Leaf mulcher craters

Got a small surprise when I went out this morning to turn the compost pile. Not to get too scientific but composting is an exothermic process – meaning it gives off heat. I’ve always known that. It’s what you want to happen and is why you turn the pile regularly – to replace the oxygen the process is consuming. It was about 40 degrees out and I noticed that when I turned the first pitchfork full, it was a bit steamy. Either that or it was powder from the wood ash I had piled on the other day. I put my hand it in expecting to feel warmth and instead got a nice burn. Believe it or not, it was hot enough to burn the skin. Nothing to worry about but a good reminder of what’s going on with those microbe critters and confirm that the process goes on no matter what the outside temp is.

Spotted a large otter in the lake today. He was suspiciously cruising the area where I catch the most spec’s. Since I’m the only human that really fishes for them in this lake, I guess I can split the catch with otto.

The Florida Maple tree has turned from green to yellow almost overnight and, if history holds, will drop all the leaves within a week. Break out the leaf mulcher. This particular tree was the inspiration or driving force behind getting the mulcher in the first place. Over the course of a year, most of the leaf mulch is oak – and lots of it – so this will give the mulch critters a nice change of pace to munch on. This season has to be a giant thanksgiving for them with a wide variety of vegetable leaves and citrus hulks to go along with the usual fare. This batch will have a distinct tomato flavor since the plants that froze were loaded with unripe, damaged fruit and made up a new layer on the compost pile.

This particular tree drops a massive load of leaves but the mulcher cratered after only three loads. The thermal breaker stopped the machine and the smell of burning electrical matter was wafting in the air. I took it all apart to see if it was jammed but it was totally clean. Started it again, more smoke. I love the mulcher but this is the second problem with it. The first was the impeller blades which was certainly my responsibility – driveway rocks tore it up. But I’ve been very careful to suck up only leaves and maybe an occasional twig so this one is on them. I will say something for Shop Vac – when you call customer service a human answers the phone, no push one for English routine. I explain to the person that I need to speak to a service tech on the MV35 and she says ok, hold on while I transfer you. The guy that answers – on the first ring – is indeed the service tech and is quite knowledgeable on the product. I walk him through my symptoms and troubleshooting and he concludes that the motor is history. He asks how long I’ve had it – about a year. There’s a two year warranty so he says they’ll send me out a new motor – what’s your address. No further questions, no discussion about proof of purchase. Boom, it’s done. So while I’m less than satisfied with the product reliability, I’m 1000% satisfied with the service policies and personnel.

Heading off to the Lake Mary Carbone’s for Christmas. Tom bought an electric smoker on Black Friday and has been smoking his little heart out ever since. We got a taste of it last week with pulled pork. It was as good or better than any I’ve ever had. I think Baby Back Ribs and Prime Rib are on the menu for the holidays. Got my fingers crossed that Little Tommy makes it home from Missouri. There’s a large snow event headed that way and I hate to think about him spending Christmas in the St. Louis airport.

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