Spring is the traditional time of year to get ready for another growing season. In the case of a transplanted urbanite living in a small village in rural Ontario, it means nothing more than making sure all your lawn equipment and accessories are in good working order after a winter safely stored in the garage.
I am getting older, so it was with a certain amount of satisfaction that I went about looking after my property. In my younger days I would not have followed through as carefully as I do now, but now is 60 years plus and then was a different time.
My spring checklist is not the same kind as the serious checklist a farmer would have to do when dealing with large tractors and equipment but in many ways the same ritual is followed.
Last year my son was gracious and kind enough to bring a typical lawn tractor over to my small domain.
My back yard is small, but the lawn tractor is appreciated. I can now cut the grass in my yard in less than 15 minutes, leaving more time for me to savour this weekly outdoor event and enjoy the thrill of keeping up with my neighbours’ grass cutting schedules.
It’s definitely not the same as seeding a few hundred acres using a John Deere 9R-490 tractor, but in its own way, it represents my agricultural heritage, which is to say, is pretty small.
In any event, I went out to my garage to make sure the lawn tractor was in good working order.
I felt that at the very least, I was doing my duty as a responsible steward of my back yard to ensure all my tools were ready to go.
I noticed the tractor had a flat tire; I would have to pump it up; no problem as I have an air pump just for that purpose, so I was up to the challenge.
Next was to try and see if the tractor had survived months sitting in the cold. Would it even turn over?
Not surprisingly when I turned the key nothing happened; no problem, my son had left me a lovely battery charger to be used in the event of just this situation.
I got out the charger, re-read the instructions and flipped the tractor seat up to get at the battery.
I have to say that all of this was done in a garage with just the garage door open, so I could not see everything I was working on. The back of the lawn tractor was in the shadow but there was no mistaking the wires hanging out of the battery compartment.
I attached the battery charger and went about continuing my “getting ready for summer” chores. I put snow shovels back up on the hooks they were originally hanging from and found the broom I use to sweep the walk of all the sand and salt left over from winter.
I figured enough time had passed to see if the battery had enough of a charge to start the tractor. I yearned to hear its tiny engine just for a few minutes as a definite sign that summer was really on its way.
Like all new technology, the battery charger had a small readout that ran a message across its face. This message told me to connect the charger to the battery.
I was concerned, as I had connected it properly, so the charger might be having a problem.
I double-checked all the wires and cables and sure enough, I was right, and the charger was wrong.
I texted my son and asked him what could be wrong with the charger and could he give me some advice about what to do. I was determined not to let a faulty charger get in the way of my “getting ready for summer” ritual.
There was a delay, and I thought my son was considering what the various problems with the charger might be, but then he texted. “I took the battery out of your tractor in the fall, and I have it at my place so it would not sit all winter in your cold garage. I will bring it over soon.”
I looked at the tractor’s battery compartment and sure enough there was an empty space with wires hanging out of it.
Sometimes old age, like a summer storm, just arrives and rains all over you.