Sunday afternoon, as we hosted a memorial gathering here at the lake house, I felt my throat swelling closed. By Monday morning I was coughing and miserable. I thought I might have a fever. I certainly had no energy for tilling or anything else requiring strength and sweat. I decided I would mow.
Mowing is the endless chore here. To stay on top of it, I should mow 1-2 hours a day. I enjoy mowing, but finding the time between other demands is a challenge. I have decided I will definitely look for a teenager to help me part-time next summer. Someday, when I have all my infrastructure in place, I will be able to keep ahead of the mowing. But that day is not yet.
Thus on Monday, sick and coughing, I decided I would mow in the back acres with Allen’s pull-behind mower. It had worked so perfectly last week, filling me with pleasure as I pictured Allen’s wide grin of satisfaction. I knew it would cheer me up now.
Oh, dear. When I pulled the rope to start the mower, gas poured out of the exhaust. It would not start. Gas continued to spill from the exhaust and run in a stream down the mower deck. I closed the gas line.
Mike kindly came out to doctor the mower that afternoon. When he took the engine apart he found the float valve stuck open, and the carburetor filled with gas. “Sis,” he said, “I don’t think you should ever say somethin’ here works perfect! Somebody’s listenin’!” (Allen too used to put his finger to his lips whenever I said something foolishly optimistic.)
Mike could not repair the problem on site, and took the carburetor away for new parts. As usual, this summer he has repaired mowers, weedwhackers, and tillers for me repeatedly. A few weeks ago he observed, “You really need doubles of everythin’ out there. Maybe even triples!”
Since Monday I have felt sicker and sicker. It has been all I could do to cover the usual mucking of the barn, moving of the sheep, driving, and cooking. Thankfully, the weather has relented and we’ve had a couple of days of cool mist and rain. This has been a blessing to the land in this time of drought and helped me feel less frantic about being sick and unable to force myself to work outside. I wish I could say I’ve slept and read books, but mostly I’ve struggled to complete paperwork with a brain that feels stuffed with cotton wadding.
We take Lucy to college on Sunday. My teaching job starts in two weeks.