Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘dump truck

This Why

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This is why we can’t have a nice paved driveway like the other folks around here whose asphalt looks incredibly well-maintained.

We have an ongoing need for dump-truck loads of lime screenings for our paddocks.

That loaded dump-truck really makes an impression on the land. As he prepared to depart, I asked the driver to NOT center his truck on the driveway on the way out, and instead to run one set of wheels right down the middle. I’ve been trying to do the same with our vehicles ever since his visit last year, but haven’t had much effect on the eruption of cracked pavement the truck left for us that time.

Household discussion last night:

John: “Should I try to spread some lime screenings tomorrow?”

Cyndie: “Maybe.”

J: “Should I pull the T-posts instead?”

C: “Maybe.”

J: “Should I move the composted manure out?”

C: “Maybe.”

J: “Should I work on dividing the chicken coop?”

C: “Maybe.”

I think she got my point, and seeing as how I wasn’t getting any help with prioritizing, I chose not to continue with the thirteen other things also deserving attention.

It’s a good thing we are so smitten with each other, or these kinds of exchanges would take on additional unstated intentions. In our case, it just added to the love already present. Her refusal to take my bait brought a smile to my face. Our current healthy communication is a return on an investment we made long ago toward a few years of couples therapy.

This is why we can have nice conversations unburdened by alternate unstated agendas.

Well, that and the fact Cyndie gracefully puts up with my endless ribbing. If she wasn’t so saintly, I’d have needed to make myself a bed out in Delilah’s kennel years ago.

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Fortuitous Failure

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The plan was to get one load of gravel, one load of sand for the round pen, and two loads of lime screenings —one to spread around in the paddock, and one to keep as backup to fill washouts as they occur. In order to receive all these deliveries in the time while weather is good for doing so, we plotted out the order and location for dumping the piles.

The primary concern was to avoid having the heavy truck drive into the paddock, because the previous time we allowed that, it led to problems from the extreme compression straining buried electric fence wires between gate posts. I was also concerned about collapsing the buried drain tube we had installed from the barn gutter downspout.

The truck driver always seems more than willing to drive anywhere, leaving the responsibility on us to restrain the choices in protection of property. He long ago demonstrated complete disdain for the well-being of our asphalt driveway.

By my figuring, if we got gravel first and spread it out before the next delivery, the truck could drive on the new gravel and dump the lime screenings at the entrance of the paddock. I would spread them inside the paddock. The sand could then get dumped beside the barn, where I could move it by loader scoops, driving over the new lime screenings through the paddock to the round pen.

That would be a lot of tractor hours, but it was worth it to me to protect the paddock from the heavy truck.

Then Cyndie received word that they currently had no stock of lime screenings. The driver delivered gravel on Thursday with a plan to bring the sand on Friday morning. I had a short window of time after work on Thursday to spread the gravel, so he could drop the pile of sand the following morning in the spot where we wanted it.

DSCN4043eIn the middle of that task, as I tried to back up in order to spread the scoop of gravel I just dropped, the tractor lurched forward. I shifted again. This time it wouldn’t go backward, or forward. Tractor fail!

That wasn’t in my plan.

I struggled to remove a cover plate to see the mechanism of the gear shift lever. That didn’t help much, because even though I could then see it, I didn’t actually understand what I was looking at.

The options rattled through my mind. Call my very knowledgeable neighbor? It was getting late. Call the implement dealer? That would have to wait until morning. What about the sand delivery? Where would I put that?

Well, this failure caused me to rethink the possibilities and opened up a new willingness to have the truck drive through the hay-field. He would only need to pass through gates in which there was enough turf to limit the compression that happens from the weight of the load.

DSCN4042eIn the end, I have a new appreciation for the inconvenience of that shifting failure, because it has saved me a lot of work. The dump truck placed the sand in the center of the round pen. The hay-field held up well under the load, but the driveway has some new wrinkles where he made the turn on and off it.

The service man from the implement dealer made short work of the tractor repair by afternoon, replacing a pin and snap ring at the base of the shift lever, and I finished spreading the gravel.

That shifting failure is one I will remember fondly for the better outcome that came as a result.

There may be a life lesson available in all this.

Ya think?!

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Written by johnwhays

October 17, 2015 at 9:37 am

Not Whining

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Darkness is here. I leave for work in the mornings now with the surroundings in total darkness. It makes for a drastically different drive from the mornings when painted skies of dawn filled my view over the summer. Before long this darkness will begin to feel completely normal, but for now I am very aware of the difference.

The chilly temperatures have me switching back to long sleeve shirts. That means the onset of the perpetual battle to avoid soaking the cuffs when I wash my hands after coming in from working outside. I’m considering making a couple of little “cones-of-shame” like the ones dogs sometimes have to wear, which I can slip over my hands to protect my long sleeves from getting wet when I wash.

Our home is under siege of the dreaded Asian lady beetle. I have gained a heightened sense of paranoia over my ever-present cup of ice water, ever since the time one of the nasty buggers made its way into my drink and I crunched it with my teeth. Even though I have a cover to protect the contents, I feel no sense of confidence that there won’t be a chance one of the invaders has made its way into the drink when I didn’t notice.

Cyndie and I have decided to order some additional loads of sand and gravel to have on hand before the snow flies. The ground is dry enough now that damage from the heavy dump truck will be much less than if we wait until spring, but I still fret over the impact that truck makes. We decided not to have him drive into the paddocks, but that leaves us with the challenge of choosing a spot where the loads can be dumped, and figuring out a way to spread the load out to the areas where we ultimately want it.

We also face the inevitable further abuse to the crumbling surface of our ailing asphalt driveway that the truck will dish out. We’ve given up on trying to repair the existing damage, but that doesn’t mean we welcome the increased distortion by the weight of a fully loaded dump truck. We want the sand and gravel, we just don’t want the abuse caused when it is delivered.

But I’m not whining. Really. Just venting a little bit. And it feels much better having done so.

Now I can get back to enjoying the splendor of a fall that is glowing all around our house this year. It is putting on quite a show!

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Written by johnwhays

October 14, 2015 at 6:00 am