Monday, February 20, 2012


After a week of effort I finally got the air valve replaced in the dumptruck last week, and was able to begin hauling.

I had bought the truck last summer to repair the huge gullies torn into our road by a deluge that came the end of May. 

For weeks we had to drive through the fields and around the washouts until we could haul enough material to fill them.  After we had gathered truck-loads of loose rock to dump in the ruts we had rented an excavator to dig up more fill.  There was a knob that had been jutting out into a hayfield, and we dug it up with the excavator, loaded it into the dumptruck, and deposited it in the washed-out road. 

This was one of the few knobs on the ranch that contained dirt rather than rocks.  This dirt was of excellent character for road-building, but it was rather a chalky grey and didn’t contain much organic matter.  With that knob out of the way we’ll be able to cut straight across and eliminate a lot of turning, but I didn’t think that the remaining soil would really grow much hay.

A neighbor down the road a piece had a big pile of manure in his calving lot.  He has no hayfields on which to spread the manure, and no equipment to haul it.  So I set it up with him to load it onto my truck to get it out of his way.

This manure will mix nicely into that plot of chalky soil and make the hay grow nicely.  I’ll have a lot of expense into hauling it, as the road out of his place is a long, steep pull, and I’m not convinced that the increased production will be worth the cost, but I’m also helping out a neighbor – and that’s worth something too.

A second hauling mission this week has been gravel.  Our soil on the ranch is rich, but fragile.  After the ground thaws, the roads can get badly torn up where there is no gravel.  And since there is no gravel on the ranch – only rocks and dirt – gravel must be hauled out from town.

I made three loads from town last week, and spread them on the three worst places for spring travel. 

One bad section leads down to the calving shed.  Often in the spring a person has to chain up the pickup to get out from the calving shed.  The chains only tear up the ground worse, and the mud carried out on the chains leaves those ruts deeper, which catches more rain & snow, which keeps them wet and slick longer. 

But one load of gravel will fill it in and dry it out, and give enough traction to eliminate the need for chains.  Now that’s progress!

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