Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘pallets

Pallet Reuse

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You may recall that I built our chicken coop using wood predominantly gathered from pallets I salvaged at my workplace. Even though our coop is complete, the pallets keep coming. At the day-job, equipment arrives mounted to brand new pallets that the manufacturer doesn’t want returned.

I hate to imagine the wood pallets getting discarded after just one short shipping journey, so I continue to look for ways we can use them on the ranch.

One immediate need is in improving the footing on our trails where the surface is frequently such a muddy mess that you could lose a shoe if not careful.

The pallets I bring home from work have four blocks nailed on top which make it difficult to stack things on them, like bales of hay. Since that is a primary use for the pallets, my first project in reuse involves removing the blocks.

The pallets almost always arrive in sets of three, and my knack for procrastination plays out in a tendency to wait to remove the top blocks until some later time. Yesterday, being warm and sunny, turned out to be one of those later times.

Turns out our collection of pallets had grown to 15. That just so happens to mean 60 blocks, all power-nailed to the planks on the pallets. My right arm got a decent workout swinging the 3-pound hammer against the pry bar.

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Today we hope to extend the “paved” portion of muddy trail with the newly harvested blocks.

After that, the plan is to put up the temporary protective fenced courtyard around the chicken coop in preparation for the chicks first ventures out on real earth.

I wonder if a certain fox will be spying on us while we work…

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Written by johnwhays

April 29, 2018 at 10:09 am

Stacking Wood

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I’m a little behind where I prefer to be with staging firewood for a year away, so today we took a hint from the snowy weather and gave the shed some overdue attention. First, we started by stocking the wood rack on our deck with this year’s firewood, which cleared out the last of the space on the left side of the wood shed.

That allowed me to put new pallets in for a floor where I had previously used wood blocks. After digging out the old blocks, and pulling similar ones off the new pallets, we hauled them down to the woods to use on our trail.

As far as projects go, these were pretty small steps, but accomplishing them provided a large psychological boost. It paves the way for me to focus exclusively on splitting and stacking firewood to fill the rest of the shed.

Achieving that is a goal I’d like to complete in November.

Somebody remind me in about a month that I wrote this here.

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Written by johnwhays

October 30, 2017 at 6:00 am

Paving Paradise

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We are experimenting with a new way to improve a particularly wet and muddy portion of one trail through our woods. Originally, I was hoping we could simply cover it with wood chips. It worked for a while, but we haven’t been chipping branches frequently enough to produce the supply needed to cover all of our trails.

dscn5245eThe piles of wood blocks that I have been pulling off pallets salvaged from the day-job are suddenly proving valuable. Instantly, we have gone from having too many of these lying around, to not having enough to cover the muddy lengths of trail that need the most help.

It is interesting to consider the path (no pun intended) these pieces of former trees have traveled. Somewhere, trees are cut down and milled into boards. Then the wood gets cut into these shapes and nailed to pallets. The company that manufactures the products we receive at the day-job mount their units onto the pallets for shipment and charge the end customer for the wood.

We have asked if they wanted the pallets returned for reuse, but like so many other things in today’s world, since already paid for, they apparently weren’t worth the trouble. We end up with perfectly good, single-use pallets out of brand-new wood, albeit with four odd blocks nailed to the tops.

I’ve been pulling the nails to remove the blocks and using the pallets as a floor in my wood shed and beneath stored hay in the hay shed. I also claimed boards off some pallets to build hay feeding boxes for the 4 stalls in the barn. All the while, the odd blocks that were removed have been piling up.

dscn5244eWhen Cyndie started looking into a boardwalk as a way to get up out of the mud on our trails, we landed on the idea of using the blocks. She wanted to add some words of inspiration and enlisted Anneliese to join her in creating the enhancements.

Yesterday we laid down the first test run. So far, so good. Only a couple more miles to go. I hope there will soon be a lot of new orders for that equipment at the day-job.

It is poetic justice that we’ve found a way to ultimately bring this pallet wood full-circle, placing it on a forest floor once again.

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Written by johnwhays

October 8, 2016 at 9:05 am

Cool Skills

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It was hot yesterday, and tropically humid. That double whammy is enough to alter our choice of activities. That goes for the horses, too. Cyndie put a halter on Legacy in a plan of walking him out to a shadier and breezier spot to graze. She reported that he responded with a sigh and a look spoke volumes to her.

He didn’t want to expend the energy of walking to a potentially better spot.

IMG_iP1410eMaybe that is what inspired Cyndie to find a way to emulate Legacy’s attention to self-preservation. She offered to help me prepare the rest of the pallets I have been collecting from work. I looked up to find her hammering with one hand while sipping an ice-cold smoothie gripped in the other.

Now that’s efficiency.

I wish I could manufacture some of that efficiency for myself. It would come in handy for actually turning a pile of pallets into a structure that will house and protect some chickens.

In case someday we ever actually get chickens.

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Written by johnwhays

June 12, 2016 at 9:16 am

Frozen Season

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DSCN4121eThe frozen season has finally arrived. It’s got me wanting to have a fire, and since we still aren’t able to have one indoors due to the cracks in the flue, I started one in our outdoor pit.

I was working nearby to change out the base of my Smart Splitter® log splitter. Having a fire nearby provided more than just a place to warm up, it created an ambiance of purpose and energy.

I get great pleasure from finally knocking off tasks that have lingered untended for far too long. The base of the splitter was a necessary project because the old one finally started to break up from the pounding that the old decaying wood was taking. In contrast, the task of adding boards to the pallets that form the floor of the wood shed was one of convenience which had been too easily postponed, again and again.DSCN4122e

Yesterday became the day.

First, I needed to dismantle more of the spare pallets I had collected from work, just as I had done to build hay boxes recently. In previous years, the pallets I brought home from work had a full surface of boards, but the supplier figured out they could accomplish the same goal with less lumber. Now they come with half as many boards.

In July when we were stacking hay, I needed to steal some pallets from the wood shed. They were the old ones with a full surface of boards.

The next pallets that became available when I was seeking replacements, ended up being the ones with every other board. That became a real ankle twister when I was trying to stack wood.

Yesterday, I dismantled new pallets to get boards that I could use to create a complete deck on the ones already in the wood shed. My ankles are saved! Now it’s time to take advantage of the below freezing temperatures and split some logs.

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Written by johnwhays

November 21, 2015 at 11:09 am