Tuesday, December 3, 2019

First of winter progress report

A couple of Sundays ago  . . .
I took the Volvo out for the last ride of the season . . .
. . . before I put it away in its newly floored shed .
Today this is what my driveway looks like . . . . yea not so nice
Detestable garbage really . . . only pain and agony ensues from it and it puts the kibosh on getting any projects done outside .
Like this job we squeaked in just last week before the snow .
The driveway at my parents house has always been a problem . Forty years ago when the place was built they never quite got it right leaving a lot of clay and loam under the ever so thin layer of gravel . In spring time it is a boggy muddy mess and a real challenge to drive on . It was sheer agony , but we finally got mother to agree that it needed to be fixed . This project has been over a year in the making. Yea , mom hasn't exactly made it easy . I really did not think we'd get it done at all . Paving plants are closed for the season but at least we got this part going .
They dug it all up about a foot deep and hauled the old muck away
Right there at the edge of the black fabric , there was a deep trench full of loam running right across the driveway under the gravel . So every year we get a massive frost heave about a foot higher than the slab in the garage , so that any snow melt would flood the garage badly . Hopefully that problem is gone now .
They dug up and hauled away three giant stumps from the trees that came down in the big storm two years ago .
Glad to see that stump gone , should make mowing a lot easier .
After the Geo-Tech is laid out
 . . a thick layer of heavy crushed rock goes down
Spread out and compacted
Then finished off with three inches of nicely graded and compacted gravel .
Next spring , when things thaw and the paving plant opens up again , we get it all hot topped .
But for now we finally have a driveway that's pitched the right way so the garage don't flood . . . That's five feet of pitch over one hundred and fifty feet , from the garage doors to the T in the driveway .
. . . . and you don't need a monster four wheeler to tackle the mud bog at the turn in the spring . . .
See those big granite slabs ?
Those are the front steps to the house .
They too were never put in right and were all wonky from forty years of frost heaving , and as the grade would be changing , I needed to fix that .
So back in late August I yanked them out in expectation of the driveway rebuild .
Doing the math on those things I figure they weigh about seven hundred pounds a piece and the bucket could not even begin to budge them without a counterweight on the back of the tractor , so I chained them up and used the three point hitch to lift them .
Then I bought some of these commie chinese made thirty inch fork lift tines for the bucket for the grand sum of $89 on Fleabay . But of course , when I try to pick up seven hundred pounds of granite with the bucket , the back wheels come up and loose traction and I can't go anywhere .
So using the base from an old engine stand and a steel barrel dad had laying around .
I cobbled this rig together so it fits in the receiver of the logging hitch I built last year .
 Now I can fill the barrel with rocks and off set the weight of the granite slabs . . .
But I guess we'll tackle that job in the spring when this garbage is gone


  1. The place looks like a million bucks, M!!! And it looks like Quasimoto will be able to hibernate in sheer comfort this year! What tractor is that? Allis Chalmers? Cockshutt??? I should recognize it but the ol' brainbox has been away from the Ag world for a little too long...

    1. The tractor is a 1952 Ford 8N with all of 37 horse power from a Ford Model A engine with the newer low range gearbox. The bucket is just a glorified pooper-scooper to muck up dairy barns. The main hydraulic cylinders on the bucket are single acting so it has no down force at all.

  2. I had a similar drive dug a few years back, and the very next day my neighbour decided to build his new boundary wall from OUR SIDE OF THE WALL...WITHOUT ASKING MY PERMISSION. In doing so, his lorries, cars, diggers, etc, made a right mess of my new drive, and our lawn. He never did apologize, or repair what he'd broken (My brand new Water meter). Bloody neighbours!!!

    1. I remember when you posted about that mess a couple years ago. Fortunately here it is unheard of for people to build perimeter walls on their property. At most perhaps a fence, but in that setting not at all likely, and luckily mother is on talking terms with the abutting neighbors. Getting her to cooperate with the project this far was arduous enough, and I have slightly more consequential battles looming in the near future. Given all signs this blog may soon very well start looking like the medical version of the movie, "Ground-hog day".

  3. Nothing better than getting a pre-winter project just before the deluge.

    1. Hi Richard, nice to hear from you again. Hope all's well with you and yours. Yes, I got most of my loose ends tied up just in the nick of time. Frustratingly enough, the "deluge" is nipping at my heels, as Tuesday next I'm headed in for a second round of last winter's frightening misadventures. Trying hard not to loose my cookies.

    2. Very sorry to hear that. Don't let it ruin your Christmas. Hang in there. Richard

    3. Hi Richard: Thanks for the thoughts. Thankfully all turned out well. A 20mm stone was removed on 17th. And the operation was much less devastating than the last time around. Came-to with no pipes and no pain at all. Recovery was almost instantaneous and I am pain free for the first time in six months. It is truly amazing. I was happy to be shoveling snow the next day. Hope all is well with you.

  4. Great news. Hard to imagine when young what a wonderful sound "pain free" has when we get older.

    1. Yea I think where this came on gradually I just sort of accepted the discomfort without realizing how debilitating it had become. Then on a couple of occasions I had sharp enough symptoms so that it really got my attention enough to put in a call to the doc. I was lucky this time and all pain was gone immediately after the procedure. Last time we went through the prolonged mental distress chasing after an erroneous cancer diagnosis. After we went down that disturbing rabbit hole, I wanted nothing else to do with them and lacked the clarity of mind and will to push for an answer to the cause of the stone and the issue got dropped. It appears it is a metabolic issue that we need to sort out. I think we are on the right track this time.

  5. Looks like you've done a good job and one that will last. Moving those slabs, youve done it the right way. I keep having to convince my dad that we need to start working smarter not harder and stop moving so much stuff by hand. We had some huge posts to move at the weekend and after a week of flu no way could I do it, I had no strength left. Luckily I talked him into moving them with the machine even through the mud.

    1. Hey Kev, I never claimed to be the sharpest pencil in the box and I am learning as I bumble my way through the project. That 20 mm rock bouncing around in my bladder was doing me no favors. Pain is one way to get you to pay attention so you get smarter. I must be pretty thick as by the time I got the job done I was in fairly bad shape. So the project is on hold until April or May next year after the snow clears.