Mason has finally hit the “big time” as a suburb of Bethel. We now have steel guard rails protecting us from the embankments on the approaches to two bridges on Meadow Brook Bridge Road (the red steel bridge over Pleasant River just east of the intersection with Kings Highway and the small brook just the other side of the same intersection). There is another newly protected stone bridge on Kings Highway crossing Hutchinson Brook just up-hill from my home. The western end of this new guard rail blocks about half of the small log yard I have there. I know of no serious accidents at any of these locations in the past 100 years, or so.
In my opinion there is another, more treacherous, location still unprotected by guard rails here. That is the steep bank on the south side of the Kings Highwayjust upstream of “The Falls” swimming hole and the small green roofed camp on the side of the falls. The bank there drops precipitously from the edge of the Kings Highwayroad down to the river at the top of the falls. It is really scary to drive down this road when it is ice and snow covered and there is little or no snow bank to stop a skidding vehicle from plunging into the river. Mona admits that she often drives down this stretch of road on the “wrong side” away from the river bank in winter, hoping not to meet any opposing traffic! Of course, I would never do a thing like that.
In other news, have you ever done something and then later realized that you had been a really dumb stick for doing or thinking that? I did that a couple weeks ago, after having some trouble with my garden tiller. The tiller is a walk behind “Econo Horse” brand that has a keyed washer that bolts in different slots to adjust the height of the handles you use to guide the tiller. The “keyed projection” on this washer on my tiller was worn off, so that the tiller handles would not stay in position. When this happened, I could not get the tiller to apply power to go either forward or backward. As a result, I consulted my repair manual and ordered a new washer and also new forward and backward drive belts for the tiller.
The parts arrived about 10 days later, and I replaced the aged washer and belts. After getting everything back together with the handles in what I figured was the optimum position for me to comfortably operate the tiller, I tried an operational check to test my work. The tiller wouldn’t go either forward or backward! I rechecked my work and also the diagrams in my operator’s manual. It still would not move either forward or backward, so I reluctantly decided to call Carl Colby and made an appointment to take the tiller over to his repair shop. I got my one cord dump trailer hooked up to my pickup and tried to figure out how I was going to attach a “come-along” to the trailer and tiller in a way to pull the tiller up my loading ramp 2 X 6 inch planks into the trailer. It was about this time when I had the “You dumb stick” revelation. It occurred to me that the tiller has a small lever marked “engage” and “disengage,” which put the transmission in position to go either forward or reverse! When I moved this lever from the “disengage” to the “engage,” position, the tiller moved appropriately! Yes. I have used this lever before, almost every time I have used the tiller! I kicked myself, and then phoned Carl to cancel my appointment.
News flash! It is Sunday evening, and my daughter Anita just phoned from South Dakota. She reported that it was white outside there, as they had about a half inch of hail! Most of the hailstones were about pea size, but they saw some about the size of golf balls bouncing around on the road! They had driven about 10 miles to Hill City, where they intended to go on a 10 mile bike ride with their kids, when they saw a really black cloud threatening. They decided to drive back home when the hail hit. They stopped the car under a bridge until the hail stopped for a while. Then they drove home, where there was no hail yet, but then the half inch accumulated there. Anita says her tomatoes are visible from the house, where some of the leaves were beaten off. She doesn’t know yet whether any serious damage occurred to her veggie garden. Their cars suffered some dents and dings, but they’re not sure if it is worth reporting the damage to their insurance company.