Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dismal failure.

We got our first major snowfall the other day.  It is still early in the winter, so it is still in the pretty stage.


I went up to plow it today, and the signs were there immediately.  It took me several minutes to get the tractor to start and run and stay running.  I managed to get the slab cleared though.  I was having traction issues, but with the chains it never stopped moving.


Then I made the mistake of going down the hill.  I had plenty of power, even with the snow piled up over top of the plow it was pushing it in third gear no problem, but I quickly found out that I can't steer when it is this deep.  To boot, I wasn't able to back up either.  So the tractor is now sitting in the middle of the driveway.  I will have to borrow Greg's snowblower this weekend and dig it out.


After talking with dad and Aunt I think I am going to take the truck down for Christmas and swap my tractor for his 4 wheeler.  He has plowed a foot, and it is a 4 wheel drive.  His driveway is flat, the tractor will push whatever he puts in front it.  My biggest problems thus far have been traction on the hill.  The tractor is only a one wheel drive, it doesn't have a locking differential.  The tractor will do his driveway just fine no matter what they get.  On mine it is limited to a few inches because of the slope and getting stuck.  The hill won't bother the 4 wheeler though.  And if he gets gravel in the spring, it is a dozer blade, he can use it to spread it.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Tractor as ready as possible for snow storm tomorrow.

We are supposed to get another round of snow tomorrow, so I went up today and got the tractor ready.  When I went up to the shed to get the jack, I found one of the missing traps.  I forgot that I had put the lawn mower trap up in the shed.  I am not sure how he escaped it, but he was several feet from the trap, but you can clearly see where it hit him.


It was much easier to get the chains on with the tractor in the air.


All the zip ties are on.  The chains are a bit more snug than they were last time around, and I also zip tied all the hooks, since they came apart on both tires.




I have seen reports for 2-4 all the way to 6-10, so we shall see what reality is tomorrow.  I didn't have a chance to move the slides or fix the angle, but oh well.  I can make it work the way it is, I already did it once with the blade stuck.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Plowing went much faster today, until I got stuck.

I went up and finished the plowing today.  I tried fourth gear today and it went much better.  The extra speed helped it curl and roll.  Not sure I have enough power to run in 4th with a heavier load, but I was only plowing around 3 or so inches today.

The driveway only took a couple hours.  The plow took a beating, but it held up.




As I normally do, I cleared up to the power pole.


At no point did I not have enough power, not even pushing the banks into the ditches.  I did go too far a couple of times and the front end started to sink, but didn't get stuck, at least not down here.


I tried to clear the parking spot, but it was too rough.  I will have to finish it with the snowblower.


It is a good thing I don't have a sharp edge on the blade.  I got a little too close to the edge and found the extension cord.


I kinda expected it wouldn't do it, but I tried anyways, and no the tractor won't go up to the shed.


When I was going down to the creek, I got stuck.  This might have something to do with why.


I think those chains came off because they were put on with the wimpier zip ties from work.  I will put them back on with the beefy ones.  All in all, the plowing today was quite a bit faster, I got everything done including getting unstuck in a couple of hours.  Even with Tim's big snowblower I couldn't match that, so it is quicker.  I definitely think I will switch to a 4-wheeler next year though, the traction is that much better with a 4x4, and a few times today I was spinning a lot. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

First plowing complete. Not sure if success or failure yet.

Had a good trip to Wisonsin.  It was reasonably productive, and while I didn't get to see Lambeau Field (they closed early the day we went up for a holiday party) I still got to visit a cheese factory and get some cheese curds along with a bunch of cheese.  I had them ship the cheese so I didn't get flagged at TSA with it, and only brought home the cheese curds with me on the flight, so I could try cheese curds with everything (the people I was visiting got me three pounds of them).  They are quite tasty on a pizza.


My photos from Wisconsin can be found at:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/DIpa7T21rZt0mCSr2

Today was our first major snowfall of the year.  I got to check to see if all my tractor work was worth the time.  I started off on the slab.  It worked reasonably well.  I do need to fix the arm that holds the angle in place, the plow kept flopping to the left every time it encountered resistance.  I figured that would give me trouble, and now I found out what kind.  Other than that though, it cleared the slab off very swiftly and very well.


The headlights are actually aimed almost perfectly.  Not too high when the blade is up, and not straight down when the blade is down. 


They are bright enough, but there isn't excess.  In pitch black, I will want my headband too.  Perhaps next year should the tractor survive I will upgrade the internal headlights to LED and run those in addition to the plow blade.


The only problem I had up at the slab was that snow tended to collect on the blade.  It isn't curved enough for snow since it is a dozer blade.  The tractor is also too slow (even though I was actually plowing in 3rd gear) to make it roll off to the side, it only pushes.  Since there was only a couple of inches it wasn't a big deal, but I think it will be a big problem if I try to plow significant quantities.  There are waxes and stuff (some even say Pam works) you can put on it to try and help, I might give one a shot.


Part of it was my fault, so I won't judge it based on speed (at least not yet) but for light snowfalls it would not appear to be faster than a snowblower (maybe faster than Greg's itty bitty dying one, but not a decent sized one).  With deeper snow, I am not sure if it will work unless the pam works wonders.  When doing the driveway though, it didn't work nearly as well.  The driveway isn't flat enough even after the repair work I did, the blade was bouncing and digging a bit more than I like, and the tabs were set perfect for the slab, but too low for the driveway.  They aren't a quick change either, so I will have to decide how I want them set.  I can't fairly judge the speed since I had to plow it awkwardly because the blade wouldn't stay at the angle I wanted, but it was promising that 3rd gear seemed to be good, even pushing piles uphill.  I had absolutely no problem with horsepower, and while a locking differential would be nice, I had no problems with traction either.

The short version is that the plow worked great on the slab, poorly on the driveway, but because of the state of the driveway not because of the rig, power and traction were not an issue.  The jury is still out on whether it is faster.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Winterization nearly complete.

I got a late start today, sleeping in a bit.  I did go up and get some work done though.  The first thing I did was investigate dad's theory about the fuzz.  I couldn't actually find any cat tails in the back yard, but I did find things like this that are likely the culprit:


I primarily worked on clearing off the slab.  I found a few tools that have been missing for a while, like my carpenter square, which was buried in the tar paper.  Not too usable anymore.


It turns out the only problem with the table was that the legs unclipped from the frame.  I popped the legs back onto the clips and it is good to go.


I found a use for the board I made for the power.  I will have to run the cord whenever I want to use it and take it down when I am done, but that isn't a big deal.  I don't imagine I will be doing too much work during the week anyways.  It is screwed into the tree stump so it doesn't move.


I also went and covered the remaining stuff on the slab.  I put the pushmower under there too.


There is still some random nails and stuff lying around that I will want to pick up, but the slab is cleared off. 


The only thing preventing me from marking the slab done on the checklist is that the roll of metal is still under the house, and I want to put it in the shed.  I will try to get that done tomorrow at lunch where I can bring some help.

The checklist is nearing the point where I start working on the actual house again.  I won't get anything done during the week because I will be in Wisconsin Tuesday through Friday.  I am thinking I might not do anything about the shed this year.  I will have to shovel it out if it gets too bad, or light up my salamander and melt it all away, and deal with it next year.  I need to do some work on the shed next year anyways, I never did the finishing, the trim, the pilings, and so on.  Likewise, the underbelly will likely wait for next year.  I am thinking I might just hit it with a layer of resin or urethane.  Likewise the skirting might have to wait for next year as well.  None of these are absolutely critical for before winter though.  It does mean that I will be in a crimp in the spring when it warms up and I haven't installed the flooring yet though. 

  1. Fix ruts in driveway.
  2. Put lights on the plow.
  3. Get the oil changed in the tractor.
  4. Get the tire chains installed and a weight installed on the back.
  5. Get the plastic installed
  6. Get the truck oil undercoated.
  7. Fix leaky underbelly.
  8. Get skirting installed.
  9. Find a way to run power that won't be damaged by snow/plow/snowblower.
  10. Find a way to prevent the snow pushing on the shed.
  11. Finish clearing off the slab.
  12. Run the rough plumbing. (includes gas line for stove)
    1. Venting and Drainage
    2. Water supply
    3. Gas lines
  13. Install insulation.
  14. *Install flooring.  *12
  15. Install light fixtures.
  16. Install ceiling and attic insulation. *19
  17. *Install paneling  *13, 14
  18. *Install interior wall *14
  19. *Complete electrical and plumbing.  *17, 18
  20. *Install final flooring (carpet/linoleum).  *18, 19
  21. Install interior fixtures.  When I get here, I will likely create a new list for the interior work.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Odds and ends done.

I didn't have a full day to work up there today, the owner and manager for my apartment came through today for an inspection on the maintenance work (they recently put out a survey and I complained about the lack of maintenance).  I also wanted to talk to him about the new lease.  Last year they didn't make me sign a new lease, this year he did since he wanted to raise the rent.  I managed to talk him into a 6 month lease instead, so I have until the end of June to get everything finished.

I won't get anything done next week since I am going on a work trip to Neenah Wisconsin, to meet with a circuit board supplier. 

The first thing I noticed is that we apparently got a ton of wind up there.  The truck cap blew off the burn barrel and about 25 feet down the driveway.


It got the table too. The clips for the legs are damaged, but the glass is intact.  I will have to see if it can be repaired.  If not, well it was a freebie anyways.


Something broke off the back cap on the gas can too.


Today's mouse update resulted in only a couple of casualties.  None in the house, which makes me happy, the shed and mower are still under siege though.  The poison in the shed appeared to have been disturbed, though there wasn't much consumed.  I will leave it out and see what happens.


I noticed that one of the nests in the shed had gotten larger, and was likely no longer dormant.  I swept out the nest this time, last time I didn't bother. 


I cleaned the one out of the stove too.


One thing that has me curious is where is the material they are using coming from?  This was white fluffy stuff, like an insulation material, but there isn't any insulation material in the area.


They apparently had stockpiled acorns too.


I also cleaned up the biggest remaining rut in the driveway.  This was the one I created driving my truck through during the rain.


My zip ties had come in, so I also completed the chains.


I put some on the inside as well.


When all that was done I took the tractor for a spin to make sure all systems were a go.  The chains stayed put, The lights are working, though I might need to re-aim them a little.  The weight started sliding off the rack, so I zip-tied it to the front frame.  The rope that I used came undone.


I also completed putting up the plastic in my apartment the other night, so that is two items off the checklist.  I hope to clear off the slab tomorrow.

  1. Fix ruts in driveway.
  2. Put lights on the plow.
  3. Get the oil changed in the tractor.
  4. Get the tire chains installed and a weight installed on the back.
  5. Get the plastic installed
  6. Get the truck oil undercoated.
  7. Fix leaky underbelly.
  8. Get skirting installed.
  9. Find a way to run power that won't be damaged by snow/plow/snowblower.
  10. Find a way to prevent the snow pushing on the shed.
  11. Finish clearing off the slab.
  12. Run the rough plumbing. (includes gas line for stove)
    1. Venting and Drainage
    2. Water supply
    3. Gas lines
  13. Install insulation.
  14. *Install flooring.  *12
  15. Install light fixtures.
  16. Install ceiling and attic insulation. *19
  17. *Install paneling  *13, 14
  18. *Install interior wall *14
  19. *Complete electrical and plumbing.  *17, 18
  20. *Install final flooring (carpet/linoleum).  *18, 19
  21. Install interior fixtures.  When I get here, I will likely create a new list for the interior work.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Post turkey update.

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and ate too much turkey. 

I did some work before leaving for Thanksgiving, most notably getting the second load of dirt.  The truck rode better with the tires aired up properly, but still disappointingly bad.  After talking to dad on my trip, I think it might be that the wheels are too far forward, a common affliction with standard beds.  All my previous trucks had the full 8' box on them, and they hauled a lot better.  Given all my other complaints with the shorter box, I don't think I will ever buy a truck with anything less than an 8' bed again.


Unfortunately it was raining as I was shoveling everything out, and it was a muddy mess.  A lot of it washed away as I shoveled it out.  I might have to redo parts of it though because it was soup and my truck left ruts as I drove off. 


I still managed to get it all done though. 


I also got the driveway markers put in. 


I still have some left for repairs and just having weight in the back of my truck for winter. 


After getting back from Thanksgiving, I went up today to check on everything.  My mouse traps were very busy.  I am missing another trap though, I am down to 6.


Most importantly though, I was worried they might eat my pipe insulation.  It appears unharmed.


I also grabbed another handful of zip ties from work and finished putting the weight on.


I also started to the first tire chain.  I am using zip ties and not a bungee which is normally what you would use since I have a lot of slack because the chains are the wrong size.


I ran out of zip ties again, and at this point I have largely cleaned out work's supply of the larger and stronger ones, so I ordered a huge pile of them online.  They should be here before week's end.  I also took the opportunity to put out some more poison.  Despite all the traps being tripped, the big block poison is still relatively untouched.  I put out some of the stuff I picked up at Rural King.  We shall see if it works better.  It can't work worse.  I have three wedges filled with it, and one small dish.


The completion of the driveway marks off another item on the checklist.  I might still have to do some very minor repairs, but nothing that is critical at this point.  The lack of zip ties prevented the 4th item from completion.  That should be done this weekend. 
  1. Fix ruts in driveway.
  2. Put lights on the plow.
  3. Get the oil changed in the tractor.
  4. Get the tire chains installed and a weight installed on the back.
  5. Get the plastic installed
  6. Get the truck oil undercoated.
  7. Fix leaky underbelly.
  8. Get skirting installed.
  9. Find a way to run power that won't be damaged by snow/plow/snowblower.
  10. Find a way to prevent the snow pushing on the shed.
  11. Finish clearing off the slab.
  12. Run the rough plumbing. (includes gas line for stove)
    1. Venting and Drainage
    2. Water supply
    3. Gas lines
  13. Install insulation.
  14. *Install flooring.  *12
  15. Install light fixtures.
  16. Install ceiling and attic insulation. *19
  17. *Install paneling  *13, 14
  18. *Install interior wall *14
  19. *Complete electrical and plumbing.  *17, 18
  20. *Install final flooring (carpet/linoleum).  *18, 19
  21. Install interior fixtures.  When I get here, I will likely create a new list for the interior work.