March 24, 2011 by Yugen
It is now officially Spring, as of the the equinox on March 20th. It is all daffodils and Easter bunnies, growth, new life and the reawakening of nature from her deep winter slumber from here on in. At least that is the idea. We in fact celebrated the equinox by cleaning up after a snow storm. I remember last year, every storm seemed to hit when we had one of our Monday-Tuesday weekends. It doesn't really pan out well if we wait until the working week starts again to tackle whatever particulars the storm may have brought with it. It is certainly tempting, but it seems that nature does not care whether it is our weekend or not. It almost seems that if there is a god out there, or at least some being who controls the weather, he/she either disapproves of us taking weekends or disapproves, period. And so it was this weekend - we got out there and shoveled and plowed and scraped and perhaps occasionally groaned, wept and cursed. It is actually kind of fun working in the snow, but it is also nice to get time off.
One of the snow plows got stuck over the weekend. The initial attempt to get it out failed, and in the process damaged the GMC snow plow. My guess is that the clutch has burned out or come apart as there is no power to the wheels and a bad sound from the bell housing. I'll pull off the inspection plate later and see if there is any obvious damage. If so, this will be the third clutch replacement of the winter. Not a record that I ever hope we beat. Luckily, we got the Dodge out the second time around so at least we now have one working plow as we got some snow last night and are expecting more. This winter has been one vehicle after another needing attention of some sort. In the past few weeks alone, we've replaced starters, o2 sensors, snow plow rig bolts and pins, leaf spring U-bolts, fan clutches, drive belts and there's still a valve cover gasket on the Subaru (it is leaking oil again. At least it's a new spot this time) and what ever is up with the GMC to go. On the bright side, I'm learning a lot in terms of how to fix old, broken down vehicles.
We had our first guest group of the season last weekend. Chapman University visit twice a year, led by Dr. Mark Maier, as they learn about 'leadership as a way of serving'. We had a Rinzai Zen group scheduled to arrive on Friday, staying for 6 nights, but they canceled earlier this week as the teacher was not well. We rely heavily on guest group income at this time of year, so it is a shame for us to lose the two weekends that this retreat bridged. We actually had to turn down another regular retreat to fit this one in, so it is frustrating that it is too late even to get those guys up here instead. We have another four groups lined up for the weeks following the April sesshin, however, so it's not all doom and gloom.
Next Wednesday we have our annual camp inspection. It normally takes place in the summer, but as we had major work done in the kitchen this year with the stove hood, they want to combine checking the new equipment with the annual check. There is not much we have to do prior to the inspection, but if they decide this year that something else really expensive and unnecessary has to be installed, then there is a lot of follow up work. Fingers crossed.