Finally… I’m getting serious about small-engine repair

As some of you know, in December I enrolled in a certification class for small-engine repair. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, it just hadn’t crept this far up the priority list until recently. I’m on track to finish sometime this summer. I’m learning a lot and having fun too!


I’ve always loved to fix things. Goes with my problem-solver personality. Before we moved to the farm in 2006, I had a successful repair and restoration business in Seattle, mainly working on antiques and art objects; I also did gilding, which mainly entailed picture frame restoration. Although I will happily tackle just about any kind of repair project, I’m particularly fascinated by mechanical things. And looking around the farm, even a smallish one like ours, it’s amazing how many pieces of equipment we have that have small engines.


Really important things, like our water pump, without which we wouldn’t have water at the house. Our chainsaw, which is fairly vital since we heat our house with 2 woodstoves. Now that we’ve had our solar electric system up and running for several years, we hardly ever use our generator, but its engine needs regular maintenance. Certainly most of our mowing and other lawn-care equipment has small engines. Other things less often used, like our pressure washer.


I’ve had thoughts about a part-time business doing this kind of repair and maintenance, but I could also keep fairly occupied just with the equipment here. Just last week I was able to get David’s mower running again. He just knew that the thing wouldn’t start, and thought that we’d need to replace the blower housing; it’s a typical rope-pull starter, and the blower housing encases the spool holding the rope. Anyway, I got the thing apart as far as the blower housing, and discovered a small part that was very loose. I just happened to have learned that that part should definitely NOT be loose, so I made sure the threads on the bolt weren’t damaged, tightened it up, put it back together, and now it runs perfectly. How about that! Didn’t even spend any money on parts.


So whatever I end up doing with these additional skills, I am enjoying the learning process greatly. Since my new book, From No-Knead to Sourdough, is coming out next month, it’s going to be a bit of a juggle this summer to fit in studying, practice and exams around book-promotion events, but I say, bring it on! I’m glad I finally took the step of getting into this class, and am looking forward to whatever comes next.

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