Okie DNA Downunder

Don’t mock me.

Because when the end of the world comes and there is no electricity or running water or stuff, you will need people like me.

Innovative people. People of the cheap. Okies.

Like in regards to lawnmowers.

We purchased our lawnmower 11 years ago for $30.

If you add the cost of 11 years maintenance and upkeep to the original purchase price, we now have a total of $30 invested in this machine.

And it still runs brilliantly, thanks to creative Okie fixes and our total commitment to safety.

For example, we recently replaced the rear metal flap, where the broken grass catcher used to fit.

Without protection from the grass-catcher, more and more shrapnel has been exploding through the rust holes the last few years, making it appear our shins have been fragged by a grenade.

Lillian Lynn says

This year the rust holes got about as big as your thumb, so we decided to rediscover our inner-Okie and fix it ourself. Under Okie rules, as defined by my older sister Lynn, “the repair has to be both cheap and wonderful.”

Easy for her to say. Lynn has lived out in the country for decades. She can do amazing Okie stuff involving canning and curing and, unless I heard wrong, dynamite and coyotes.

We, on the other hand, have always been the white-collar, city type. Other than hording, I have no skills that are useful outside of a meeting room.

At least on the surface. But I come from a long line of men who could actually do stuff. Deep down in my DNA, there are recessive Okie genes just waiting to be hot-wired in the shed.

My shed holds a big workbench, tools (some hand-forged by my Dad, Grandad and Great Grandad) and bazillions of unidentifiable odds and ends. I have no idea what any of them do. But my DNA just knows that these tools, switches, clasps, wires and whats-its will one day save our planet.

Or at least save me $5 when I am trying to jury rig something. Like the mower. Speaking of which…

I replaced the mower’s back flap using old roofing tin and the type of precision engineering often seen at Mercedes Benz or Nasa, assuming they measure things with a paint-stirring stick.

I’m proud to say that the replacement flap fit absolutely perfectly! At least it did after holes were drilled, nuts and bolts were tightened, and slight adjustments were made with a sledge hammer.


Safety Beer! What?

Now, when working with potentially deadly machinery, you must be totally committed to safety, especially if you’ve been into the beer all afternoon.

We positioned the nuts on the inside, right next to the whirling blade. This way, when they eventually fall off, they will harmlessly ricochet around inside the mower housing before being mulched or, possibly, fired deep into our ankles.

Yay! With the new rear tin flap, the mower looks like a low-mileage, one-owner and is good for another decade or two of maintenance-free service.

Although there’s still a problem with the starter cord. It quit rewinding a few years ago. And the throttle cable sort of broke. But these are “minor technical issues” that will not kill you. Almost certainly.

To start our mower, you have to first lay it on its side and rotate the blade to rewind the starter cord. Lest any women readers are about to faint, note that we disconnect the spark plug wire before turning the blade. With a board. Usually.

This way, even if the mower were to accidentally start while on its side, the board would get splintered, not our only hand.

As you can see, Okie ingenuity walks hand-in… well, walks real close to our commitment to safety.

Once you safely get the starter cord rewound, it’s a simple job to start ‘er up. You just hold the throttle open with your left foot, brace the rear wheel while balancing on your right foot, and yank for all you’re worth.

Another important safety feature is that our mower blade has never been sharpened, mainly because we cannot get it off. Not even once, despite 11 years of running over bricks, concrete sidewalks, nails, shoes, and the occasional Hobbit. We are to the point that our safety blade no longer technically “cuts” the grass so much as beats it into submission until it sort of falls over.

To sum up, this Okie-engineered power mower has many, many years left in it. Do not be concerned about the trench that we inadvertently dug today while mowing the wet boggy grass. It was caused by the right rear wheel, which decided to freeze up.

No worries. A little WD-40 will fix ‘er right up. Right after we get the sledge, a beer and our safety manual.

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8 Responses to “Okie DNA Downunder”

  1. Lillian L. says:

    Get away from that wheelbarrow, Leroy! You knows you don’t know nothing ’bout ‘chinery!!!

  2. Kris says:

    This . . .

    “I replaced the mower’s back flap using old roofing tin and the type of precision engineering often seen at Mercedes Benz or Nasa, assuming they measure things with a paint-stirring stick.”

    Thank you for that laugh. I needed that. Hee hee!

  3. malm says:

    BTW – what does your sister do about chicken/duck killing dogs? (Got a little problem at the house).

    Malm

    • hams says:

      She’d probably cook the duck and give the dog an atta-boy.

      Unless it was a pet or egg-laying duck, in which case said dog would be coyote chow.

  4. malm says:

    What’s the over/under for attempts to start before you blow it off until next time. I get frazzled pulling the cord more after 3-4 times. I can’t imagine going through your checklist with every pull. Funny stuff there.

    Regards,
    Malm

    • hams says:

      It’s not so much “pulls” that are the determining factor, it’s stabbing back spasms. After about three, I’m done for the day.

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