Truck Saga

The truck saga has continued, much to Kelly’s chagrin as she continues to run her compost route with the van, week after week. I met Oren early Saturday morning to “have a look,” arriving at the free city lot and waiting patiently until I saw him round the corner on Polly’s small purple bicycle; knees touching chin as his lanky frame navigated the tiny bike. “Whew…” he caught his breath, jumping off the old cruiser and straightening to full height. “Polly works hard on this thing; must be a brake rubbing or something… So what are we looking at here?”

Turning our attention to the matter at hand, we popped the massive hood and roared the monster to life. We poked, prodded, revved and rattled; reaching the conclusion that the belt tensioner seemed out of whack. As we examined, I noticed that the coolant reservoir, which had been full the week earlier, was empty- possibly explaining the two small pools of fluorescent green liquid on the engine block. So we poked, prodded, revved and rattled some more- unable to tell exactly where the leak stemmed from; hoping against hope that it was just a hose. Facing this plethora of unpleasant information, we resigned ourselves to the necessity of employing professional service. The only decision left was how to break the news to Kelly.

Thankfully, Oren took care of that at our weekly Saturday planning session, where we gathered over Polly Dalton waffles and fresh coffee. We buttered our waffles, checked the weather, laid out the priorities, updated our individual projects and timelines, set a plan and went our separate ways, fairly confident that farm business was on track for the moment.


Monday morning came and I dropped the XL off at Daddio’s Auto Shop, where they had a mockingly appropriate “Be System Smart” belts/hoses display in my face at the counter, featuring a belt that had apparently been installed correctly, with working tensioners. I explained my situation, gave the keys to the man and went on with my life until Monday afternoon, when the call came in that it was good to go. The coolant leak had been just a short hose, and the tensioner had been replaced to satisfactory results. No big deal.

Danny and Kelly agreed to rescue the beast from the shop, and I dropped the manner from my mind entirely until Monday evening, when they called and told me that they’d made it no further than a couple blocks before the squeal resumed at pre-shop levels. Back to Daddio’s they went. The hubbub resumed, with calls flying back and forth until Wednesday afternoon, when the ultimate revelation surfaced that our water pump had been the source of the squeal after all. The XL was ready to roar once more. Again, I called Kelly, who made the arrangements to get the truck as soon as possible, hopefully avoiding one more inconvenient compost run with the van.


Most of these conversations took place from my full-time job off the farm, as the weekly plan carried itself out in my absence. Our greenhouse floor presence expanded under trays and tables of onions, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants; our hoophouses erected and connected into nearly-functional structures; larger swaths of our soil have been prepped and tarped, and the smaller details of the day-to-day have been accounted for. Every aspect of our farming season — and income — depends on this critical juncture of activity, and I’ve found a renewed gratitude for this work within a functioning cooperative, where I have responsibility for my aspects of the farm, and trust that the rest will be carried out according to plan. The truck saga has thus concluded, for now, and it seems we’re on our way to a flourishing season.