Today was Dead Battery Day at Indigo Hill, but this is something I did not know until the end of the day. The afternoon was sunny, and sunny weekend afternoons in early April are always devoted to mowing the meadow. This little bit of agricultural activity is traditionally preceded by hours of trying to get the tractor started after its long winter nap. This year's tractor (a used Massey Ferguson 135) is supposed to be an upgrade from last year's tractor (a MF TO 35) that gasped its last breath in August leaving me with lots of uncut meadow, growing more brushy every week.
Liam helped me in the garage as I gassed up the tractor, checked the oil, topped off the radiator. He asked all kinds of questions, like "Dad, before I was born, before I was a little boy, were there dinosaurs on our farm?" It was great having him with me. I gave him jobs to do, like holding the wrench and handing me the oil can. It also helped me keep my language clean when I climbed into the tractor seat, turned the key, and heard....nothing. Not even a click. The battery was totally dead.
No problem I have a charger. Two hours later, and a garage full of blue smoke, the 135 roared to life. I raised the mowing deck pulled out into the side yard and gave Liam a ride around the garden. Then I headed down into the meadow to, at long last, mow back the brush. I got exactly 3/4 of the way out the meadow on my first pass and the tractor died. The battery charge did not hold. And unless I could put together a quarter-mile of extension cords, my mowing was done for the day.
Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean, I repeated to myself as I walked back to the house. No time to get to town and back for a new battery before dark. The tractor will be sleeping in the meadow tonight.
The light was still sufficient for photography, so I grabbed the digiscoping gear and walked back out to the tractor. The brown thrasher was singing out there and I really wanted to digiscope him. He had other ideas, so I decided to shoot a few frames of my marooned tractor.
The camera beeped twice. Dead batteries.