On the edge of change


I keep bending the forks

I love this tractor, but I also realize it is 50 years old. I’ve now replaced or fixed:

  • the steering column
  • at least half a dozen hitch pins or linch pins- they pop out or fall out.
  • a flat tire
  • ignition switch – fixing this also fixed the charging and oil light from coming on all the time.
  • light switch
    • But now I would like some rear lights- I was hoping for some red ones so I can “legally” drive on the road that have removable red covers so I can use them as rear work lights on my property, but I can’t seem to find any.
  • bent steering rod
  • bent forks:
    • added strength members
    • straightened
    • added support beams to existing splines
  • lift arms- replaced one side with new arm support, welded the other- twice, now.

I feel like I’m in the home stretch- I’ve got almost all the heavy trees from the neighbor. I still need to cut a bunch from my property, and I need to get about 20 straight little ones for the rafters. But I almost feel like I’ve strained the tractor to its breaking point and need to be very careful not to get into some major issues- like I thought I was in a few weeks ago on a Friday I took off work:

I was moving a brush pile, and knew I was low on fuel, but I thought, “just one more run, then I’ll go get some diesel,” and the thing promptly sputtered and died right there.

I grabbed my chainsaw fuel can, knowing it was almost empty, and went to fill my chainsaw tank. But the chainsaw was full, too.

“Okay, so I’ll cut some trees to use up some fuel,” I thought. Did that, then emptied the fuel can into the saw tank. Got in my car, drove up to the gas station to get a gallon of diesel. Came back, put it in the tractor, and it started right up. I went up to the gas station on the tractor and filled the tank, then came back to do more work. On the way back, however, the tractor felt a little weak. But I hooked up a tree and tried to skid it over to my property. The tractor engine got weaker and weaker as I went. I got halfway there, and the tractor gave up. I tried to start it, but it was acting like it was begging for fuel.

I finally got it across the street with the help of another neighbor. Then, Mr. Maples came out to look at it, “I heard you sputtering over there.” We worked on it for about two hours, and couldn’t get it started. He thought it was the fuel pump. I had to leave and meet my wife for something, so I decided to come back on Saturday. Mr. Maples had already been working on it. I felt bad and started to apologize to Mrs. Maples, but she stopped me and said, “Look at that smile on his face- he loves doing this kind of stuff. You give him something to look forward to.”

With Mr. Maples help, we got it started: air in the fuel line is bad for diesels. And I learned that there are no glow plugs on my tractor (and for the uninitiated curious, no spark plugs either). The cylinders in the engine fire solely through compression. The fuel pump is completely mechanical- and has three pins inside that are timed off a gear from the front of the motor. It is quite ingenious. A few days after getting it running, it sputtered and died again. I remembered reading online somewhere that the fuel pump requires a certain amount of oil. Yes, the fuel pump requires oil. I checked its level, and sure enough it was low, so I added some. It runs fine, now.

There is no way I can repay the Maples for all of their help and kindness.

It was so, so dry, but now…

It’s been cold and wet. Moving trees during a drought is hard with my setup. Moving trees through wet weather- fuhgetaboutit. We’ve been having quite a bit of rain lately. It takes a minimum of one day of sunny weather after the rain to get going again. Two days if I’m moving logs.

Here’s the forecast for this week:


It was light outside, but now…

I’m not only watching the weather, but Daylight Savings is not saving me, nor is there very much Daylight….

I have a very generous boss at work: he’s pretty laid back, sometimes checks on us while not wearing shoes. I asked if I could set my schedule for 6:30-3:30, and he said ‘no problem.’ I get off at 3:30, and on good days, get to my property at 4:00. With daylight savings, that gives me about an hour of sunlight. I’ve considered only going out on Saturdays, but if I can clear one brush pile or move one tree every night, that’s something. We really want to get this thing done. With the current federal gov. administration, we were feeling that the potential for constriction (EPA, taxes, Agenda 21/Agenda 2030, etc.) was real, had the outcome of the election been different (hey, they really are regulating cow farts in Kalifornia, so the “Agenda”s mentioned above are not that far fetched). Not that the election results signaled any drastic changes, but we now feel like there is some breathing room. Don’t get me started on how far away from the Constitution we actually are as a country…But I digress.

The shortest day of the year is coming up. After this, we start getting about 3 minutes of daylight every day until June:


Doesn’t seem like much, but remember during the summer when the sun when to bed around 9:00 pm? I was getting a lot more done.

I like Christmas but….

I don’t like the hustle, bustle, pressure, and rush. I just finished with the Christmas orchestra at my church (playing flute and saxophone), but now I have to ramp up for the choir performance on Christmas Day. I’ve got 8-9 songs I have to learn on piano.

I’m also making some presents (8 knitted hats) for my sister’s family that I have to get in the mail this week.


My wife is taking care of all the other gifts for family. She is quite amazing.



20161214_153819_zpsyuqiurzm1The edge of change….

The most exciting development right now is getting our utilities installed. This is a huge development. Whereas right now, we have a piece of land with logs, getting utilities installed means we can apply for a building permit. It means commitment. We are on the cusp of paying for this. It will be a major step in this process. There are a few things we have to nail down before we can apply:

  • we have to apply for an address.
  • we have to submit a map with the future location of the home marked on it.
  • we have to make sure our home is close enough to the street to ensure the sewer line has a proper grade.
  • we may have to install some type of power pole for the utilities to connect to.
  • we have to pay $5,000 to get the water, sewer, and power.
  • we have to submit a front elevation (view) of the house.

Like I said, utilities will change everything- the build will shift from slowly moving logs to digging a foundation, pouring concrete, and then stacking logs. It’s time to get excited.


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