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Lava Tube

Stuck Mower

The problem with living on a volcano is that the ground is still young.  It takes many millennia to turn lava rock into fertile soil.  Our soil depth is measured in inches and there are plenty of rocky spots, steep spots and deep holes.  When lava dries it often has large air pockets that eventually erode and cave in, creating holes deep enough to eat a tractor.  Or a mower.

I knew the hole was there but it was all overgrown with large weeds and I was trying to mow around the edges.  The problem is that wet grass and weeds are very slippery.  The ground was steeper than I thought.  Once the mower started slipping there was no stopping it.  It was a slow slide so there were no injuries, just a very angry farmer.

The mower is only two wheel drive.  It has a differential lock and that's usually enough but not always.  The ATV has four wheel drive and a lot of pulling power for an ATV.  Previously the ATV has always been enough to pull the mower right out of whatever hole or fence it's tangled up in.  This time the ATV wouldn't even budge the mower, it was stuck good.  So I brought out the big guns.

The tractor doesn't fit in the macadamia nut orchard very well.  There are lots of low branches and tight clearances.  That's why I prefer using the smaller mower instead of the tractor.  But the tractor can do things that no other vehicle can.  It has four wheel drive, a ton of traction and a super low gear.  Combine all that with a heavy duty chain and the tractor popped the mower out of its pit with no problem at all.

Now all I have to do is replace the broken pulley spindle, bend the mower blade back straight and find another lift arm pin.  That's only $100 or so in repairs, not too bad, but I have to fix it quickly because the macadamia nut pickers will be here soon and I need to finish preparing the orchard before they arrive.  The mower is by far the most important piece of farm equipment.  I may have to find another way to keep the lava pits free of weeds.


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