Thursday, February 4, 2021

New year, snow blowing and tree cutting

 We celebrated new years day with mimosas at breakfast. I think we just hung out and recovered from working on the land the day before.

Aaannd January 2nd we were back at it! We got a significant dump of snow and needed to clear the driveway. We were pretty excited because we got to use our new toy for the first time, the snowblower! I was nervous to try it, so Matthew did it and I followed recording it.

Just under 7.5 inches and it was still snowing while we were there. 

The following video is a little long, showing some of the difficulty we were having because of the wet snow. Towards the end of the video while Matthew is stuck in a ditch I say he wanted the tractor, I meant truck, to pull him out. 

In the end we accomplished our goal, got the driveway cleared and no accidents or injuries... so, Win! We did a little skiing down a fairly steep trail where I face planted a few times but it was a total blast while I was vertical. 
These were taken at the top before we turned around

The trail pretty much dies out at this open field. It also flattens out.

The following weekend we had acquired chains and spacers for the tractor. It was a gorgeous sunny day that we spent putting them on. Matthew was really worried it would take like... 3-4 hours per tire just to put on the spacers because he'd done a lot of reading that it would be difficult. We both researched and ended up finding the same youtube video of a guy doing it. Once I watched it I knew Matthew was being a little... overly concerned. Ended up taking like 1.5 hours total. We had no problems. I know this isn't always the case, but it was fairly simple. Helps that he took the time and effort to figure out the best way to do it and have back up plans. 

The tires are a little heavy but Matthew was able to roll this over himself. He thought he would need my help but he could have done the whole project alone. It was fun for me to learn though.

These are the spacers. They are needed because otherwise the chains would scrap against the inside of the tractor.

once the wheel was off we had to remove 6 bolts to replace them with longer ones to fit the spacer

installing the new, longer bolts. This is tricky, he used the jam nut method. You 'jam', two nuts together on the threaded part of the bolt and use them to screw the bolt in. These bolts are threaded on the ends only.

New bolts in, spacer seated. Next, we put the wheel back on then did it again on the other side. 

But first, tea break. This is inside the hunting cabin. We have a couch in there, a table and some chairs.

Matthew got really good at the jam nut, here's a video showing the whole routine, had to do this for all 12 bolts...

Next is a super short video of getting the chains on. You can see at the end he points at it. I had to be hands on making sure the chains were going on straight, so this is all I was able to record.

It was a success and we were really happy it went so smoothly. The weather was also incredible and I took in as much sun as I could. The next day was also gorgeous and we went on a glorious social distance hike up Worcester mountain with friends.

During the week I've been on the land alone cutting trees along the road. We have a LOT to clear in time for the house to come in the summer. The weekend of the 17th we had more snow that needed to be cleared and I tried the snowblower for the first time! But before I could do that we had to get all the way in to the tractor. Matthew felt confident he could drive in and all was going well... until it didn't. I mentioned those trees along the road? Well a lot of the birches are hanging into the road with the weight of the snow bringing them low enough to hit the windshield. This was fine until we hit a particularly big one, which blinded us and we slid a little off the line we wanted to be on. Didn't end up in the ditch but didn't want to risk it. Here's the video!

And now, my first time snow blowing. It was super easy. It was a colder day, so everything was drier and had no trouble since the chains were on the tractor now. The only issue was getting really cold cheeks. The wind occasionally caused the snow to hit me directly and my cheeks were exposed, got painfully cold at one point. I will wear something to cover them in the future.

This gets repetitive, the last three videos are during the week I'm up on the land alone cutting trees, then on the weekend we are on the land together at the build site, and back to me alone clearing trees at the build site.

On the last day of January we tried putting a piece of horse stall mat on the rear blade. As the video will show it worked great. What the video doesn't show, is that at the end the mat disconnected along the center bolts. It also doesn't show how hard it was for us to get it on because the bolts are short. We need to buy longer bolts, which we will and then we'll add the blade with the mat to make it more durable. 

This is what it looks like with just the mat, we'll add the metal blade over this with longer bolts.

And that's the end of January! Don't know when I'll post again. Matthew has surgery (small procedure, but still surgery) this month so I think it will be fairly quiet while he recuperates. I'm sure I will still be doing a lot of the same, cutting trees. Maybe a few adventures in the woods. Sometime in the next few days I'll be up on the land clearing the snow we just got. If you are reading this, I hope you are safe, healthy and happy.