One of my favorite tools on the farm is this little bulldozer, it's over 40 years old (EDIT: somehow I did the math wrong in my head, and it's actually just under 30 years old so it's still almost a youngster), can be cantankerous at times, and is almost completely worn out, but it's a blast to dig with it.
Believe it or not, this bulldozer was bought on eBay about 7 years ago, shipped to OK from the East Coast, driven off of the trailer, and went to work around the farm. I've fixed the spillways on three ponds, got it buried in the mud twice (make sure you have a bigger tractor with a big chain if you want to try that), cleared out a few miles of fenceline with it, cleaned up two old oil well sites, and fixed all the terraces on the farm.
Today, I should have been finishing up clearing out that lane (holy cow, I never would have guessed that trees could grow that much in 12-13 years), but after cutting a pickup load of firewood along with another pile of future bio char, I got distracted by an overwhelming urge to jump on the bulldozer and fix a spot of erosion that has been calling out to be fixed.
A tornado came though this area about 14 years ago, knocking down a lot of trees and tearing up all the fences. In this area, the tornado damage was bad enough that a bulldozer was hired to cleanup the fence line (that was before "little bulldozer" had made the trip from the East Coast to the farm), then a few months later, the remaining tornado debris was cleaned up during a tornado cleanup program with a team of bulldozers, trackhoes, and front loaders. All that equipment got the debris cleaned up in a hurry, but also removed a lot of topsoil, and left some ruts, etc.
Over the years, this hillside started to have some erosion problems, so I decided to start fixing it.
I first started along a fence line that runs up a hill. To get an idea of the slope of the hillside, if you look at the picture you can see the corner posts which has the horizontal brace post installed almost level.
|Starting up the Hill, note the Brace Post|
|Partway up the Hill|
While I was smoothing out the ruts along that fence line, I went ahead and fixed the erosion of the entire hillside. There happened to be some bermuda grass growing in spots, so driving the bulldozer back and forth should have planted enough bermuda to stabilize this hill when it starts growing, but I'll haul a few bales of crabgrass hay to this spot and use the cattle to make sure that I get some grass growing here as quick as possible.
|King of the Mountain|
This little bulldozer cost a little bit more than a new ATV would have cost, but I don't think I could move this much dirt with a ATV or have as much fun running over stuff. Every time someone comes out to the farm, I always ask them if they want to try driving my bulldozer around a while and I'm always surprised how few take me up on the offer, which usually puzzles me.
The way I see it, if someone ever offers to let you drive their bulldozer (even if it is old and worn out) take the opportunity.