Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘diesel tractor

Flat Fix

leave a comment »

I found out how to get the tractor with a flat, fluid-filled tire out of the garage… Yesterday afternoon, I got a call at work from the guy I had contacted to solve my tire problem. He asked me if I still needed the repair done.

After assuring him I did, and that I was anxiously awaiting his opportunity to show up, he told me he was standing outside my garage, wondering how to get in.

From my workplace, an hour away, I was able to direct him to the button for the garage door opener. I then contacted Cyndie, who was busy on another phone call inside our house. She later told me that Delilah was barking incessantly at the strange truck in the driveway, but Cyndie needed to finish her call.

She was eventually able to get out there and move the ATV out of the way, so the guy could work on the tractor. He didn’t want to make a big mess in the garage, so, he opted to make just a little mess and simply drove the tractor on that flat tire to get it outside.

Why didn’t I think of that?

Oh, probably because I know next to nothing about large tractor tires.

I wish I had been there to watch him work, so I could learn more about what’s involved. Even though I left work as soon as possible after finding out he was ready to do the fix, by the time I pulled up the driveway, he had already finished all the work, parked the tractor back in the garage, closed the door, and was in his truck writing up the invoice.

If the timing is right, I may have another chance to witness the process. He didn’t have enough of the non-corrosive fluid to change out the caustic calcium chloride in the other rear tire, so he will need to return later this week, if circumstance allows. He told me it depends on whether the local farmers get back into their fields to finish combining the corn that is still standing.

Tractors that develop tire problems during harvest get the highest priority attention, and automatically move jobs like mine down the list to be dealt with later.

If I get lucky, maybe he will show up on Friday, when I’m at home. I’d like to see how he breaks the seal, pulls out the old tube, and then gets the new one in and filled with both fluid and a little air.

This is a long way from changing a flat on a bicycle, that’s for sure.

.

.

Old Wood

leave a comment »

Yesterday was mostly consumed with diesel tractor maintenance, complimented with a brief session of lawn mowing, but there was still time for a stroll through the woods when Julian and Allison stopped by to visit. We came upon an interesting fungal conk growing on the bark of one of our old trees.

This tree suffered significant damage in a tornado that passed over this property two years before we arrived. The top broke off, and I expect the gaping wound that resulted is where the fungus made its way in. Plenty of new growth has sprouted in the years since, but this tree is probably on borrowed time.

It has been here so long that it grew around an old barbed wire fence that was probably put up before the tree had sprouted from the ground.

That can’t be all that good for the tree, either.

In the morning yesterday, while following Delilah on her first walk of the day, I noticed a newly toppled-over dead tree much further into our woods, looking to the left from this tree with the barbed wire and conks.

It is the second one to fall in about a week. I’m wondering if, in the absence of any obvious wind events, maybe the dry spell we are in has contributed to the falling timber.

I’m overdue to be putting in hours as a lumberjack around here. Maybe the old wood is just trying to get my attention.

At least the diesel engine has fresh oil, a clean air filter, and the tractor has new grease in all the fittings. The wood chipper accessory is going to get called to duty relatively soon, I believe.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

August 20, 2018 at 6:00 am

Demanding Attention

leave a comment »

All I can do is what I can do today. Mentally, tasks pile up beyond my ability to execute, often resulting in my getting even less accomplished than I otherwise could. Just like excessive heat will sap strength and endurance, the visualized burdens of work that should be done drains my energy and motivation.

This summer, there are signs of neglect at every turn that have me on the verge of choosing to simply ignore them in hope of recovering at least enough impetus to accomplish one deserving chore per day. The problem with that solution is that my gift of intentional ignorance is susceptible to getting out of hand. 

It would be far too easy for this place to take on the appearance of neglect run amok.

Might be time again to make a list and establish priorities. I’m more inclined to allow tasks to grab my interest as I’m treading from one thing to the next, but working a prioritized list does help keep me from completely ignoring things that shouldn’t be neglected.

I do have a default priority of seeking to at least maintain an ‘appearance’ of fastidiousness here, by maintaining the landscape by the road well enough to fool passersby. The recent coarse shredding of growth along the right-of-way has left a gaping mess that I hope to improve, but for now is nothing but an eyesore.

Yesterday, I dipped my toes into the project and was disheartened to discover how much work it will be to get it to the state I would like to see. That machine they use twists and shreds the branches into a tangled mess, and there are a lot more of them left lying there than I was aware.

In addition to pulling out and disposing of those, I need to cut off all the sharpened short spikes of growth left behind where the operator didn’t cut all the way to the ground. Some are small enough to be snipped with a lopper, but others deserve the chainsaw.

There is plenty of debris that could be run through our chipper, but I’m inclined to haul it the short distance to my project of a border wall of branches creating a hedge barrier to the cornfield just to our north.

The rest of that hedge wall needs to be trimmed, as well.

The diesel tractor needs an oil change before I put it to work on a big project.

The diesel tractor is needed to mow the dry creek drainage along our southern border.

Also need to move lime screenings to the paddock.

Want to blade the gravel drive around the barn.

The trail along the outside of our fence needs to be cut back with the power trimmer.

The fence line needs to be trimmed.

The trails need to be trimmed.

Dead trees recently fallen in the woods and on one trail need to be cut up.

Standing dead trees could be cut down, too. Would help look less neglected around here.

The arena needs to be mowed.

The round pen needs to be raked and grass around gazebo mowed.

The back up generator needs an oil change.

That’s what needs to be done today. I’ll start tomorrow’s list later. Right now I need to go out and see what grabs my attention to work on so I can avoid everything else that is on today’s list of chores demanding attention.

.

.

Getting Orange

leave a comment »

Things are growing more orange around here. Yesterday at breakfast, Cyndie called me to come look at the difference in color of our eggs, compared to the ones purchased at the grocery store. Looks like the free-range diet of our three chickens is producing deep color in the yolks, seen on the right, below.

We spent the Labor Day holiday doing a lot of work, for a day off. Starting with a couple of hours cleaning out the compost area, using the loader bucket on the diesel tractor. There’s now plenty of room to store a winter’s worth of manure, just in case winter gets around to showing up.

Then we split up and Cyndie used the power trimmer in the labyrinth, while I entered a race against time to get the hayfield mowed before it rained.

Looking back toward the horses, I spotted another splash of orange color erupting from the green of our tree line.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like September.

At the end of a long day’s effort, we put our tools away and headed for the house under the drops of a perfect late-summer rain shower.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

September 5, 2017 at 6:00 am

Final Step

leave a comment »

It starts out as luscious green grass. The horses eat it and their bodies process it. They spread it on the ground for me to scoop up and shape into big piles. In the piles, microorganisms take action and the temperature climbs to around 160° (F). Eventually, things settle down and the pile cools.

At that point, it’s ready for use feeding growing things which puts that luscious green back where it came from at the start. The final step is loading some bags for sharing our wealth with others.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

My project yesterday was a little more involved than usual after the chickens showed up to offer assistance. Their version of helping seems to always involve getting as much in the way as they possibly can. I tried negotiating with them, but it seems as though they don’t understand English.

Compost work was interrupted by lunch, after which our attention shifted to the north pasture. With Cyndie assisting, we pulled the posts with a chain and the loader bucket of the diesel tractor, which cleared the way for me to mow the overgrown field.

Well, not exactly. The evergreen trees in that field have gotten so big, the tractor doesn’t fit between many of them anymore. It becomes a maze of weaving around groups of trees that are often too close together to provide easy weaving.

It was certainly more trouble than I could manage, in terms of getting the field to look decently mowed. I did achieve a wonderful version of the ‘bad haircut.’

The night ended with a small setback, as the chickens made their way into the tree over the compost piles again before we could entice them to the coop. It seems as though the training for that may not have a final step, but will be a repeating exercise for some time to come.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

July 15, 2017 at 6:00 am

Most Satisfying

with 4 comments

Every time I use our wood chipper, I grow more enamored with the machine and what it does for us. For me, it has become the most satisfying repeated task of property management that we undertake.

It is relatively easy to set up, makes good use of our otherwise under-utilized diesel tractor, and it makes quick work of the chipping. I love the way it transforms an unsightly nuisance of constantly accumulating dead (or recently pruned) branches into a precious resource of wood chips. We will never have enough.

We use the chips around plants in the gardens and landscaping, as well as a covering for our many trails. That is, we hope to cover the trails. Right now, we have a lot more trails in need than we have wood chips to cover.

If we could find a way to create a few more hours in a day, we certainly have no shortage of branches to chip…

And it would be a most satisfying additional few hours, indeed.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

April 5, 2017 at 6:00 am

Tractor Timber

leave a comment »

IMG_iP1462eDespite the inherent risks in dealing with trees that have blown over, but remain hung up in the branches of other trees beside them, I chose to see if I could push them over using the loader on our tractor.

Whether or not it made any sense to try, I forged ahead on the idea that it just might work.

First, I needed to attach the loader bucket that I’ve recently taken to storing at one end of the hay shed.

The following is pretty much how the previous week unfolded for me, in terms of frustrations.

As I approached the hay shed on the tractor, I realized the trailer on the back of the truck was parked directly in front of the spot I needed to reach. Keys to the truck were up at the house.

I caught sight of Cyndie just crossing the yard and shouted to ask if she could grab the keys.

She turned the key and the starter stuttered the staccato clatter of “not enough battery.”

“Not again! Not now!”

IMG_iP1493eFor some unidentified reason, this happens at very unpredictable odd intervals. The truck needed to have its battery charged again. It was parked far enough away that it would require an extension cord, and then I realized the nearest outlet was dead because I had borrowed the circuit breaker last fall to use for the waterer over the winter.

I swapped out the breaker, got the battery charging, and decided to do some lawn mowing. All that served to do was intensify my frustration over the odd problem of the middle blade not cutting and the outside blades cutting low. Something more than just a broken bracket must have gone wrong when it failed last week.

I did the bare minimum of ugly mowing and then put it away to start the truck.

All that frustration before I could get to the task I intended.

Compared to those hassles, the rest of my project went swimmingly. I pulled up to the trees, lifted the bucket to test the weight, and after an initial slip, successfully pushed the trees over with a resounding crash.

IMG_iP1494e

Yikes. It was both scary and satisfying.

Most of all, it wasn’t frustrating.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

August 1, 2016 at 6:00 am