Old Ure is tired and sore today – because knocking on the door of 74 (in mid-February) it’s not part of God’s Plan to be riding roughshod on a tractor moving wood.
The wood, of course, came from removing two 100-foot plus trees with a diameter of over 40-inches. Two additional 90-footers, too. While sliced up into 8-to-16-foot hunks (depending on weight) should have made the leftovers easy to move, there’s always a snag, seems like. In this case, it was a flat tire on the tractor.
Now, the whole project is on hold until the rains pass – because there’s no point in driving a tractor on turf (or what used to be turf) when wet. That just creates the world’s biggest mud pies. This is even more of an issue if your Big Tools include a Caterpillar bulldozer (they sink in, get stuck, which I personally accomplished with a D-6 way back in my youth).
If you ever get stuck in soft ground with a tractor (or with a Cat) the “secret sauce” is using the blade correctly.
What you do is push the blade (or bucket in our case) all the way down. This will (if your hydraulic pump has good seals) raise the front of the tracks, or for us, take the front wheels off the ground. (This is what makes changing front tires on a loader equipped tractor so easy.)
Except, I wasn’t dealing with a big Cat, my wimpy 25-HP Kubota simply got a flat tire on the left rear.
I think it was stupidity on my part. I had occasion Friday early to start up the tractor (25F outside) and go slamming and galloping down to the west side of the property. Sound of big tree clearing equipment was heard and property lines matter. There are “timber rustlers.”
So, coming back, since I hadn’t checked tire pressure in a while (6 mos.) I likely (while semi-airborne going over deadfall) popped the bead seal.
Which allowed for a slow leak and then progressed to an almost flat with the weight barely supported by the sidewalls and the bead loose.
Which means what? Waiting for the Truck and Tractor service rig to come out Monday or Tuesday, take off the 120-pound tire and rim, and then (likely) install a tube in the 11.2-16 tire. While simultaneously uninstalling about $150 from Mr. Ure’s wallet.
The rural Arizona phrase “Shit fire and save matches” came to mind. Which as ancient invective goes is ever-so-more cognizable than “Why? Cat why sewn up in a rag.” Either one is Zen Koan-like when you’re young. Neither one, though, has made any more practical sense than “Oh f*ck” as I’ve gotten older, though.
One of these days, we ought to have a course in “Shop Swear Words.”
Before, During, After
The getting ready part:
Which, a couple of hours later turned into this for the first tree:
Notice, center right, the size of that brush pile as a result. Well, this is my little project (there are two similar sized piles up hill from the three other trees).
Vendor recommendation? Hell yeah! Ryan’s Tree Service, Palestine Texas gets a five-star (and 6 if I could figure how to do it) for a perfect job. Tree limbs overhanging the shop, tractorport, and house with a hot service entrance pole about 12 feet from one of the trees. Takes art and skill.
Got a couple of other ideas on how to move the brush piles. Buddy up the hill has that big (*45 HP) stump grinder on the back with a brush grapple on the front of the machine. It’s a beaut.
I’ll talk to him, but he’s busier than a pig with two dinks because he works 50-hours a week and has a young family. However, it’s another experiment to test his hearing. “Money talks” and we’ll see where his hearing kicks in.
Failing that, (Claude) Roberts Timber whose timber outfit did our last thinning/biomass cutting has a machine about the size of a 20-foot container that has a grapple and eats branches and smaller logs to like 6-inches in one end and spits biomass out the other. Overkill.
And the next fallback is just waiting for the mobile tire outfit and for the ground to firm up. Then doing the 25-hours of (very small, wimpy 25-HP) tractor work to push it all up in burn piles.
This is definitely something that would have been easier to “do as you go” but I’m not part of the tree crew and an old man in the way isn’t what they needed to be focused on. So, it is what it is.
“Dad, you’ve got to stop putting pressure and artificial deadlines on projects. Just chill. You’ll get it all done,” offered the (still out of town) BIG jobsite firefighter/EMT/site medic son. But one of the things that runs deep in the Ure genes is an almost compulsive need to get things done ASAP.
Which you’d never guess, looking at my workshop, lol.
With the tractor flat – and now the ground too soft to work anyway for a few days (yeah, if you’re a ‘slicker’ bet you never considered that reality of life in the woods, didja?) got us a “rain day.” Which means inside projects will hold sway.
For one, another shop cart will be taking shape. And then a whack at the set-up of a couple of more voice-controlled devices around our place. Since we figured that Alexa was probably the greatest safety aid for seniors ever (it has alarm functions, it’s an intercom system, speakerphone with voice dialing, radio stations with programmable music, and control of lights and switches, a couple of new additions will be added to our voice control system array today.
Here’s the existing devices:
- 180 Room Online
- Bedroom Online
- Bench Offline
- Egypt Online
- Guest 4th Fire
- Echelon Offline
- Elaine’s 5th Fire Online
- Focus Offline
- Garden Room Online
- George’s 6th Fire Online
- George’s Alexa for PC Offline
- George’s Fire TV Online
- Greenhouse Online
- Hobby Shop Offline
- Kitchen Online
- Nightstand Offline
- Office Online
- Overhead Offline
- Palmtree Offline
- Paramount Offline
- Porch Online
- Shipping Offline
- Shop Online
- Sky Offline
- Studio Offline
- Vacuum Offline
- Yankee Online
Many of the “offline’s” are downstream from another switch in order to reduce RF and save power.
Which makes sense, I suppose, only to us. But, for example, we both already know that when I say “Alexa turn on vacuum” the big central vac in the shop will come on. Echelon is the home comm’s center/ ham shack. The next bank of radios will be either Menwith or Alice Springs.
Or, if it’s late at night (dark) and I want to see all over the backside of the house “Alexa, turn on bench” lights up the east shop workbench which in turn lights up the area between the house and shop because the shop walls on that side are polycarbonate clear.
Today, I will get voice control set up for “Spa” to turn on the pleasure center devices (back, foot, hand massage machines) that I wrote up a while back.
The “Northwest Room” will have a ceiling light switch by the name of “Alameda” just east of the Bay Bridge picture we commissioned years back. A table lamp south of that painting will be “Fremont” although San Jose, and Los Gatos are still in the running. If you’re familiar with South Bay geography and since we lived on our sailboat down that way for six months, the humor should be obvious.
A voice (and remote) controlled light in the guest bath off the Egypt-themed second bedroom in the house will be called “PooFu” because we don’t go in there to Khufu.
Disney-like mindset? Well, duh.
Write when I grow up…