By Sandy Laumeyer
Just A Thought 

Mrs. Fix-It


Over the years I've found it really does help to know some basics about repairing vehicles and farm equipment.

The first car my husband and I had was a Chevy four-door sedan. About a year after he purchased it, a problem developed. For some reason, the cotter key holding the clutch rod together would fall out. You never knew when it happened. Your only clue was that when you put your foot on the clutch pedal, it went straight to the floor. Consequently a package of cotter keys, a pair of pliers, and a screwdriver became standard equipment to carry in the glove box.

I had made a trip into Glasgow to take care of some farm business. Since it was supposed to only take a half hour, I hadn't bothered to change out of my shirt, jeans, and work boots. There is no such thing as a "quick" trip.

Returning to my car, I put my foot on the clutch pedal and it went to the floor. With a sigh of exasperation, I retrieved a cotter key, pliers, and screwdriver, and crawled under the car to fix the problem.

I just finished my task when I heard a man ask, "Do you need some help?" Scooting out from under the car, I stood up, brushed the dust off my clothes and replied, "No, thank you. I just need to replace the cotter key on the clutch rod."

The gentleman took in my appearance and then queried, "Are you by chance a farm wife?"

"Yes," I said.

"Oh," he answered with a grin. "Had I known that, I wouldn't have asked. Farm wives know how to handle things like that."

I thanked him for stopping to ask if I needed assistance, then proceeded to get back to the farm and the day's work.

Sometimes farm equipment can be quite contrary. Take, for instance, the small square baler we used at harvest time.

I'd gone out to the field where my husband was harvesting wheat. I told him I'd come to run the baler since the young man we'd hired to do so had not shown up. He got off the combine and went to the tractor and baler with me. On the way, he explained how the baler seemed to have an appetite for shear pins.

Arriving at where the tractor and baler were parked, he told me how I would know if the shear pin had broken and how to replace it.

Evidently, that baler had a craving for shear pins because in the space of an hour I'd replaced two. After the fourth time, I stood in front of that baler and told it, "The next time you eat the shear pin, I am not going to replace it. Instead, I'm going to pull you to the junk pile and leave you there."

I got back on the tractor and started baling straw. Six hours later, I was done for the day and not once had I replaced the shear pin. In fact, the shear pin did not need replacing the rest of harvest.

So my advice to women who live on a farm is do a little studying about the vehicles and equipment you are expected to operate, ask questions, take notes, and should the need arise to do some minor repairs, you will be fully qualified to handle them.


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