Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekend Update - Use the Proper Tools

I can put another end of season project away now as honey harvesting is indeed over until at least May of next year. As I said earlier I only took a few frames off one of the larger hives and spun out about 2 gallons of honey. Most of it is already gone as I had a small stampede to the place late this afternoon made up of the hard core customers that were not going to take no for an answer.

We saved back enough for our own use and a few select Christmas gifts and that was it.

In between harvesting duties I spent most of the weekend getting the barn cleaned out so I could arrange all the new equipment for Winter storage. It's been a pretty decent year for acquiring many of the small tractor implements and backup small engine equipment as well. Not to mention finding a permanent home for the 8N tractor.

Until this year the tractor went back to my dad's place for Winter so he wouldn't have to shovel his drive. Ya I know it was an expensive snow mover since his driveway is all of about 10 foot long. Yet independence is strong in my family and he was bound and determined that he would do it himself anyway possible no matter how much overkill it took in equipment. Well age has finally come up on him again to the point that even the tractor is too much for him to get up and down on so this Summer he asked that I keep the tractor and just drive the five miles in and clean his drive for him when it snows. I had been waiting for this decision and I figured it was coming after he finally had me take over his lawn duties last year.  It was easy to manipulate that as I offered to trade his time he spends as emergency chainsaw observer in Winter for the Summer lawn work. I just extended out wood cutting Sundays into Lawn Mowing Sundays. The snow shoveling however required him to see a route to an acceptable conclusion all on his own.

He had to find a way to make it look like it was a mutually beneficial solution and not one of weakness. Not that it is really weakness but I think you all understand.

As much as I bash certain Womanly traits on this blog let me point out here and now nothing is more of a pain in the A$$ to work around than the old Male ego. I wonder if I am going to be that bad in a few years?

Lastly I learned another valuable lesson this weekend, or more to the point I learned to follow my own advice in a big way. As I was struggling along scooping up woodchips with my large flat snow shovel and cussing because it was such a pain in the butt I had an epiphany. The way I have been getting woodchips for years now was at a central dump site in town where they dump em out on concrete and the easiest way to move them was with a big metal snow shovel. It also worked well taking the chips out of the truck bed.

Well guess what? The shovel method doesn't work well when the chips are left on dirt and grass.

So I thought there has to be a better way to do this. I tried using the manure forks and pitch forks we have but they were either too flimsy for wood chips or the tines were spread too thin. Now even though I have never personally had to move material like these chips before, being blessedly born on a farm after mechanization, I figured there had to be a hand tool that was specifically designed for this type of work under just this type of conditions. I mean concrete isn't usually wasted as outdoor pads on most farms even today.

So I took my own advice and found the oldest farmer I could find who told me what I needed was a silage fork.

Since I had never fed silage before I had never seen or needed one, but it really is just a larger version of a bedding fork with the tines a bit closer together.

OMG it was a gift from heaven. I was shoveling huge piles of wood chips with a fraction of the effort when using a shovel.

This is the perfect example of my own advice working. Even if using wood chips is more of a modern day gardening tactic there is nothing about prepping that hasn't been covered in the past and we need to preserve that knowledge as much as possible.

It can make a world of difference.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. I have one of those forks, mine is ancient though, now I know the type of work it is good for.

    1. SF - Apparently what they are really designed for was moving chopped up corn stalks that had been piled for fermenting into cattle silage. The old guy mentioned some other types as well but he said it was the same principal as what I was doing moving the wood chips.

      He did mention something else I didn't rightly understand about making sure the silage was "shoveled" level. I am not sure what that means but since it didn't relate to my task at hand I didn't pursue the matter.

  2. we use something similiar to that fork rake while spreading really helps and we can put a very light covering over the common areas in one of our commericial properties, it makes it look like we added a alot but really didn't, thus putting more $$$ from the jobs in to our pockets... : )

  3. PP,
    I've not seen one of these tools, the silage fork. You've educated me tonight on this fork. I'll make sure to add this to my wants list for outside tools.

  4. Glad you found what you needed. I was talking with my boys a few days ago about getting a snow shovel for us. I don't have to shovel, but our dipshit maintenance man is LAZY. I am getting visions of snow not being cleared from in front of our door and large snow hills in front of the garage. My visions are sometimes right.

  5. Landscapers use it a lot for mulch. They seem to go under the label of compost/mulch fork these days.

  6. I don't like hearing about old guys who can't do what they have always done anymore. That's getting pretty close to home these days.


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