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Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017

What a great weekend, and I survived it without incident! Almost.

Posted Monday, October 31, 2011, at 12:34 PM

Now that might seem like a strange comment, but usually on great weekends I get extra fired up to do things and in the process end up breaking something or breaking myself.

This weekend all I did was scratch my truck a little and bend the heck out of my license plate. That is a win in my book. Well, I did break two hay forks but they were old and ready to go anyway.

The broken forks resulted in me devising a method to load my 16' trailer with wood chips, without doing it by hand and without the benefit of a front-end loader on the tractor.

Basically, I backed the trailer into a pile and used the box blade in reverse to push the chips on to the trailer. The first load worked just fine, but the second one proved more challenging.

As pushed the chips back, the tractor rode up the pile a little, thus allowing me to raise the blade over the trailer rails. On the second load I did not realize that I had actually driven the tractor up on the trailer too, so the weight made the trailer hitch pop off. Not good.

By the time I realized what I had done, I had loaded the trailer with so much weight that the front end was not coming back down without adding weight to the front.

Sooo, I had to load big chunks of wood that come mixed in the load of chips until the front was back down. I am leaving them on for next load and also putting blocks under the back end so that if I inadvertently load too much again, it will not act like a seesaw.

The next engineering feat I plan to work on is getting the load off without having to use a shovel or fork. I don't want to appear dumber than I already do for this past weekend escapade, so I will not share what I have in mind until AFTER.

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Oh my goodness you sound just like my husband, I've quit asking him to fix things because it seems like he breaks something else in the process. And his short cuts usually take twice as long or costs twice as much money. HaHa

-- Posted by bellbuckletn on Mon, Oct 31, 2011, at 4:43 PM

I would bet Debbi thinks in similar fashion at times, but last night one of my "inventions" went as designed, almost.

A 1 1/4" back-flow preventer or check valve went bad on our water system. It had been hinting at trouble for some months now but I was not sure so "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Well yesterday, I was sure so I went to get the part. I designed it with threaded joints so I would not have to cut and glue the PVC pipe when a replacement was needed.

All well and good but local supply houses had discontinued carrying the threaded valve so yesterday around 6:00 PM I had to make a run to Home Depot in Murfreesboro.

The re-installation went like clockwork, so all things considered, it worked out well. Believe me, it was a LOT nicer than having to cut and glue pipe in the cold, and in the dark. Been there, done that.

The folks at HD by the way were super. Todd helped me locate the part over the phone and left it for me at the service desk so I would not have to go hunting for it when I got there. I walked in, never slowed down as I picked up the part off the counter and was on my way back home in less than 5 minutes.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Nov 1, 2011, at 8:53 AM

My experiment at unloading the trailer full of wood chips worked, so I might as well share it.

I was looking for a way to slide the chips out after loading it with my box blade and tractor. I thought of using a railroad tie or other bar of wood but settle on an old roll of wire fencing.

I placed the wire on the trailer before loading, attached a log chain through the center and left the other end hanging out the back. Debbi suggested anchoring this loose end so I would not inadvertently push loose end up into the trailer as I loaded.

he trailer was loaded without incident (this time) and after being backed up where I wanted it, I used the tractor to pull the log chain and the roll of wire straight out the back.

All the chips came out as planned, so it capped off a successful day or hauling firewood, then chips. I am ready for a good night sleep.

Oh yeh, nothing broken.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Nov 5, 2011, at 10:50 PM

Nothing broken, but we are sure tired physically. That wood must be getting heavier, 'cause we sure are not getting older.

We have a friend who had a large hackberry blow down in their pasture. We won't be able to use the wood this season but we wanted to get it down all the way to avoid any safety issues.

It took a lot of cutting and a little creativity to bring it down without anyone getting hurt. When it popped a few times I know my flee instincts were heightened and I had to take a couple rides in a bucket loader to get up on some of the limbs, but mission accomplished.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Nov 6, 2011, at 7:38 PM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.