to try. I got the groceries. He got the fuel filter and tool.

When we got back, he told me that he needed me to hand him tools under the truck so just bring in the groceries and get right back outside. Okay, fine. How long should this take, anyway?

Usually when SwampMan does mechanical work, it is out at his barn where all his tools are. Since the truck was disinclined to make the trip out to the barn and I was disinclined to push it, SwampMan elected to spread a tarp on the ground and climb underneath in situ. He had me loosen the gas caps of both gas tanks to release the pressure. He looked at the location of the fuel filter. He then spent awhile cussing Ford, everybody that ever worked for Ford, and everybody that has ever built Fords. He did not cuss out people that bought Fords, however, possibly because I had a large pipe wrench near my hand.

“Just LOOK at this shit! There’s NO ROOM to even get two hands in there!” I got on my back and shimmied under the truck.

“What the HELL do you think you’re doing? You’re gonna bump your head. Get outta here!”

“Well, you TOLD me to look at it!”

“That was rhetorical!”

“Well, how was I supposed to know that? If you really don’t want me to look at it, don’t say something like “Look at this!”

“GET OUT! You’re supposed to be handing me tools. You can’t hand me tools if you’re under the truck! And what the HELL is that turkey doing on my feet?”

Turkey had finished the “what’s a nice lookin’ shoe like you doin’ on an ugly foot like that” talk. He’d moved on to the intimate stage. “That turkey really loves your shoes, if you know what I mean!”

“GET HIM OFF ME! And get the dog out of here, too. Hand me a half inch wrench.”

Puppy had crawled underneath the truck to keep SwampMan company. SwampMan does not like to have his face licked while he’s trying to do mechanical work. I pushed Turkey off SwampMan’s feet. I knelt down and pulled Puppy out. As soon as Puppy was clear of the truck, he happily jumped up to greet me. His head violently collided with my chin and bottom lip, splitting my lip and causing me to momentarily see stars. At the same time Turkey, taking advantage of the situation, jumped on my calves and started sexually assaulting MY shoes.

“I SAID hand me a half inch wrench!” SwampMan loudly demanded again.

I wiped the blood dripping from my lip, pushed Puppy away, and yanked my feet free of the amorous turkey. Who knew being a mechanic’s helper could be so dangerous?

“We don’t HAVE all day!” SwampMan declared. I located the half inch wrench and passed it under to him.

“Too big. Find me something smaller. Maybe a metric.”

I found something smaller, and passed it to him.

“I need a needlenose pliers or a regular set of pliers.”

I got up to locate some.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

“Uh, to find the pliers for you.”

“There’s none in the bag?”

“No, which is why I’m going to go find some.”

“No no no no. Every time you’re supposed to be helping me, you wander off and do something else. You stay RIGHT THERE!”

I stayed right there. After awhile, SwampMan said that there were probably some needlenose pliers in the toolbox beside his truck. I was to get them and come RIGHT BACK. There were. I did.

“THIS IS NOT WORKING!” SwampMan bellowed.

“Perhaps”, I opined gently because this was probably one of those rhetorical things, “you need a different tool.”

After about 15 more minutes, SwampMan shimmied himself out from under the truck. “Get in the truck!” he snapped. “I don’t think this nylon tool is strong enough. We’re going to look at their other options.”

At a different parts store, we looked at other options. “This one says it fits Ford trucks!” I said helpfully, looking at a metal tool. “Well, THAT’s no help! So does this one!” declared SwampMan.

“Well, what size is the fuel line?” I asked SwampMan.

“Well. Ummm. Errrrr. Hmmmmm.”

I raised my eyebrows at SwampMan. After over 30 years of marriage, I know when NOT to say something.

“Well, how about this one, then? It has two sizes on it.”

We got it. We went back home.

“I dunno what I’m going to do if this doesn’t work!” SwampMan said. “It’s in a real bad location.”

I was not sure whether he was inviting advice or not. Probably one of those rhetorical things again. “How about cutting it, then?”

“HOW would I do that?”

“Don’t you have a pipe cutter?”

“No room.”

“How about a hacksaw?”

“No room.”

We got home, and SwampMan was immediately able to pop one end loose with the new tool. The other end, however, stayed stubbornly in place.

“Go out to the barn and find me the longest screwdriver I have. And bring me the hacksaw.”

I brought the requested items back, but pointed out that I was a little loathe to give him metal tools since the fuel filter was leaking a pretty steady dripdripdripdrip of gasoline. “Should you create a spark and the gasoline explode, I would have a helluva time pulling your roasting ass out!” is how I believe I phrased it. “You’re not even on a creeper, just a gasoline-soaked plastic tarp!”

“Just give me the tools!” roared SwampMan.

“Can I at least hand you something to collect my gas in?”

“It isn’t that much leaking!”

SwampMan was finally able to saw through the fuel filter after taking the blade off the hacksaw, and then pulling the metal tip out of the fuel line with the needlenose pliers. After that, it took about five minutes to put the new fuel filter in. While he was still underneath gathering tools and replacing fuel line clips, he told me to start it up to see if it worked now. I started it up. It went vroom vroom VROOM.

I switched it off and got out.

“Well?” asked SwampMan. “Why did you switch it off?”

“Well, it SOUNDS like it is running better!” I told SwampMan. “However, it didn’t actually die until I put it in reverse. Since you’re laying underneath it, I didn’t want to test it out completely.”

“I appreciate that point!” said SwampMan from beneath the truck. He finished up, got out, and told me to test it. I said a quick prayer to the God of Ford Trucks that this was going to work.

The truck started. The truck backed up. The truck pulled forward. The truck backed up and pulled forward again. The truck ran strong.

“You’re welcome!” snapped SwampMan and stomped into the house.

I ran after him telling him that I was truly grateful for his labors on my behalf.

“Fine! Is dinner ready yet?”

It was 6 p.m. We hadn’t eaten since breakfast. The crockpot chicken hadn’t made it into the crockpot yet because I’d been standing beside the truck all day long. And I hadn’t fed the livestock yet. Crap.

“Oh, I only have a quarter tank of fuel left.” I told Swampman.

“It didn’t leak that much!”

Yeah, it didn’t leak that much for SEVERAL HOURS, though.

“You can believe what you want, but it didn’t leak more than a pint!”

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