Sunday 14 October 2012

Drivin' my tractor

Tuesday 9th
Weather: Mild. Constant light showers with the odd outbreak of sun.

We continued with the raking of the meadows today and transporting & piling the hay on top of the compost mound. Fergus & Simon the green wood worker worked on making another bespoke wooden rake for the job. The ones we had, had started to lose pegs here & there or had become half a rake and needed mending.

It is quite a skill to make a suitable rake - for ergonomics & for it to be effective for the job including length of handle and the width between each peg - I will have more technical details on this when I make one myself. A split is made at the bottom of the piece of wood carved as the handle, where it is attached to the rake head. A metal band is placed around the top of this split to prevent it from splitting further & unfavorably. We tested the rake as we worked and it was improved as we went.

Today was also my chance to drive a tractor with a trailer for the first time & it was thrilling! The tractor has a two gears so the usual 1, 2, 3 & reverse and a high & low range. It also has a lever at the side of the steering wheel that you can move up or down to adjust the speed (down increases and up decreases). The clutch has to be depressed when you change gears & the tractor has to be at a standstill for you to change them (you don't change it constantly like a car). When you stop you have to press down the clutch first and then the brake. The clutch is to the left of the steering wheel & the brake is on the right. You raise the clutch slowly when you are wanting to move away. When you stop and want to switch off the engine you pull out a button on the left, that has to be pushed in when you want to start the engine again. The ignition key is on the right and you only need to turn it lightly for the vehicle to come to life. Also when you are not using the brake & clutch you have to rest your feet above them.

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