Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘repair

Ghost Leaves

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On a walk through the woods with Delilah yesterday morning, my attention was grabbed by some disintegrating leaves that never fell from the tree. They looked like ghosts of leaves.

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Why did they not fall to the ground?

Especially in the face of some wind gusts that were strong enough to break loose a roof panel on our wood shed. Yesterday, there was dead calm in the morning, so I took advantage of the perfect weather to work on replacing the busted section.

Learning from experience, I added some cross supports that will better hold the overhanging side from flexing, should future winds blow from that same direction.

That simple structure, built to store split logs while they dry for a year, has provided multiple lessons from failure.

When it blew over in a storm, I figured out a way to secure it to the ground by stringing some old fence wire over the cross beams and running it through the eye of earth anchor augers in three strategic locations.

With the help of my friend, Mike Wilkus, who came to my rescue when re-assembling the shed after it had overturned, I learned how to improve the diagonal bracing to stabilize the overall structure.

It leaves me wondering what the next failure will be that might teach me yet another lesson in the great world of being an amateur builder.

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Written by johnwhays

April 20, 2019 at 8:42 am

Fortuitous Failure

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The plan was to get one load of gravel, one load of sand for the round pen, and two loads of lime screenings —one to spread around in the paddock, and one to keep as backup to fill washouts as they occur. In order to receive all these deliveries in the time while weather is good for doing so, we plotted out the order and location for dumping the piles.

The primary concern was to avoid having the heavy truck drive into the paddock, because the previous time we allowed that, it led to problems from the extreme compression straining buried electric fence wires between gate posts. I was also concerned about collapsing the buried drain tube we had installed from the barn gutter downspout.

The truck driver always seems more than willing to drive anywhere, leaving the responsibility on us to restrain the choices in protection of property. He long ago demonstrated complete disdain for the well-being of our asphalt driveway.

By my figuring, if we got gravel first and spread it out before the next delivery, the truck could drive on the new gravel and dump the lime screenings at the entrance of the paddock. I would spread them inside the paddock. The sand could then get dumped beside the barn, where I could move it by loader scoops, driving over the new lime screenings through the paddock to the round pen.

That would be a lot of tractor hours, but it was worth it to me to protect the paddock from the heavy truck.

Then Cyndie received word that they currently had no stock of lime screenings. The driver delivered gravel on Thursday with a plan to bring the sand on Friday morning. I had a short window of time after work on Thursday to spread the gravel, so he could drop the pile of sand the following morning in the spot where we wanted it.

DSCN4043eIn the middle of that task, as I tried to back up in order to spread the scoop of gravel I just dropped, the tractor lurched forward. I shifted again. This time it wouldn’t go backward, or forward. Tractor fail!

That wasn’t in my plan.

I struggled to remove a cover plate to see the mechanism of the gear shift lever. That didn’t help much, because even though I could then see it, I didn’t actually understand what I was looking at.

The options rattled through my mind. Call my very knowledgeable neighbor? It was getting late. Call the implement dealer? That would have to wait until morning. What about the sand delivery? Where would I put that?

Well, this failure caused me to rethink the possibilities and opened up a new willingness to have the truck drive through the hay-field. He would only need to pass through gates in which there was enough turf to limit the compression that happens from the weight of the load.

DSCN4042eIn the end, I have a new appreciation for the inconvenience of that shifting failure, because it has saved me a lot of work. The dump truck placed the sand in the center of the round pen. The hay-field held up well under the load, but the driveway has some new wrinkles where he made the turn on and off it.

The service man from the implement dealer made short work of the tractor repair by afternoon, replacing a pin and snap ring at the base of the shift lever, and I finished spreading the gravel.

That shifting failure is one I will remember fondly for the better outcome that came as a result.

There may be a life lesson available in all this.

Ya think?!

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Written by johnwhays

October 17, 2015 at 9:37 am