Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Busy and Broken Down Update...

Life on the farm has been crazy for the past few weeks (it's been crazy for my blogging also). Between the super cold temperatures, the unseasonably warm temperatures, the time spent driving back and forth from the hospital to visit my friend/pastor, the Christmas season, and everything else going on it seems like we have had little time to come up for air (or consistently make a blog post). So, I just thought I would share "A Busy and Broken Down Update".
  • First of all, thanks for all of you who have been praying for my friend/pastor/boss and his family. He is doing amazingly well and is so far beyond where the doctors thought he would be that it is almost unbelievable ... almost ...
  • Because, of all the time that I spent at the hospital, at work, and in between my wood pile has slowly dwindled over the past three weeks. I have been going out and cutting a couple of hours at a time just to keep enough wood around to get by, but my stack hasn't exactly been growing. But, thanks to a great church friend and his buddy we now have two nice pickup loads of wood! That is a big relief.
  • As I mentioned we have had some extremely cold snaps and even a couple of really warm days over the past few weeks. That is kept us on our toes making sure all the livestock are comfortable and we didn't make it through completely unscathed, but they all have plenty of shelter/water/food. It does seem like there is never enough time though.
  • Because of everything that came crashing down all at once my shed plans kind of came to a grinding halt, but it is still in my mind and I am encouraged to see steel prices making their way down. In fact in a recent Menard's flyer you could get steel for $69 a square. Hopefully we can make a decision in the near future one way or another.
  • Now for the broken down part ... besides my body lately ... As I took the tractor out across the pasture on Friday to cut enough wood to get us through a night I slowly watched my loader bucket drop to the ground and hydraulic fluid stream out of the fitting on the cylinder. It was not what I wanted to see (especially sense this is the second set of cylinders I've had), but I put the tractor in reverse and started backing to the house. Until I ran out of gas! So, I quick hooked up a hay rack to the SUV, cut up couple logs along the fence row, threw a bucket over the tractors muffler and left (we had to get away for Christmas parties). The tractor is still sitting there and I haven't had a chance to look at it yet... Anyone know of a cheap cylinder repair guy in my area :)
  • Oh, and one more thing. On Christmas day my dad brought up one of my round bale feeders to put in with the Dexters. This was a great thing because it makes feeding out the round bales so much easier (and less wasteful). Of course there is only one problem now ... I need a tractor to put in another bale! Hopefully I can get something figured out tomorrow.
Such is life on this beginning farm ... at least for the moment.


Mike W. said...

Ethan, You probably already thought about this, but how about asking a neighbor to put down a bale for you? That would give you some breathing room to get caught up on your repairs.


ablom said...

A friend of mine said: " The Big Guy never gives us a load bigger than we can carry-but sometimes he cuts it awfully close!"

I just lost 40 liters of hydraulic fluid on my skid steer - fortunately that was only through a hose clamp leak.

Hang in.

crzykbdplyr said...

The fun part about farming. Something is ALWAYS breaking and needs to be fixed.

I have my MF250 broke in two pieces in the garage right now, with the head off, and the block half torn apart. New pistons, rings, gaskets and seals, and bearings are getting put in this weekend.

My condolences.

Rich said...

Are you sure that the cylinders are your problem? If the threads of your hydraulic lines and fittings were sealed with teflon tape they will eventually start to leak. I was always told that the threads should be sealed with a liquid thread sealer (NOT loctite but a pipe-dope type of product) instead of something like teflon tape. I can't remember the "technical" name off the top of my head, but if you find an auto parts store that sells hydraulic lines, they should know what I'm talking about.

Supposedly, you can move a round bale by shoving a rod through the center, attaching a chain to the ends, and rolling it around with a truck or tractor. I've never tried it and am not sure if a bale with a flat spot would even roll, but it could be a last ditch option.

Ethan Book said...

Mike - If all else fails I will get some one over to put in a bale, but I'm pretty sure I can pull one with our SUV because all I have been doing is pulling them with the tractor.

Rich - It might be something as simple as putting something on the fitting, but the way it was coming out so quick I'm not sure. Once I get done at the church today I'm going to go check it out ... but, I'm going to pick up some hydraulic fluid before I leave town!

Jena said...

We don't have a loader tractor yet so my hubby built a spear that hooks to the back of the tractor instead. You drive in to the bale and then raise the hitch to move it. Before that we used a homemade boom and a chain that also worked off of the hitch. I'm not sure how much this helps you (it would still require hydraulics?) but if you have been dragging them anyway it might be an option for you in to future.

Before that we used to just roll them, not sure about that in deep snow but a few guys could probably do it.

Hope this helps! I'm praying for you and glad to hear your friend is healing well.

Ethan Book said...

Jena - I've been looking for a bale spear like you describe, but haven't found one that would fit my tractors three-point hitch (I haven't found a used one that is).

Also, I brought the tractor up to the house and it might be as simple as a broken fitting. I'm going to pick up a new one tomorrow when I go in for work and then hopefully I will be set!

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