Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Tale of Two Wheelbarrows

It was a pleasant  Springy Sunday morning and we were strolling about considering some light, recreational landscaping....  Tim walked towards the garage, glanced at the brushy edge of the lawn which we optimistically refer to as the "berry patch" and decided on some bush whacking.  A lawnmower, tractor two rakes and a power scythe later...

A little grass seed and hay and we have more lawn

I had in mind to plant the clumps of Siberian Irises I saved last year.  I went to the compost pile, found that the tire on the big wheelbarrow was flat (again) so chose the shallow wheelbarrow.  Loaded it up with irises and a rake and did some planting.  I chatted with a toad.

Tim was putting away the mower nearby so I mentioned:  "You know that tire you pumped up yesterday?  It's flat again."  Flat?  "Yes flat."  Already? I finished up my planting and Tim said, bring the wheelbarrow over to the garage and he'd fill the tire again.

Before filling the tire, Tim decided to ascertain whether or not the valve stem was the problem.  But first we had to get the wheel off of the barrow.  Two rusty bolts, some oil and a ratchet later we had the greasy shaft out and the wheel on the ground.  It went pretty smoothly.  After a little poking an prying, Tim discovered the problem.  The inner tube was torn.  By the time we got it out, it was in two pieces.  Well there's yer problem.  The tire itself is showing a lot of disintegration on the side wall, but it is probably worth the investment of new inner tube.  In the mean time...

Why don't we take the good tire (which holds air .... held air) off the small wheel barrow and put it on the big wheelbarrow?  So I go fetch the other wheelbarrow and we remove the tire (two more rusty bolts, some oil, a ratchet, a rusty shaft and some swearing later) and put it on the big wheelbarrow.  Tim checks the pressure and decides to top it off.  At 25 psi, the (good) tire splits in the middle and out comes the inner tube like a giant goiter.  Great.  It was about baseball sized... then there was the sound like someone ripping apart a really strong zipper and the inner tube found the way out and the baseball sized goiter swelled to the size of a basketball.  No kidding.  Basketball.  So Tim takes the thingy out of the valve stem, the air goes out and the goiter shrinks.  Hmm.  We now have one torn inner tube, one ripped tire and two useless wheelbarrows.  We're making great progress.

Tim wonders if the inner tube from the smaller (torn) tire will fit on the larger (now tubeless and cracking) tire.  So we take the smaller tire back back off of the wheel, remove the tube and install it into the bigger tire... hold our breath as we add air... so far so good.  Put the rusty bolts back on.

So.  We now have one functional wheel barrow, a pile of frustration and a decision to make... do we spend $40 to replace the tire and tube and still have one tire on it's last legs?  Postponing the decision of what to do with the remaining last legs tire.  Or spend $90 on a new wheel barrow with a FLAT FREE tire?  Better yet, do we spend another $35 for a 4 cu ft wheel barrow and trash both of the old ones?  My vote was to put them both out on the curb with a FREE sign.  I guarantee they will be gone by evening.  Someone, for the mere price of a tire, would get the satisfaction of resurrecting a cast-off wheel barrow.

I slept on the wheelbarrow problem and in the morning:  "I'm tired (no pun intended) of trying to piece shit together and salvage old junk.  Go to Home Depot and buy a steel wheelbarrow with a No Flat tire!  We still have a spare wheelbarrow and... a lawn ornament?  A planter?  I've seen some cute things done with old wheelbarrows and flowers... the more flowers the better....


  1. This was me today trying for the third time to fix the stinkin' wiring on one of our many trailers. I'm hours into this......with seven wires how hard can it be......pretty hard apparently.


  2. Why not drill some drainage holes and plant the wheelbarrows? Park it somewhere and who cares if the tire is flat.

  3. That is one plan. We have a spot picked out but it needs some developement