Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Trying to Bale Hay and Breaking Stuff

Before you can bale hay you usually need to rake it into windrows, which is what I planned to do today.  As soon as I started to fold one side of the rake down I got a nasty reminder about how much force hydraulics can have when it mangled everything it was attached to by trying to move something that didn't want to move. 

I believe my exact remarks were something like, "Oh, fiddle and fudge, you son-of-a-biscuit-eater!" (Of course, I'd be willing to bet it was actually closer to a full-blown cuss-fest).

I've used this rake for 6 years or so, have only had a few problems with it, and now I'm going to have to beat the hell out of it with a sledgehammer to straighten everything out followed by welding the hell out of it to make it one piece instead of three pieces.
You should have seen how twisted it was before I beat on it with a sledgehammer

Come on, MOVE you piece of junk!
There's no point in welding it all back together if the parts that are supposed to move still don't move after it's fixed(that part with the pipe wrench on it is supposed to move), so after spending a little time with a couple of 8' pieces of pipe as cheaters on the pipe wrench and the mangled bit of the rake and still not getting any movement (how the heck did it get locked up so tight?!), I gave up for the day and decided to rake the hay with the one side of the rake that was still on the rake.

At least, I didn't have to rake and bale that hay next to a road where everybody could see me raking with half of a rake like a nitwit, but there was a slim chance of rain tonight, so I didn't really have much choice.  

You would think that using half of a rake would mean that it would take twice as long to rake and bale some hay, but it seemed like it took three to four times as long to finally get it all baled. 

Now, I just need to do some more sledgehammering, loosening some unloosenable stuff, and a bunch of welding.


  1. I have a receiver hitch on our car, and the removable part is not removable anymore. I bought it used that way, and intended to expend a tremendous amount of energy and cussing trying to get it apart... but I haven't yet.

    Fortunately, being stuck isn't a real big problem for that, although I would like to get a receiver-mounted bicycle carrier someday...

    I've got just a couple of peaches that made it through the freeze and poor pollination... you reminded me that I need to get out there and see if they are ripe. Since our 2nd peach died, I'm pretty sure this one gets pollinated by the almond tree... but that has a real tendency to get bit by frost... so I really should plant another peach or two...

    1. If I had a hitch that was stuck I'd be awful tempted to just throw a chain around a tree, hook it to the hitch, and take off. I'd either get that hitch loose (sling-shotting it across the yard in the process), pull the bumper off, have the tree come crashing down, or a combination of all of the above.

      Or, if I wasn't in the mood for death and destruction, I'd just put some tension on the chain by slowly driving forward, then I'd beat the hell out of the hitch to break the rust and gunk loose until it came loose and sling-shotted a little less spectacularly than the death-and-destructuion method.

    2. Heh heh...

      Well... I did try yanking it out early on, a few years ago, but the impact was so harsh that I worried that I might set off the airbags or rip the car in half. So I soaked it with penetrating stuff and waited a couple of years before trying again, and it's still frozen solid. Eventually, I might take it off and run it through some electrolysis. Then if I can free it up, I'll inspect and paint everything. Assuming the car doesn't blow up first... it's got 254,000 miles on it now...

      I used to heat things up with a torch all the time to loosen them up, but I just have a tiny one now. Maybe some heat would help with yours?

    3. So far, I've heated it up with an oxy-acetylene torch with a big rosebud tip about four times trying to break the rust and gunk loose (heat it up good, let it cool, beat with a hammer to knock the rust loose, etc.).

      Combined with pumping in a bunch of grease through the zerk fitting, spraying half a can of PB Blaster, and strategic beating with a punch and sledgehammer trying to rotate it, I've managed to move it about 1/16" so far (moving it 1/16" per day, it'll only take me 256 days and a couple dozen tanks of oxygen and acetylene).

      I'll eventually get it loose (not much choice because I 'd rather not buy another rake to replace it), but I still can't figure out how it got stuck so tight. It's basically just two pieces of pipe about 16" long, with one inside the other, and the last time I checked it was so loose it almost rattled.

      I actually did have the thought of trying to loosen it up by putting it into that electrolysis process to break the rust loose, since I have the barrel all setup ready to go and would just need to fill it up with the right solution.

  2. Well... I guess peaches are self-pollinating, so there goes my theory about the almond. Maybe some of the flowers did get too cold.


    1. I had the same thing happen with some apricot trees this year, out of 6-7 trees, one was loaded, a couple trees had a handful or apricots, and the rest had none.

      There's some sort of unknown micro-climate around a few trees, the micro-climate changes year to year, so planting more trees might help spread the risk around so that the odds of getting some sort of fruit harvest goes up.

      Even though you don't need more trees for cross-pollination, more trees might mean more chances for fruit.

      Now I wonder if more blooming trees might attract more bees to the area (even though peaches don't need bees, they seem to help with the pollination), and then they are somehow only attracted to a couple of the trees in a larger group? Or, do I have enough bees around to boost the pollination of all the trees, and I need to get some bees so I have enough bees to pollinate all of my trees?

    2. I do want to plant some more peaches. A few apples died over the past few years, so I can plant them where they used to be. Peaches seem to do better without a lot of work around here.

    3. I have a few apple trees, but for some reason the apples I grow never taste as good as store-bought ones, while my home-grown peaches are 100 times better than the barely edible store-bought peaches.

  3. Whenever I start beating on things with a hammer to free them, I usually end up breaking more things. Did you try soaking it with some of that rust penetrating stuff? I've got some things I thought were impossible stuck loose with that stuff.

    Ron - I used to have a receiver hitch bike rack for my car but hated the thing. The fit between it and the receiver was loose enough that with it loaded with a few bikes, it rocked side to side going down the road and because the bikes were several feet up above the receiver, it was actually quite violent. I've since switched to a bumper mounted bike rack with straps that snug it down to the back of the car. It takes me only a couple minutes to mount over the receiver one, it a heck of a lot lighter overall and doesn't move a centimeter even loaded down with four bikes.

    1. Ed - I can imagine any looseness would be a big deal for a rack. The ones I've read about have a bolt that is supposed to make them fit very tight in the receiver. I'm sure some are better than others. We have a trunk mount one now, but I don't like relying on nylon straps and plastic buckles to prevent disaster... and it is only really designed to hold two bikes.

    2. I try to only beat on stuff that needs to be beaten on, and I try not to beat on stuff when I'm in a bad mood, tired, or frustrated.

      The parts I need to beat on are some 3" and 3.5" pipe that both have a wall thickness of about 5/16". I can destroy things with a sledgehammer, but I'd have to work awful hard to break these pipes (which probably means I'll bend the hell out of it the next time I just barely tap it).

      Right now. I've got it sitting after I sprayed a whole bunch of PB Blaster in it to break the rust loose, sometimes that will eventually do the job.

  4. I've noticed that with home grown apples too. I've always thought it must be the varieties that we can plant versus the ones the stores can import. Plus our apple trees always suffer from worms and bugs terribly unless heavily sprayed.

    Our peach trees always produce excellent tasting peaches too but it is really hard to grow them. First we have so many deer that love eating the trees when they are young, they are hard to get to where you can get fruit from them. Then we are far enough north that they only produce fruit for a handful of years and they die. Our last peach tree that produced fruit died almost a dozen years ago. The ones I replanted after I got married ten years ago still haven't produced any fruit due to severe deer pruning. I need to replant them in the middle of some alcatraz like fencing.

    1. I never got around to it, but the last time I was thinking about planting some apple trees I found a list of recommended apple trees from the Oklahoma State University Extension. Most of the recommended apples were completely different from the typical ones you would find for sale at any of the big-name mail order places (which was one reason I never got around to planting those apple trees back then).

      By the time I found somewhere that actually sold some of the recommended trees, I was past the short window in the year when I could plant apple trees. Maybe I should start looking right now for some of those apple trees so I can plant some this spring?

      I've seen deer netting for sale(7' tall mesh) and I've always wondered if it would actually work to keep deer out. The netting I've seen came in 100' rolls and didn't seem that expensive ($25-35?), or difficult to install (just some lightweight posts to tie it to).

    2. My parents bought some electrified deer mesh netting that they put around their garden this year. It isn't 7' tall but it may be close to 6'. It came on two rolls and just hooks up to 110V power source. It came with plastic poles that wove in the mesh to support it and at the corners I think they used metal posts. Their garden is probably 40 by 60 feet in dimension. They said it worked so well that I'm thinking of using it when our garden is up and running.

  5. The main problem I've had with apple trees is borers. They have killed 3 out of 6 trees over the past few years, and probably another one this summer. I try to kill the borers with a piece of wire, but when they do damage early on it doesn't take much to kill the tree or make it weak enough to blow over in storms.