So when I got home last night I noticed the wet spots in the yard had dried up so I wasted little time before getting on the mower to knock these spots down. I was on the last section, the bumpy ground behind the chicken coop when I suddenly had no more steering capability. I looked down and saw the two wheels facing in opposite directions, wtf. So I shut off the tractor and got down onto the mucky ground on my hands and knees to see what happened.
The ball joint that connected the steering linkage on the left side of the tractor had fallen apart. It looks like it was just from excessive wear, likely enhanced by the missing wheel bearing on that side. I tried pushing it back together but it just fell apart immediately. I then started thinking of a possible stop gap fix that would allow me to at least finish mowing. I only had about a 100 square foot section left.
So my first attempt was to go into the coop and grab some twine. I wrapped it around the joint, hoping it would keep things together. It failed 5 seconds into my first test. I was frustrated as I walked up to the garage looking for something else I could use. As I scanned my pegboard and drawers nothing jumped out as suitable. I then thought about these oversized reusuable wire ties that I have had for years. They had been hanging on the pegboard unused but we actually just utilized them last weekend to build supports around the patio tomato plant.
I went to the plant and stole one of the ties. I returned to the tractor and did my best to twist the two pieces together but having little hope of success. I was pleasantly surprised when I was actually able to steer again. I babied it the rest of the way but was able to finish the work. I later ordered a replacement part for both sides as the other one didn’t look to be in good shape either. I am hoping it shows up by the weekend as major mowing is on the to do list. The Craftsman is getting to the age where fixing shit like this is going to be a regular necessity.
I sort of mentioned how I have a long weekend out of the blue. I have vacation days that I need to use but I can’t afford to be out of the office for large chunks of time so I need to take a day or two here and there. In this case it is going to also serve the purpose of allowing me to take Lucy to the vet. I want to see if the vet can do a proper draining of the swollen area and perhaps give some antibiotics to knock out whatever is causing it. She is an avian vet but not a chicken vet. However I hope she can still help in this situation. It’s the same vet we took Lola to before she went downhill. Either way it should be a memorable experience for Lucy, her first road trip with dad.
I’ve already begun crafting my list of things I want to get done over the for days. You can rest assured I will be very diligent in my pursuit of crossing off each item.