If At First You Don't Succeed.... Get a Bigger Machine

AKA The Big Machine Fiasco of 2011.

Mike brought home the big machine on Thursday - a Case skid steere on tires. As you recall from last post, he spent all of Thursday night cleaning the yard in preparation. Friday he planned to dig up the side gravel driveway so that we'd be able to have the loam delivered and dropped there on Saturday.

It was all so smooth and easy and going according to plan. So of course, something had to go terribly wrong.

Friday night's disaster started with the Case. It couldn't even dig itself out of its own way! Seriously - no power. Mike struggled for a couple hours and finally gave in when the stoopid thing couldn't even get over a small dirt hump. He switched to our own John Deere skid steere... which we hadn't planned to use because we always considered it an inferior machine. Turns out, it kicks the stuffing out of the Case. It was actually doing a credible job... that is, until the motor blew up.

Yes, that little machine kicked the bucket at the absolute wrong time. Mike spent the rest of the night trying in desperation to fix it - but gave in upon the realization that the motor should really be re-built.

Saturday. Obviously, we weren't going to order loam without the means to move it and without a place to put it. Sad days.

Then Mike called me on his way home from work Saturday night. He was on his way to a job site where he would pick up a bigger big machine from another friend of his. The same bigger big machine, it turns out, that dug our basement years prior. (Ah, memories.)

Saturday night we had three machines - three trailers - and one boat in the neighbor's yard. OMG just doesn't cover what the neighbors must have thought... although they've got to be used to it by now. (We are good friends with most of them, one family hates us, and we have one newbie on one side that I think likes us...)

Anyway, when Mike rolled off the trailer with that third machine - a big Cat on tracks - he drove right over to the gravel driveway, scooped a scoop, and dumped it over the hill. Power! At long last! Sunday was going to be good... except now we didn't have the loam. Only one day with the machine and no loam...

8am Mike started up the machine. And it went so fast, I was convinced he was going to be finished with the whole job at noon! Sure enough, the driveway was done before 10.

Before noon, Mike had brought down the grade of the entire back yard to the correct level. Before 1, he cut a bit out of the hill on the other side of the garage - where we hadn't even planned to cut! Before 2, the entire back yard was smoothed over. Mike took the machine down back into the hole, where we picked up rocks to create a rock wall where our current rock wall now makes a sharp right. Before three, Mike decided to dig a hole out in the way back and bury two huge stumps.

Before 4, the machine was washed and back on its trailer and on its way back to the job site where it came from. Before 5, the cruddy tire Case was back on its trailer and on its way back to where it came from.

And we were all home about 8, having stopped for dinner on the way home.

The Old Gravel Driveway, now Dirt

The Opposite Side of the Garage soon to be Tie Wall

The New, Flat Back Yard

Now the only problem is the loam. How are we going to spread it once it's delivered? We may not be able to get the machine again... and ours is kaputkz.

For now, those thoughts are going to have to wait. This week, I hope to complete the rock wall on the new right hand turn of the back yard. I also hope to get some PT ties for the side yard on the other side of the garage. We can't have either side washing out... but I have no clue what's involved for the ties. Rocks are easy. You just throw 'em on. Looks rustic. I might even do that tonight if I can muster my strength enough.