The First Snow of the Season
November 24, 2010 by Yugen
On Sunday morning, just as we were finishing the Rohatsu sesshin, and consequentially the Fall Training Period, the clouds that had been rolling through the valley for a few days prior, suddenly opened up and began to drop the first snow flakes of the season. It seemed a fitting end to the Fall period and the start of the Winter Interim Period. Luckily, the snow was not the troublesome type that requires lots of attention in the form of plowing, shoveling, scraping and so on. It was the type that settled to a uniform blanket of less than an inch and made everyone go ahhhh! That kind of snow is quite welcome. It is fortunate that the weather did not play out too much as we are again without tractor and also without the dog. The tractor, having had part of the right axle repaired, then developed another problem in the same area. The cap and nut holding the axle in place came off, I'm not sure when exactly as the guys were using it all week and didn't notice it, so I'm hoping it isn't already too damaged, running without enough gear oil and allowing dirt and moisture in. The whole axle must have been worked on at some point and the nuts had not been put back on properly, so when the other part was fixed, and the nut staked on place, the nut that came off this time must have been the new weak spot and I'm assuming it had also not been correctly staked last time it was put on. I didn't find the parts so I don't know for sure. The new parts will be picked up and then we need to invest in yet another tool to fit it. Luckily the road is quite passable but will need some grading to make it all pretty again as soon as the tractor is given a clean bill of health. As for the dog (Dodge Powerwagon), the clutch seems to have gone as it won't shift gears at all, and any attempt to do so yields a horrific grinding noise. Historically, as the first snow hits Yokoji, the plow will break down, so at least it is reliable in that sense.
At the close of training period, we lost a few of the trainees that were here just for the 3 month period. Daniel has left for a few weeks of California living before flying back to Copenhagen for Christmas. Kokai has returned to San Diego. Travis and Judy are away for the holidays but will be back soon. Other residents are also coming and going for the holidays. Ben is leaving us on December 1st, but as we drop him off at San Diego airport, we will pick up Henry, a new resident, so that works out well! All the trainees will be missed, though, and it is sad when people leave, but you have to get used to it pretty quickly around here as people can only usually commit to a relatively short period of time so goodbyes come just as often as hellos. This week we are working today (Wednesday) but then have Thursday and Friday off for Thanksgiving and then back for Saturday and Sunday. The week after we get back in to the regular interim schedule.