Sunday, October 27, 2013
Putting in a New Gate
Seriously. Pounding in 60 some odd T-Posts by hand is child's play. Why, I put in 50 T-Posts by hand when I put in the tomatoes each year. Not a sore muscle or anything from pounding posts (ok a small blister on my thumb) but man-handling my new post hole auger, well I am going to feel that one tomorrow.
This morning the auger was completely in pieces. I had stripped all the parts off of the thing re-oiled, lubed and had new sheer pins ready. The guy I bought the thing from had it hooked up to a much bigger tractor than my little 8N so it was going to need to be adjusted to fit in order to get the proper depth.
My Father came out to run the tractor as he still cannot really use his arm for much but I still rely on his mechanical know-how. He is a wiz with anything mechanical, always has been. Me? Well I am passable but it took almost 40 years and I still cannot stand the smell of lube grease. I really do not like slightly flammable burnt odor.
I should have taken a picture with the auger all apart and then hooked up to the tractor but I didn't. I get too focused on the problem at hand to take pictures and never think about them until the job is done.
It took us less than five minutes to sink each of those 8inch x 9foot posts four foot into the ground. As you can tell the one on the left didn't go as far in as the one on the right but that shouldn't hurt anything. I will place my X-Support wires and connecting planks across them tomorrow to complete my first new gate on the Small-Hold.
The tall weeds you see beyond the new posts is about a quarter acre section that has gone to waste for years. It was outside the old hayfield fence but not an area that got any mowing or attention other than collecting old junk. I cleaned it out and now it is a part of the hayfield and even if it doesn't get mowed the horses will get some grazing use out of it each Winter. Eventually as the old nags go to that great pasture in the sky and are replaced with useful stock other animals will graze it.
The hole on the right gave me some trouble. The auger went in about 2 foot and then ran into a layer of dry compacted clay that came out hard as a rock. I had to do some serious pushing on the control rod to get it to break through. The hole on the left went in like a drill bit without even thinking about stopping.
There was a bit of a learning curve to using this piece of equipment but after we got it all figured out I could never dig another post hole by hand again. Above is the the auger back together and set up in it's storage configuration. I hang it off the rafters with the weight mostly supported on the cinder block. When I want to hook her up all I have to do is back the little tractor up to it and lift/pivot the back up to fit into the three point then raise the hydraulics.
Once we got it all set I unhooked it and then hooked it up a couple of times solo to test my system.
Since I am using this auger on an 8N I am keeping the drive shaft off the PTO until I get to the location I want to drill, otherwise it runs constantly. On the old Ford 8N's the PTO must be running to raise the three point hitch and shutting off the PTO will cause the hydraulics to bleed down slowly. I don't want to drag the auger on the ground while moving it.
This is a monumental moment for the Small-Hold. It has taken us years of clearing junk, mending buildings, fixing ruts, pouring concrete, clearing brush, painting barns etc. etc. etc. but we are now finally making it into the fields and fencing. By next year we maybe seriously adding livestock to our overall small farming business.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!