Crow’s Nest: Luckier than it looks

November 16, 2014

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager


This is probably not the kind of photo you’d expect to see on this blog. But there is a story here about good fortune, generosity, and skill. If a person is going to break down in an aging Natural Lands Trust preserve truck, let it be at ChesLen Preserve.

I arrived Wednesday for a habitat management meeting at ChesLen, a central location for the parties involved, and there was smoke pouring out of the left rear wheel well. I had driven the truck so that I could also pick up a box grader from our Stroud Preserve for grading gravel driveways—we always try to combine trips for efficiency.

Fortunately Preserve Manager and mechanic David Casteneda was in his workshop that morning, and offered to take a look at it. By the time I got out of the meeting he had already purchased a replacement brake caliper and was installing it. The rubber seals around the pistons had degraded, dirt got in behind the piston and wouldn’t let it retract.

David had stopped all his work to get me back on the road. And he said, the brake pads come in sets of four, so let’s do the ones on the other side too, that will be one less thing to do when it gets inspected.

By lunchtime I was back on the road and brought the road grader back to Crow’s Nest. This isn’t the first time David has come through for me. I recall a late Friday afternoon once when our mower broke down and he fixed it and had me on my way so that the mowing could resume immediately. Thanks, David!

It’s pretty wonderful to be a part of an organization of people who have varied skills and who are generous with their time.