Now that the trees have been cut and some of the small timber has been thinned, its time to call in a stump grinder. A stump grinder is machine with carbide bits which cut the stump down to below ground level. No digging around the stump, no burning the stump, no pulling on the stump with a truck,,, nothing but a machine that turns a tree stump into chips.
Instead of buying a stump grinding machine that would rarely be used, I called a contractor that works by the hour. In 3 hours the contractor had ground 109 stumps.
There are a number of stump grinder designs on the market, some of them look like large tillers. The one the contractor used attached to the back of a tractor and was operated by the power take off (PTO).
Why are we having stumps ground? The stumps are in the way of driveway, chicken yard fence, chicken coop and where the shed is going. Instead of having to drive around the stumps, and waiting for them to rot, now the stumps are ground 6 – 8 inches below ground level.
After several weeks of having to manhandle debris while cleaning up the homestead, we finally got some heavy equipment on location. The tractor we were able to get was a Mahindra 4530 4-wheel drive with a grapple, bucket and brush hog.
The main goals for this weekend include – get the brush piled up, clean out the hole that had been used as a trash dump and clear out various small brush.
Piling Up Brush
A couple of weeks ago a buddy of mine, my son and I thinned out a bunch of small trees. Instead of pulling the trees to the burning pile like we did the day before, the trees were pulled into an opening so they could be pushed by a tractor.
While the loggers where cutting the timber, they left a rather large mess in a 2 acre field directly across from where the house is going.
Besides piling up the trees that had been thinned out a couple of weeks ago, the debris left by the loggers also need to be piled up. For one pile the operator of the Mahindra 4530 used the bucket to push the trees together. On the other pile, the bucket was replaced with a grapple. the trees were pushed, pulled, lifted,,, and whatever else it took to get the debris cleaned up.
The 4-wheel drive capability of the Mahindra 4530 tractor is what saved the day. Some of the tree trunks that had to bee moved would have stopped a 2-wheel drive tractor in its tracks. The grapple allowed the debris to be stacked, rather then just pushed together.
Saturday afternoon my dad and I made a trip to the camp to work on the tractor. As luck would have it, we needed a small hammer that was in a shed on the other side of the property. Dad gets in his truck to drive over and get the hammer. while dad was getting the hammer, I looked at the tractor and did some deep thinking about how dependent humans are on machines. Between the truck and the tractor, we have the foundations of modern society.
Without machines, we would not be able to plant tens of thousands of acres of land, would not be able to harvest corn or wheat, would not be able to transport livestock, would not be able to transport fertilizer to the farms, would not be able to transport crops to market, nor would we be able to drive to the market to buy the food.
Every part of our modern lifestyle is affected by machinery in one way or another.
Because machines are so vital to our modern lifestyle, I think we need to use the acronym World Without Machines (WWM) as often as we use SHTF, TEOTWAWKI, WROL (without rule or law),,, and so on.
Lets two examples and talk about them – tractors and trucks.
Working field with tractor and tiller
Tractors – While the plow may have fed Rome, the tractor feeds our modern society. Without the modern tractor (and fertilizer), it would be impossible to plant and grow enough crops to feed everyone.
Backyard gardeners use tillers to work small garden plots. Without fuel ,tillers are of little use.
In a World Without Machines people would either have to work the fields themselves, or harness a beast of burden, such as horse. But ether way, either by hand or with a plow horse, there is no way either can touch a tractor.
For maybe around the past 35 years my dad had kept some kind of tractor at the camp.
Let me explain, “the camp” is actually a small farm that my dad was raised on. After my grandfather and grandmother passed away, my dad inherited the land. To find work, mom and dad moved away from rural southeast Texas in the late 1970s.
Do you have a long term survival plan? We are not talking 3 days, or 3 weeks, or 3 months,,, how about 3 years? If there was a total break down of society, what would you do?
My plans are like a flow chart, with a bunch of “ifs” on it. If power, no power, if long term, if short term, if food runs out before life returns back to normal, when will the local community have support from the outside world, is the disaster local, nation wide or world wide. In all there are 4 major plans – A, B, C, & D.
Food plan A – First Tier:
The first level in your survival food preps are the frozen foods in your freezer and the foods that you have to keep cold. In the event of a power outage, these are the foods that should be cooked and eaten first.
The main course for the first week or so will be meat and anything else in the freezers. The time line for this depends on the generator. If the power goes out, gas = food. For every day we can keep the food in the freezer frozen, or cold, that is an extra day we get to eat out of it. One of my investments has been a 100 quart 5 day cooler. Storing some frozen good in these high quality ice chest could extend their freshness by 5 – days This is the deep freezer. It is full of deer meat, sausage, hamburger and ribs. Each package of ribs has 3 slabs in it. The white packages are full of deer mixed with beef hamburger. Notice the tub in the top right hand corner, we will discuss that in a little bit.
If the power goes out, and the food is spoiling before we can eat it – the plan is to have a massive bar-b-q and invite all our neighbors over. The smoker is used to make whatever into jerky. I like to think I have a way to cook without power. At this family reunion, I cooked enough for 100+ people at one time.
Food Plan B – Second Tier:
These are your storage foods – MREs, canned goods, dried beans and rice,,,, stuff like that.
Right now I have about 7 – 9 cases of MRE’s. Each person in the group should get a single case. This case is to be used for snacks and treats by that person. If we have more then 7 or 9 people, then the MRE’s will be divided up equally. The family unit is going to have to have group meals. No one should be allowed to cook their own meals or eat their meals on their own schedule. We eat at breakfast, dinner and supper. The MRE’s will fill in between those meals. Such as snacks or when the “munchies” set in.