This week has been a compilation of excitement, endurance, learning, work, and just plain exhaustion! We made our goal and in 7 days cleared 20 acres of cedar, roughly 3000+ cedar trees. We freed some beautiful oaks that were being suffocated.
I ask my wonderful-amazing-hardworking-clever-able to do any task you set before him-laughs in the face of something claiming to be to hard-tackle a project like no football player could ever imagine-make my dreams come true-husband, who had never driven a bulldozer before this project, to write down all the things he would have liked to know before he started.
This is his list. I think it’s awesome. Even if you never rent a dozer, you should read it. Just because.
These are in no particular order…
Things We Learned About Renting a Bulldozer:
1. Wear the seat belt! Bulldozers don’t have shocks.
2. After the tree is down, run over the branches to minimize pile sizes.
3. Try to stay moving forward. There are big blind spots
4. No tree is too big if you have root rippers.
5. Patience! You can’t indiscriminately run over stuff.
6. Sometimes it’ll seem like the trees are fighting back.
7. Get one with a brush grill on the blade.
8. A protective cage on the operators seat is a plus.
9. Don’t eat big meals before getting on one of these!!
10. Check and clear your tracks often.
11. No limbs or trees allowed atop the blade arm. If one gets behind
your blade, piece it off with a chain saw.
12. Approach all steep slopes at a right angle with the blade facing down hill.
13. Stop and size up groves of trees. Look for a way to work from the
inside or swipe the edges from the short side one tree at a time.
14. If you get frustrated, get off the machine for a few minutes. By
the fourth day, I was taking a short walk in the area I was working
about every hour or two.
15. If your tired, your concentration suffers and so will the quality
and safety you are trying to achieve.
16. How ever long you think the job will take, add 25% to that. I.E. 4
days will take 5.
17. Buy lots of tubes of grease. You’ll use at least 3/4 of a tube a day.
18. N-95 dust masks. Get the family pack!!! Bandana’s don’t work.
19. It’s not one bit like a video game, a mistake with one of these is
20. Ear plugs….. I said “EAR PLUGS!”
21. You’ll be rinsing dust out of places you didn’t know you had.
22. Consider how you are going to fuel this beast. A 55 gallon drum
and a siphon hose won’t cut it.The rental service might provide a
nurse trailer with it. A neighboring rancher with a pickup mounted
diesel tank may be willing to help you out.
23. When they drop it off, there are no stupid questions.
24. Either have on hand or know what fluids to get and where to get them.
25. Read the instructions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
26. Blow out the air filter every day.
27. Use the check list for the morning prep every time.
28. Even bulldozers have their limits.
29. If you’re not used to these machines, rest every few days. You’ll
know when you’ve reached your limit. Trade off with someone or budget
for those rest days.
30. Be sure to clarify everything in your lease agreement. Surprise
charges are typical when you’re not familiar with how these companies
are sometimes run or required to operate.
31. Get the “optional” insurance.