A second post today. The blogging union shop steward can just kiss my, um, you know.
Not a whole lot more to add to this morning's post. It snowed. Snow management was done. Cattle are fine, chickens are fine, dogs are fine, Mom is fine, I is fine.
In town where things are sheltered by trees and by virtue of the entire town being located in a valley, scooping snow was a nice physical workout but not really much of a chore.
Out at the ranch, which is not down in a valley and has far fewer trees and structures, it was a different story.
Despite the fact that I didn't venture out that way until after 9 a.m., the county hadn't been out yet at all. By "the county" I mean county road department crews who had a lot of snow to plow. Well, actually not a lot. This was a pretty routine snow. I don't know what kept them from showing up until after lunchtime. Probably had to wait for their BAC's to fall off enough that they could pass the breathalyzer interlocks on their vee-hickles.
Butt I digress.
It was real 4WD conditions on the airport road and I was quite pleased to be driving my chorin' Ranger, busted windshield and all. That thing gets around better than just about anything else in deep snow.
Once I got to the ranch my work was cut out for me. The ranch yard featured exactly three small areas scoured free of snow by the wind. The rest of the area was well covered, with depths ranging from 4-5 inches to well over four feet. This was a job (I believed) for the Bobcat!
|Exiting the shop on the Bobcat.|
It might surprise you to find that even as a master ranch hand of long (even longer than that Maynard) standing, I've never used a skid steer for snow management. There are various reasons for this, some of which are valid, and none of which I will detail. So you can all relax about that fearsome prospect.
I have de-manured my share of corrals with various skid steers though, so I was pretty sure that I had a reasonable handle on how the Bobcat would behave in the snow. And I was correct.
Wheeled skid steers don't have a lot of traction to begin with. They are a lot lighter than they look, and the hydrostatic drive (at least in my experience) doesn't have the kind of low end torque you need for traction in reduced friction environments. Even on a warm summer day you can easily get all four wheels spinning on smooth concrete. If you're operating in icy conditions or in a pen of slippery manure, you need to chain up if you want traction.
However, you can get by without chains if you watch what you're doing and where you're going and you manage your energy appropriately. Momentum can be your friend and will carry you through a lot of too-slippery spots. As long as you don't have to stop in a bad place you'll be okay as long as you don't get carried away and reckless. But if you fail to plan and navigate your course appropriately, you can find yourself in a situation where you can't get enough traction to overcome inertia. Then you're screwed.
You'll all be pleased to learn that I did not get stuck. I had once close call, but I was able to use the old bucket-walk trick to get out.
Other than that, the Bobcat did very well in snow management today. Tomorrow I'm going to buy or order some chains, and I suspect that with chains (and with good technique) it'll be up to just about any snow management task at the home place.
I actually had a lot of fun and got a lot of enjoyment out of the chore. Of course I got wet and cold because the thing has an open cab, but that's not much of a price to pay considering the excellent work I was able to accomplish.
Later this afternoon I got down to check cows and they were fine. They thought I might be the feed truck and came running, but they were disappointed. They all came running from being spread out grazing the abundant dried grass standing proud above the snow, so they weren't suffering. They just wanted some of that tasty, easy food. Can't say as I blame them.
All in all it was a good day and I got a lot done, even if it was mostly snow management.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.