Notes from Windward: #67


Switching Over

getting the dump ready for summer

     One of the rites of spring involves changing our winter snow plow into our summer dump truck. The first of April is the date that we have to have the snow tires off of our street vehicles, and it's a good time to tend to a host of maintenance issues so that they're taken care of when the soil is warm and dry enough to work in a couple more weeks.


     The first step involves setting down the plow on a cradle of railroad ties so that it will be easy to remount in October. A bit of prying to take the pressure off the huge bolts that serve as connecting hinges, and the plow comes free.


     In order to add traction, we carry three 55 gallon barrels of water in the back. The easiest way to drain them is to create a siphon with a short hose. To get the water running, just insert the female end of the hose into the barrel and feed in the rest of the hose until only the male end is sticking out of the bung. Just put your finger over the end of the hose, pull out about six feet of hose, lower the end and remove your finger, and away the water drains.


     While the water's draining, the next step is to remove the rubber straps that give tension to the chains. Each set of chain is a sort of ladder-like affair wrapped around the tire and fastened to itself. Once those two connectors are removed, most of the chain can be taken off the tire and laid on the ground. Once both chains are disconnected, it's a simple matter to back the truck up off the bottom part of the chain. The fasteners are screwed back together, and chains and tensioning rubbers are all loaded together into a 5 gallon buck and tucked away until October.

     Of all the crops on a farm, the one crop you know will never fail is the annual crop of spring rocks. As we work the garden to get it ready, we'll use the dump to hold all the rocks we find, and then transport them to mailbox canyon to enfill the berm we're creating to feed the hydro-electric generator we're looking to put in down the road a bit.
Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 67