Fun is an emotionally judgmental addition.
-Things I've Heard Vic Say

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Mowing Our Lawn

If you have a lawn, you usually have to mow it. In our case our lawn is very big, over 20 acres, and has hills and valleys and some fairly rugged terrain.

This makes what other people may think of as a rather mundane activity, a challenging and exciting one for us.

Where others might use a lawn mower, we use heavy equipment.

Instead of a lawn edger we use a weed eater. Rather than a generally solitary experience that takes an afternoon, for us it is a team activity that takes weeks.

The virtually rainless summers of California make fire a particular threat. Therefore, every spring the county we live in requires people to cut everything back after the long winter's rain. The grasses quickly go from the verdant lushness of spring to the famous golden hills of Northern California.

To help us do the job, we recently purchased a 1946 Caterpillar D4 crawler tractor, which we then converted to operate on bio-diesel fuel. So on early summer days around our place you can now not only hear the sounds of lawn mowers and weed eaters but also the loud, squeaky sound of metal-on-metal tank tracks. The crawler's track treads enable it to navigate our varied terrain as it pulls behind it a 10 foot wide disk harrow that easily upends the top layer of soil and makes mincemeat of the grasses.

Colin and Greg rise to the challenge of operating the heavy equipment over hill and dale. The crawler, rather than having a steering wheel, uses foot pedals and levers for navigation. That took some getting used to! And sometimes, where the hillsides are especially steep and the dirt loose, the crawler loses traction and begins sliding downhill, making for a heart pounding experience for drivers and observers alike.

Breakdowns happen from time to time and then Colin, Greg, Tracy and Bobbye fix the machines and the guys keep on mowing. .

Jim and Bill head up the crew that use weed eaters to do the "edging" on our "lawn".

That's one of the great things about living in a group — we sometimes have bigger problems, but then again, we also have more people to solve them!

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