Thursday, March 3, 2011

Stuck in the Snow

I had just pulled the chains off the pickup yesterday - and got stuck in the snow today... 

I was feeding hay out the back of the pickup when it bogged down in a patch of snow in the middle of the field.  It was only a foot deep, but solidified by the wind and warm weather - and there is only 8” of clearance under the differentials.  My scoop and chains were buried under a ton of hay.

After pitching off a few bales to the hungry cows I was able to dig out the scoop.  But the hard-packed snow was too much for the aluminum and bent the neck.  It took 20 minutes to dig through 20 feet of snow to reach bare ground again.

The welding didn’t go much better.  When I struck an arc to attach the borium studs to a horseshoe, my helmet failed to darken and it flashed in my eyes.  I had just put in new batteries, but the low battery light was flashing again. 

I was already feeling out of date using an ancient arc welder rather than a modern wire-feed.  Now I even had to go back to the clunky old helmet with the 2” x 4” window. 

I’d felt a little guilty 5 years ago when I bought this expensive new helmet with a large clear window.  But it allowed me full vision as I positioned the arc rod, then darkened automatically when it struck an arc.  That sure was better than raising the mask to see the position of the rod, then nodding your head to drop the mask and hoping your rod hadn’t moved.
But the price and reliability of these electronic masks has come down markedly as the windows get larger - just as the price has come down on lap-tops with bigger screens.

As I was getting ready to shoe up a couple of horses for this year's calving I ran across an old pair of winter shoes that brought back the memories.  They were the remnant of two sets I had made up 30 years ago.  Dude and Sam were my top horses then.  I’d lost some of those shoes over the years, built the remaining ones up again with hard surface as they wore, and reshaped what was left for other horses along the way.

But it’s a new year with new horses, and another new calf today!

No comments:

Post a Comment