Sunday, February 29, 2004

Well, it's been a lovely weekend and I spent almost all of it outside. I'm in the process of building fence right now, which oddly enough I actually enjoy now... mainly because I don't have to dig holes anymore (TC and I went in together last year on a post driver... best money ever spent)

The only flaw in the entire weekend was this morning. I had the Cat fired up to move a brushpile that was in the way of the new fence and slung a track because I wasn't paying attention. The Cat is a '64 933 loader and she's still got the original undercarriage, so needless to say, it's worn out. I used to have a lot of problems with the tracks until I learned the warning signs. After I figured that out, it's a simple matter to back up, twist and turn and basically roll them back on before they come off.

Well, that didn't happen this morning. I've got a lot of dirt encrusted on the undercarriage, so I didn't hear the little warning pops and cracks. Boy, I did it right... had it completely off the idler (on the front) and halfway off the drive sprocket (on the back). Fixing tracks is not really that difficult... if you have several big iron bars, 2 or 3 come-alongs, a sledgehammer and somebody to help! (there's usually a lot of cursing involved too) My problem this morning was the fact that I couldn't find but one come-along (didn't have any help either).

About an hour into the process I had the bright idea to use some off my chains and a couple of chain binders to hold everything in place so that I could move the come-along back and forth to whichever point I needed it at. This actually worked pretty well for a while. I got the track up on top of the idler, but I was having problems getting it around the front. There's a grease fitting on there that you can crack open to let the idler move back and I couldn't get the silly thing move back after I took the fitting off. About this time I moved one of my chain binders to the front. I had hooked the chain to the bucket and ran it it back to the track about waist high. I hooked the binder to it and pulled it to set it... it had quite a bit of tension on it and I let go of it at the wrong time and nailed myself just south of the belt buckle.

I had to go sit down for a while. Damn near swallowed a mouthful of skoal.

I finally got the bright idea to take a small bottle jack and use it to push the track rails forward. I almost had it back together when bigger brother showed up. His first words were "are you taking it off or putting it on?"

He's bad about those smartass comments.

With a little grunting and some judicious use of two big pry bars we got everything back in place shortly.

After that I was able to finish my clearing, pull up some posts that were in the wrong place and set four new ones, string part of my wire and set a bunch of T-posts. I finally quit when I ran out of daylight.

Long day, but the kind of day that makes it easier for me to spend all week in front of a computer at work.