Click each picture for a closer view
hydraulic lift, it was quite easy to trip the bucket, then lift the
tractor so that the weight of the whole front end
of the tractor is bearing down on the cutting edge of the bucket.
While this was a bit of a "wild ride" going down the hill on
bucket and back tires -- no steering -- this worked great for slicing the slope down and
loosening the dirt for hauling away. See Figure
13. Though it's not apparent because of the loose,
rutted dirt, the tractor was actually sitting there with the front tires
4"-6" off the ground. Talk about hydraulic down pressure!
With the engine idling, I could lift the front of the tractor up and down
with a touch of the hydraulic controls.
also that the gray thing in the right corner is a walnut tree with a piece
of railroad tie leaning up against it -- this shows just how steep the
slope was at that point. I couldn't climb back up the hill at this
point (too steep) so each pass required that I drive all the way around
the barn and house, and come back down. My neighbor, Jim (a club
member, nickname of "seniormoment") saw and heard me
"playing" and stopped by. He posed for a picture just to
show how steep the slope was that I was working on. See Figure
14. He also saw how much fun I was having -- so he went
home, got his larger, 16hp twin-cylinder Ingersoll (i.e. Case) and snow/dozer blade and came
back to help grade this slope off. He graded much of the remaining slope down
with his larger tractor, while I "hauled" the material and
spread it using the Johnny Bucket Jr. You can get somewhat a sense
of how much I had cut off the slope when Jim arrived by looking at Figure
15. Note that these walnut trees have likely grown up where
squirrels buried walnuts in the refuse pile. Also, for a
perspective, that's a railroad tie sawed in half, leaning against them.
By scooping from piles of loose material pushed to the bottom of the
slope, I also tested the limits of what the hydraulic lift could handle.
I found that it could lift and carry a bucket full of just about anything
-- I even hauled two old clothesline poles cast into concrete bases (more
of the "buried treasure" that I unearthed). But, I found
that a bucket full of "dirty pea gravel," with dirt and gravel
combined, was just at the upper limits of my hydraulic lift's capacity --
it strained and took a few moments to lift it. I also found
that while it could readily carry a bucket completely full of material,
that it strained it heavily to lift the bucketful out of the side of a
larger pile. In these cases, pushing into the pile until the bucket
filled, then lifting the bucket up as I backed out seemed to work
best. I certainly got to learn how to "transport
material" -- it's "advertised" purpose -- with this
The next few pictures try to show how much dirt was moved.
16 shows the depth of the fill in some places, where I was
covering downed trees/limbs, and firming up a swampy mess. This was early
on, when I was just starting the project. Figure
17 and Figure 18
show just how large are areas I filled, to help sense how much soil was
moved. Figure 17 is just extending the area that was started in
but note the filled "road" area to the right of the
tractor. In Figure 18
the tractor was not moved -- this is how far into the woods the road
goes. These pictures also provide a good view of the overall work
site, where the soil was coming from, how far it was hauled, and where it
was put. What is not visible is the area to the left of the graded
slope where the "clean fill" was being placed to blend the slope
in with the contours of the neighbors' lots.
1" ground clearance when the bucket is fully raised and tripped is a
great setting when spreading clean fill -- you spread a 1" layer then
drive up onto it and continue spreading. Consequently you're not
getting your front tires bogged down in deep, loose fill, making it hard
to steer. To add more depth, just take another pass over the same
area on the next trip. However, with the debris that I was moving,
it would have occasionally been nice to lift the tripped bucket higher to
clear a rock or brick that I had just dumped. Instead, it pushed
this larger object and left it lying at the end of the pass. Note
also that the bucket doesn't work very well to pull backwards and smooth
out material that you've spread. (I think a regular snow or dozer
blade works much better in reverse than the bucket.) Pulled
backwards, there is no "sharp edge" or corner on the bucket to
cut off the higher spots -- so it "floats" over objects quite
easily, unless you apply intentional down pressure.
19 shows a wider view back into the woods, and where the
"road" goes to the left of the parked tractor.
There's an old stone foundation for a carriage house back in the woods, on
the left side of this new "road." I want to access this
foundation to haul
some stones out for use in retaining walls and terraces that I'm building. Previously, I'd get stuck every time I entered the
here to continue the story....