Tuesday, September 20, 2016

#202. or, Mellow Yellow Combine

  I wonder if you can train a mongoose?

  So, you know that story about the guy who buys a long forgotten mint Corvette, covered with a tarp, tucked away in the corner of an old barn, for really cheap because the lady selling it doesn't really know what she actually has?

  Well I did that.


  Except it was a combine. Driven haphazardly into the corner of a shed and instead of being covered with a tarp, imagine an inch of pigeon shit. And rather than being mint, imagine it being used for the last nine years without having any kind of regular maintenance or servicing.

  And it was yellow.

  Under all the pigeon shit, I mean.

  And it sticks out like a sore thumb in a yard that is primarily green as far as equipment goes.

  So, not so much a long forgotten mint Corvette, covered with a tarp, tucked away in the corner of an old barn, being sold by an old lady who didn't really know what she had. But more, a Dodge Caravan, with enough electrical wiring, and moving parts to rival the International Space Station, sold not by a sweet little old lady, but a combine salesman who knew exactly what he was selling.

  Still, the hours were low, and it had potential. Even if it was yellow.

  Honestly, the actual guts of the thing aren't terrible. Other than a few items regular maintenance on a near twenty year old combine should have nipped in the bud about eight years or so ago. I'm quite certain, if it could, with every pump of grease into a fitting, that yellow combine would make the same sound I make when I settle into my hot tub after twelve hours twisted to the right, cutting feed with my pull-type silage chopper.

  The biggest issue has been trying to evict the families of mice that have made the cab home since I don't even know how long. Add to that, their overpowering smell that threatened to blow me backward off the catwalk every time I opened the door.

  When you pull the headliner down to remove it, and a family of hairless pink mouse babies roll out onto you, you know you've got a bit of an problem. One that has involved completely removing the top to the cab to clean out old nests, repair vent ducting, and disinfect EVERYTHING possible. Then spray-foaming every cab post, and wire or cable access to the cab I could find, because apparently, twenty years ago, mouse proofing the cab of a combine wasn't high priority if you were a yellow combine engineer.

  So now, even though I'm not quite finished, instead of overpowering mouse odor when I open the door, I get a combination of silicone sealant, Lysol, and fiberglass resin, which I'm finding is unsettlingly pleasant.

  I really doubt that I've found all the mouse holes and plugged them off, or that the mice will give up and move on to someone else's yellow combine all that easily. So, I think my next option is to get a combine cab snake to slither around through all the venting and eat all the mice that I haven't been able to capture.

  .............of course, there's no way I'm getting into the cab of a combine if there's a snake in there, which means I'm going to need a mongoose to kill the snake. I wonder if you can train a mongoose?


  1. Always nice to read a new post from you, Ken! I hope you had a good harvest this year. My Rare One just fought an epic battle this Spring with mice in her garage. That war made the Game of Thrones look like a church picnic.

    1. Hi Debra!
      Technically, I have yet to actually begin my harvest. The combining portion anyway. Now I'm imagining The Game of Thrones opening sequence with the mousetrap game instead of castles erecting off the face of the map! :)

  2. Wow, it was great to see a post from you after so long! Mice, God they are nasty, smelly, dirty little critters, and even worse in the house. Much better than the snake and the mongoose idea... a couple of hungry cats should make good riding partners, just don't pack a tuna sandwich in your lunch box! :-)

    1. Thanks J2S!
      It's been far too long since I've written anything. My head just wasn't in the right place. Unfortunately, with 5 dogs, cats don't tend to hang around here for too long. And I like tuna sandwiches too much! :)

  3. Well, I went though a similar situatio when I ws unable to drive my car for a year. A mouse, apparently a bachelor, took it over. I named him Mr. Peabody (guess why). I even wrote a flash fiction story, found on my Stories page. He peed in the vent system, chewed up a tissue box for a bed, brought seeds INTO the car...my spotless car. It took forever to get rid of the smell of a resident mouse. His little dead body was found hidden on the engine, by the mechanic re-doing the vents. He had been dead awhile, preserved, no odor...which was interesting, since his life was pretty odiferous.
    Always good to see you here!

    1. Hi McGuffy Ann!
      You never really know he's dead until you find a mummified corpse! The smell is the worst! I don't even know if you can ever completely get rid of that odor!

  4. Reading a post from you is like going to visit an old friend- nothing changes, the convo is still good and the time is always right.

    I want to rescue all the mice babies.

    1. Hello, my friend!

      Um, NO! No rescuing of terrible, smelly mice or their babies invading my farm equipment! Sorry.

      I'm trying to get back into the swing of writing more. And to be honest, this one felt a tad awkward. More than a little out of practice, I think.

  5. Dude. Sorry about your crappy harvest. And the mice. And the mice crap. Too much crap. But your sense of humour remains. Some days that's all we've got. Keep on keepin' on.

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