Sunday, January 20, 2019

Skidsteers, Charlie, Mules oh my

We had a nice snow fall. The NOAA said we were going to have a Winter Storm Warning with blowing snow and then dangerously cold temperatures.

The snow started early Friday and we'd had a couple of inches by chore time.

The mules and 15 waited in the woods for supper with their snow blankets on.

One may think that they would be cold.
However, if you were to stick your hand under that snow, you would find a warm fluffy layer of their winter coat and their skin is warm. I do take my hands and run it up under the snow-coat just to be sure.

By morning we'd had about Charlie Chin High Snow. This is our new measure. How high is the snow on Charlie?

Here Charlie plows through the snow while assisting with chores.
I fueled up the skidsteer and plugged in the engine block to warm it up as I went in the shed to get my sled of hay.

The mules follow me along the fenceline with little grunts and sometimes a little braying. If they hear the sled on snow or on grass, they are coming at the trot.
I used to use this sled to lead our cattle from one paddock to another.

Feed. Animals always follow feed.

Mica has been moved to her own little paddock with Lil' Richard. She eats so slowly that the other mules were limiting her intake of food.
Anyway, Charlie quickly decided that sitting on the porch was wiser. He could watch me walk in the deep snow and he could sit in the sun.

Here is the view from the porch. The heated water tank is to the right outside of the photo and in the wooded area. The one nice thing about living in a hollow is that the cold winds can be dodged just by moving around most of the time.
The mules by noon were taking naps in the sunlight right there were I had fed them.

I started up the skidsteer and everything went very well. I was almost finished when I thought I'd take one more swipe by the house and make it easier to park by the kitchen door to unload groceries. This is a tight area and normally I scoop up snow and back out.
I decided to make a tight turn instead.

[Truth be told, skid steers do make tight turns all of the time, that is the beauty of having one.]
For whatever reason I heard a loud PFFFFT and immediately shut it down. I climbed out and saw that a tire came off the rim. Uh...Oh.

Rich was upset. He got that quiet tone with me and told me how much I messed up in no uncertain terms. He went on and on citing multiple issues about how difficult things were now. How I'd left it in a bad place, how I'd messed up.

In some ways I knew it may have been his frustration in knowing that he couldn't get out there and 'fix' the problem. He went on to tell me that I'd ruined a tire and that it could cost $150 just for a tire. I thought that was odd since that sum of money was not an issue.
I was driven to tears and then I got angry.
Nope. He couldn't be nice.

So I walked out of the house and called my neighbor's cell phone and left a message.
When I came back in Rich demanded to know what was for lunch. I wanted to knock my Halo off and tell him to figure it out. I wanted to tell him off. Instead I took out the dish I'd prepared for him the night before and set it on the counter.

Let him figure out how to warm it up while I figure out how to solve the skidsteer issue.

I must admit. I'd done a pretty good job so far.

And the problem could most likely be solved. Yes it was cold and yes I may have damaged the tire. But these things can be fixed and it was not gloom and doom. Nor was the world going to end because the tire came off the rim.

I went out with a scoop shovel and waited for Justin to arrive.

The issue became this. How to get the metal tracks off with the bucket in the way. Okay we used the boom lock out.
Then we used the bucket to pick up the front of the skidsteer and blocked it to keep it in place with the tracks folded out of the way.

After we figured out all the logistics, we were able to take off the tire and the rim. The bead was broken on the outside of the tire but not the inside.
Justin attributed it to low tire pressure and me turning over and over again.

These are things I wouldn't really know as a novice skidsteer driver. He was calm and explained everything he was doing and his reasoning behind it.
He also told me that I should think of this as a learning experience...he did.

By dark we had the tire off.
We'd spent 2 hrs in the cold working together.

By supper it seemed Rich was no longer upset, in fact he seemed to have forgotten the incident.

Charlie? He was content in bringing peace to the house by snuggling up to the Grumpy Guy and dropping a tennis ball at his feet.

So it goes.

Today it is frigid.
So I think I'll go for a nice long walk down the valley out of the wind.
After all, I have the gear for it and I can't stand to sit inside all day.

Tomorrow I'll take the tire into the shop and hopefully Justin and I can put things back together. I will learn more than I need to know about skidsteers.

Plus this spring I will have the implement company we bought it from come out and get it. It needs an overhaul/maintenance job. I'm not really prepared to learn all about changing filters and fuses, hydraulic fluids, and other things...not yet.


  1. Good going!! I remember reading something Joel Salatin said about what to do when machinery breaks down during haying. I think he said to just keep doing something!! Trying to do something to fix the problem is so much better than just standing there wringing your hands! You are doing a great job!

    1. Thank you. Standing and staring at the problem sure wasn't going to fix it. Neither was being upset going to fix it. And I am learning a lot. I am going to take the tracks off eventually. I do love how the machine works though. It is handy to have.

  2. You are learning, I am so glad you have a nice neighbor that will help you figure things out! Cold here too...we probably won't venture out of the yard until Tuesday:)

    1. I had a nice 2 hr hike today in the valley out of the wind. It was very calming for me. I never thought I'd be up for tasks like these but I guess I am.

  3. Iran the tire off on our Kabota, low air pressure. I took it off and brought it into the heated shop over night then put air in to reseat the rim. I now check the tires every time I use the tractor! Live and learn. I just love the frigid weather, NOT!

    1. Apparently that is what happened here. The shop said that is all that happened. Although it is unfortunate that the weather will not cooperate for putting it back on with temps under zero for a while. We may get a break on Saturday to put it back on.