03 October 2017

mowin for $$

So part of this newish job is actually mowing grass.
Effin lotsa grass to mow!!
It would seem boring,
and at times it is,
mainly the wide expanses.
Fortunately there are only 3 of those parts.
Even then things happen that are like...
What the heck are those beaver bites?
They call that girdling the trees.
Or how about...
holey chit there's a bald eagle!!
Or holey chit there's 3 bald eagles
fighting over a Canadian goose body!!
Half the time mowing is basically a form 
of technical off-roading,
the Toro 580D is a 4WD crawler,
with acres of hills, berms, trees 
and other obstacles to navigate.
This part is called the east berm or bank,
a long gradual side slope,
that runs the entrance to the track.
This is where it gets tricky,
the side wing cutters act like outriggers
as well as weight distributors. 
The 3 black knobs control the hydraulics.
On a light left slope like this,
both sides are down all the way,
the lower deck pushing down as it keeps us upright,
uphill deck on reserve to go up for balance.
The knob control looks like this.
Thumb pushing down,
pointer on guard.
On a steeper right slope the position is reversed,
but the same.
Both decks down,
the 16' width really grabs the slope.
Here's the hand position,
right knob pushed down,
left on guard...
On guard for the steeper slope ahead!!
Here's where it's important to raise the uphill deck,
giving traction to the uphill wheels.
Even then there's a little bit of sliding involved.
The below pic was in the early days,
and looking back is a definite holey chit moment.
If you see the mow mark I overextended the downhill turn,
and had to raise the deck quickly
as the machine lost the traction to turn.
(Rear steer on a front heavy machine)
The Toro 580D doesn't handle well going straight downhill,
and with the guide wire in the way 
there's not much room for error.
I don't get that close anymore!!
Easier to send in guys with weedwackers...
Moving the sticks almost comes naturally,
and I'll give Chief credit,
with its 2-knob shifter system.
People always ask how hard is it to shift.
Muscle memory is powerful!
When slipping down the dirt hills,
it's surprising how automatic controlling the hydraulics becomes.
Months ago I showed how the frame actually broke,
now ya know how critical it is that it stays together!
The day before a big race,
one of the deck frames broke.
4100 hard working hours will create metal fatigue!
This is when the years of metalwork experience kicked in.
I finished an easy day job in a hard couple hours,
while race cars ran their practice laps.
Fat gussets and fish plates,
this will be stronger than new.
Since the grinder was out,
I sharpened a set of blades,
picking some donors from the junk pile.
Typically the outer blades get hammered by gravel and rocks,
so 7 out of 11 are good for a couple grinder edges.
There's a point where they all get pro sharpened,
but where's the fun in that?
The mower was all assembled 
just in time for the spectators to pile in.
The east berm grass died off in the summer!
The flatter areas kept a little green,
although it was more a mix of random weeds 
rather than blades of grass.
After racking up hours of mowing,
I still end up getting stuck.
This was my 8th time,
and first in a couple months.
The ground was so hard the mower just slid sideways like on ice,
then the skids hook into the fence.
Over the winter I'm going to round out the ends 
so they're not hooks.
Here's a huge change from San Diego.
It felt wrong hosing the machine down,
however the track has a well,
with an almost unlimited supply of water.
One of the perks of Oregon...
More soon!

1 comment:

  1. It's a pleasure to read your lawn mower posts. I don't know if you've been told that before