Capacity Building Through $%^&# Gas-powered Machines and Herbs

Today was the day - string trimming day. I hadn't done it all year. We hadn't had the capacity, but it was time. I can feel it in my wrists 8 hours later.

I stopped only because I heard Jared's voice over the din and through my hearing protection. "Huh-uhhhhhh!" I heard." I shut off the machine and was too tired to walk it back to the shed. "Maybe I'll get back it later." "Lu-unch!" Jared called again. Oh, lunch.

"It's 12:30," I said. "You were trimming for hours," said Jared. "Nachos are ready and perfectly heated now," he added. "I'm really sweaty, and no doubt some juicy bits of poison ivy got me," I said.

Many year ago, I gave myself a tattoo on my wrists, forearms, and biceps with poison ivy juices that splattered my body during one work-related string trimming experience. Chopped bits of Toxicodendron radicans hit my exposed skin at high velocity. Not even 100% humidity will prevent me from leather gloves, long sleeves, pants, and a bandanna (to protect my neck) anytime I pick up a trimmer.

No two-cycle engine work (chainsaw or trimmer) is completely free of operator error. I removed the tri-blade and put on the grass trimming blade by carefully following the scant directions and confusing diagram.

I fueled the tank, spilling gas on my hand. The kitchen sink was full, I mean overflowing, with dirty dishes. I emptied it and washed my hands three times.

Back at the shed, I remembered my other promise - always wear chemical-resistant gloves when pouring gas.

The trimmer started on the second try. Not bad, not bad at all for a machine that hasn't been used for a couple weeks. I noticed the trimmer head rotated quickly but with an occasional slowing. When up against grass, it would not cut.

Off with the trimmer head. I reassembled it, this time leaving off two of the parts that seemed not to be included in the assembly directions. The head spun freely. Uh oh, I remember this happening once before. I hadn't included the part that allows blockage of the shaft and removal of the trimmer head. Luckily, I hadn't really tightened it and was able to remove it.

I reread the directions, including the ones about mounting a metal cutting assembly. I figured out the parts I needed. All went back together fine.

I began cutting, but got little done. The trimming line wasn't feeding. I shut off the trimmer again.

I was about as hot and ineffective as the engine I attempted to wield. As I tromped by, Beren asked if I'd play with him. "I have to fix the trimmer," I said.

I considered You Tube, but found another set of directions, these for the trimmer head itself. I took a dropperful of Mad Dog Skullcap.

I disassembled the trimmer head. Last time I refilled the line feeder, I'd sloppily wound the line. I rewound the tangled part, and it worked.

The line stopped feeding again, but this time I was patient enough to show Beren what was wrong with the machine and how to fix it. I think the skullcap works really well for me.

Now, I have to do some horrible paperwork for our business. Night, night.