Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘record warmth

Next Phase

with 2 comments

dscn5840ePicking up where the tree trimmers left off, I pulled the tractor out of the garage yesterday and we started the process of turning the piles of branches into wood chips. With the temperatures pushing into warmth much more typical for May or June, the timing was perfect for having fresh ground cover over the now muddy path leading down toward the barn from the driveway.

I quickly relearned how much physical effort is involved in the process of repeatedly feeding the chipping monster. The variety of branches that came out of our trees made for a constant struggle to detangle, reorient, and guide into the chute.

The smallest ends of branches will catch and get hung up on the corners, which interrupts flow, and the big limbs tend to bounce and torque when first struck by the powerful spinning blades. My body and hands frequently get smacked by the kick-back of the bigger branches.

After a prolonged session of working to make a pile of branches disappear into a wonderful mound of precious wood chips, I feel like I’ve been a few rounds in a boxing match.

dscn5836eCyndie helped to bring branches from farther and farther, and worked to cut junctions that “Y” off too wide to fit the bottom of the narrowing chute. We parked the tractor on the solid pavement of the driveway to be out of the mud that is quickly becoming the prevailing footing during this unbelievable February melt down.

We took a little break for lunch and then when I came out for a few more rounds of battle, it was T-shirt weather. It is just plain sad to be living through the end of cold and snowy winters like the ones I enjoyed as a kid. I fear for the precious trees I have been focused on caring for these last few days, as they react to the warmth and prepare to sprout new buds.

If they sprout leaves too early, they risk an ugly death from freezing when a hint of real winter returns for a last gasp reminder of cold that usually happens this time of year.

When I turned the key to restart the tractor, nothing happened. Well, not nothing. The indicator lights lit up, but there was no hint of sound from the starter. I have experienced this before. It was how I was first introduced to this tractor. No matter what I did, I could not get it to start.

That first time, I ended up needing to have a service person come out. He accidentally figured out the safety interlock of the PTO lever wasn’t getting met. After chasing a different possibility for a time, I came around to the same conclusion. It was the PTO lever again.

I got the engine started, repositioned the tractor to a new spot and was ready to go. I picked a big old dead oak branch to start and quickly busted the shear pin of the chipper.

I took the hint and called it a day for chipping.

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Written by johnwhays

February 19, 2017 at 9:35 am

Adding Siding

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Record warmth yesterday, and we spent almost all of it chipping away at the somewhat tedious task of siding the chicken coop with salvaged lumber. It feels a little like I’ve made this project more complicated than it deserves, but I justify it in my mind as a good exercise in teaching myself carpentry skills.

I’ve never tried to make cabinets and had no clue about mounting a hinged door. We started small and did the narrow opening for accessing the poop board. It turned out a little too tight, but filing edges has been enough to make it work.dscn5427e

Next, we hung the three-hinge people door. I’m still unsure of the essential details that need to be considered, but somehow I seem to have faked my way through it and ended up with a door the appears to work perfectly.

Working in the hot sun was almost too uncomfortable, but since it is November, it seemed a little inconsiderate to frame that hardship as a complaint.

The warming of our planet does come with some short-term perks in the interim before whatever large-scale calamity will eventually doom civilization as we know it.

dscn5429eUsing the boards we salvaged from pallets, we are now slowly but surely working our way up the walls with a piecemeal patchwork of siding. It is creative fun for a while, and then gets a little too tricky around openings and edges that require excessive amounts of measuring and cutting to fit.

Whose idea was it to make this thing so complicated, anyway?

Good things come to those who wait, and with that, I expect to be happy with this mansion of a chicken coop when it is finally completed.

More importantly, it is my hope that some chickens will be very, very happy with it, too.

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Written by johnwhays

November 6, 2016 at 8:24 am