Countrymans Diary

Down Time

So, although I’m retired, and my normal (unpaid) job is pest control and protection of crops, at the moment I’m not getting any shooting done for the following reasons…..

 

  1. A) I don’t shoot anything unless there is no other way to complete the job.

 

  1. B) There is no harvesting at this moment

 

  1. C) There is no sowing of crops at this moment

 

  1. D) There are lots of repair jobs to do around the farms

 

I made the mistake once upon a time, while watching the lads do a repair, to state “you’re doing that wrong” LOL

 

They then responded with, “If you can do it better, you do it” !!

 

So I did…..

 

The result was I now hardly get any shooting done, as almost every single repair they call me to do 🙁

However, it does keep me busy, and that’s what I want to be busy.

 

So last week I was knocking down and rebuilding cow stalls, which are still an ongoing project, but the other lads are doing that at the moment, as I refuse to start humping concrete blocks about preferring to do welding, electrical/gas/water/oil, mechanical items.

So in between doing the stalls, I got a phone call to come fix a combine. It had thrown the header drive belts. Went and checked it, flange block bearing had gone.

 

Getting the old bearing off was not easy, puller wouldn’t touch it, so ended up using my plasma cutter to gouge the races off, and then my large 20ton workshop (air over hydraulic) press to get the new bearing on. Remounted everything, and all now works well, even flat out she doesn’t throw belts.

Next job was fit the water pipes up for some water tanks, which was quickly done, then fit the new air seat into a tractor, which was a difficult job, but eventually sorted.

 

Then the next job was sharpen the blades on a topper, only 4 edges to do, so a quick 20-30 minute job.

From that it was back down to the cow’s stalks, and repairs the feeder rails on the feed passage, unbolt, get the brackets that were broken, grind off the galvanizing, grind a nice V in the old welds and generally tidy up the fit, then welded it up using 3.2mm 7018 rods. Total of four brackets. Once cooled, painted the welds with galvanizing paint, allowed to dry, and then fitted them back up. Job done.

From that it was up to the other farm again, and fixes some broken water troughs in the cattle houses.

Could no longer unbolt them, as the bolts were rusted solid, and just turned in the wall, so cut through them with an angle grinder. There are a total of four to do, all leaking masses of water.

The first one was a calf feeder, but that was still tight to the wall, and just needed the float adjusting. That left three large ones which were basically hanging off the wall as the cattle had been lifting and dropping g them, using them to scratch their necks.

Two of the three were extremely bad and not just hanging but broken, so decided to do those two first.

 

Got my ladder (take all my own tools with me), and switched off the water at the stopcock on the top of the wall.

Then unbolted both troughs, and took them home.  Again, ground off the galvanizing as much as I could (some always remains, the more you have, the more porous and spattery the welds are).

From there I went to the engineering company and got them to make me up six brackets from 2″ angle iron, with a 1/2 inch hole through each. From there it was off to the hardware store and got twelve concrete bolts 12x150mm

Then got back home, and on each trough welded a bracket at the top corner each side on each. Followed that with a good weld round several cracks and breaks, then covered the lot in galvanizing paint, and left it to dry till the next day.

Next morning, was playing with the dogs prior to going to fix the troughs on the wall,  when a text message came in, could the farmer switch the water on, as the calves and cows were thirsty,  so stopped playing with the dogs and headed over

Quickly got them bolted up, then the very last bolt, going through one of the old brackets (now a total of four brackets on each trough, two original, two new), hit an old weld and stripped the thread grrrrr.

So off to the hardware store, got a single 12x200mm concrete bolt, back and drilled the hole deeper, ground that old weld down, and then bolted that up too. JOB DONE, just some galv paint needed, so said I would be back later, and headed home for a mug of tea, and finish the play with the dogs before returning to galvanize paint the grinded weld.

Hadn’t been playing with the dogs 5 minutes again, when phone went again, feed auger broken. So down to fix that I went, taking the galvanizing paint with me.

Quickly painted up the ground out weld, then went and looked at the auger.

This particular auger is one of three,  but breaks 10 times more often than the other two combined, and it’s a bugger to fix, as it’s sprung, and when the retain pin breaks, it disappears down the pipe.

However, I’ve repaired it that many times, I’m very handy with it now, so the farmer and I quickly had it back out, and protruding where I could get at it to repair it.

Normally there was a 3mm pin retaining it which always brome, sometimes after 3 days, sometimes after 3 weeks, so had drilled the hole out to 4mm and fitted a steel roll pin instead of a brass cotter pin last time. This time it had held 3 months,  but I was now determined to fix it once and for all, so told the farmer I would tap the end of the shaft,  and put a retain nut and washers on.

He told me that would not be possible, as it’s a hardened steel shaft, but I said no bother, I have German cabid3 taps…..

It took a lot of pressure to get the tap started, but once it bit, it went on no problem. The shaft was 12.7mm (0.5 inch), but I chose to tap it at 12mm for two reasons.

 

  1. A) 12mm is a very common size, easy to get anywhere

 

  1. B) The thread would be oversize, giving a tight fit

 

It should really have had a let hand thread, but I only have left hand threads in 4mm, so it had to be right hand thread.

With the tight fitting thread, and some Loctite it’s not going to mover,  and I slipped on two penny washers and then the nut, and needed  wrench then a socket and mole grips to tighten it, but I can guarantee it will stay put now LOL

That was me finished for the day. Yesterday was just moving cattle, and helping trim one calf’s front right hoof, as it had split it, causing an infection and abscess. So we cut the hoof down to the puss, drained it, filled it with penicillin cream, covered in a tar paste to keep further bacteria put,  then covered the lot in tape bandage, so it’s nice and waterproof.

That calf will soon be better

 

And that has been my week so far.

Uncle Ben

 

 

 

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