Road Building for Dummies

Today was actually a day mostly involved with preparing beams for under the deck, which will go under the yurts. Grandpa and I downed and limbed two more trees this morning, then worked away at figuring out how to use a combination of the winch and the tractor to get them over to the mill. The two winch cables that I had purchased worked well for about half a second. Then the two pipe clamps that I had used to connect them together disappeared into the bush, and I was left scratching my head. I created a new knot. It was a square knot, and then I tucked the loose ends of the cables back into the knot and we decided to give it a try. Under tension, the knot tightened into a pretty unique looking “butterfly” – but she held! The cable was a success! The winch, on the other hand, was mixed. It was terrifically slow to pull a log with tremendous effort, a few inches a minute, punctuated by efforts to unhook the log from stumps or underbrush. More thought is required on this account. Perhaps an electric winch somehow bolted to the tractor is in order?

In any case, after the logs were assembled at the mill, I spent the afternoon shaping them into a 4×5, and two more 5×5’s. I know it took a number of hours to make a few beams, but the knowledge that I had done it myself from tree to beam really made me prideful. (N.B. – I know, I need more Gellasenheit).

In any case, that was enough for the heart of the workday.

Supper was awesome, Donna had prepared a truly great chili con carne and toast – I liked it so much, I think I may have another helping when I finish this entry!

After supper, I spent a bit of time with Kenny, and reinstalled Mummu’s AOL software, and, when it was still before seven, I headed back to the bush, fired up the tractor, and drove it all the way around to the entrance of our driveway.

You see, this morning, a local contractor had dropped off a load of gravel at the end of the driveway, and I was interested to see if it was going to be possible for me to actually use the tractor to push gravel down the bush trail.

I started out very tentatively, trying to push a trail around the pile. I was very cautious at the edges, not wanting them to slide out from under me and leave me either stuck, or in a precarious position. It wasn’t too bad though. The first few pushes WERE rather soft. But each subsequent run seemed to pack down the gravel more and more, and as I reversed away, I applied down pressure with the bucket to help smooth things out and pack it even tighter. Eventually I managed to get completely around the pile, which to me felt to be a real accomplishment.

It isn’t a road, but it’s a start. Even if I have to relent and let someone else with a bigger machine do it for me, at least I conquered another fear, and demonstrated that, with patience, and faith the size of a mustard seed, I really can make things better, even if only incrementally.


Please don’t assume Kenny is running in fear, I think he’s actually excited!

4 thoughts on “Road Building for Dummies”

  1. Who is taking these pictures? Also, by what measure are you deciding that "today you have done enough" — running out of daylight? feeling tired enough not to continue? Most of us have our work-day more or less regulated for us, so I'm curious…

  2. My official photographress – Donna of course!
    Generally, I work with Grandpa Oiva's schedule, although he's usually on the job before I am. If I don't have to catch up on paperwork or online stuff, then I sometimes go back out after supper. I suppose it would be interesting to see if there is a time when we don't feel like doing much, to see what would happen, but, right now, we are motivated to get the yurts up so that we can move into them as soon as possible!

  3. I understand. I'm so far removed from life on the farm that I've forgotten what the rhythms are like, and I can only imagine what it would be like to be building things up from scratch as you guys are. Knowing you as I do (even such a little bit) I suspect overdoing it is more within your range of possibilities than underdoing it. 8)

  4. Well, I'm perhaps guilty of overdoing my intention to not overdo it. ;).
    Donna wants me to point out that the weather also contributes to our daily plans.


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