Sometimes my internal (not written down) to-do list becomes dominated by little stuff, relatively small tasks I’ve deferred in favor of tackling bigger jobs. I noticed that this morning as I considered what needed doing today, both on and off The Mountain.

First things first — securing insurance policies here in Arkansas last week meant that the old policies had to be canceled. That involved two carriers, one of which I handled with an e-mail to our agent and one I had to call directly. All went smoothly. We’ll get refunds of unused premiums, which we’ll apply to the new policies.

Deb wanted to drive Mercy over to The Mountain today, and she reminded me that I was tardy re-connecting the Jeep’s auxiliary seat heaters. I took care of that before we left, even though the weather was pleasant enough that we wouldn’t need them.

This was the first temperate day we’ve had in over a week, with clear skies and temps threatening 60°F. I enjoyed riding shotgun for a change, discovering things I don’t see while driving. Just as we crossed into Marion County, for example, I looked to my left and saw a rocky bluff towering over Crooked Creek two miles to the north. I’d never noticed that before.

On The Mountain we struck a leisurely pace. We spent plenty of time sitting in Deb’s cousin’s driveway, chatting with him and basking in the sun. And we did a few chores.

I hung the doors back on the Ranger for the first time since July, hitting the hinge pins and latches with white lithium grease. Then, as long as the buggy was parked outside, I attacked the clutter inside the shed — it wasn’t bad, just messy enough to keep me from finding what I was looking for. Now it’s not.

The chipper-shredder we bought secondhand ten days ago sits outside the shed, under a cover the previous owner included in the deal. It begged for TLC it clearly hadn’t seen in a while, so this afternoon I rolled it out into the driveway, removed the airbox cover, added an ounce of Gumout to the fuel tank and shot aerosol cleaner into the carb throat.

It started on the first pull.

What I intended to do was run it out of stale gas, chemically scrubbing the fuel system. But more primitive instincts took over. I had to chip something.

All I could find close by was dry, hard cedar and oak — not generally what I’ll use this for, but I fed it into the chute anyway. The little chipper didn’t handle it very efficiently, which wasn’t really a surprise. There’s a chance that the knives are dull, requiring either sharpening (cheap) or replacement (not cheap). At some point I’ll remove the housing and give the blades and flails a look.

Today’s run confirmed that I’ll definitely want to replace the spark plug and air-filter elements, just because. Both are inexpensive, and fresh is better. And speaking of fresh, I put stabilized gas in the tank and ran the engine a while longer before shutting it down, letting it cool and putting it away.

Never did I imagine that this used chipper-shredder with an unknown history would be a turn-key proposition. I knew work would be involved, cleanup and possibly a repair or two. We’re still glad we brought this one home.

It was a genuine pleasure doing those few chores today. I’m happy that we put Mercy on the road again, too, and I got a kick out of seeing the smile on Deb’s face as she piloted our orange Wrangler to and from The Mountain. Everything came together perfectly, if not necessarily spectacularly, in a great day.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB