Sunday, 23 March 2014

Home Made Smallholding Dumper Trailer. ("I love it when a plan comes together.")

My brother bought a secondhand small compact tractor last week.  He decided that the wanted a trailer for it.  We looked on the web for trailers and they were either plastic or three hundred Euro plus.  Number one son decided he could make a far stronger one out of scrap metal for less than Fifty Euros.  I had the scrap steel and it only cost us 25 Euro for a few grinder discs and some welding rods.
Number one son duly tested it by filling it with the mechanical digger buckets of 2 inch stone.  Once again he had made something far too strong and it took 3 of us to lift the dumper tipper.  I wish I'd had got it when I use to muck out the cattle when he had the loose house system.  Now we have a slatted tank and it's such a doddle.  The tractor brings in the silage bale.  I cut off the black plastic and netting and pike it in front of the head-feeder.  Next month I will pay my neighbour to agitate the dung and suck it up into his slurry tanker and then he will empty it on our silage fields.  Lots of good fertilizer and country smells and  hopefully lots of good strong grass for hay for silage.

Number one son rang his tractor mechanic friend this morning.  He wants a tail lift or an hydraulic ram to fit on to the dumper trailer.  Tractor mechanic friend told him to ring back tonight.  He thinks he's got just the thing.  Perhaps they should be the new A Team (hay team, get it!) and to quote John 'Hannibal' Smith:

"I love it when a plan comes together."

Have you made anything for your smallholding or allotment for next to nothing?  I once saw an allotment corrugated shed roof held down with old stones and lumps of concrete.   The mind boggles.


  1. Forgot to say we got the axle and wheels from an old scrap car for free. Number one son cut it down and welded it together to make a bespoke compact tractor trailer.

  2. Once again, a very talented young man, it looks good, and better over-designed to last than too flimsy to be up to the job, as long as he gets the hydraulic ram working OK to lift it.

    Just called to see No 2 son at his place of work, he's waiting for low-loader to arrive to replace some hydraulic hoses, it arrived while I was there, a 500hp Scania with 40' trailer used to move the big earth-moving machines about. Closest I've been to one of these monsters, they're huge. There's 2 hoses leaking, the ones that make the rear ramps move up and down, He examined it for about 5 seconds, explained what needed done, then goes and returns with an armful of tools and cheerfully starts to dismantle the offending things, all whilst conversing intelligently with the driver. I didn't realise how much he knew or could do, never ceases to amaze.

    Slurry spreading just got easier, better than the good old days mucking out with a fork into the muck spreader, the ones with the revolving tines at the back that threw clumps of the stuff in a high arc behind it. There always seemed to be bits of baler twine buried, it never seemed to rot and didn't want to break either. Watched a slurry spreader working, he didn't even go into the field, just drove along the verge with a fountain of the good stuff spraying across the grass, a fearsome piece of equipment.
    Suppose we've all heard about the farmer who had a disagreement with his local Council, so he sprayed the Town Hall with a tanker of slurry. Can't remember how much he got fined, but I'd have loved to see the expression on their faces, didn't hear how many windows were open at the time.

    Another dull day, raining after a dry start, looks to be set in as well.

    Raggy cat asleep in its current favoured place, a creature of habit, but keeps changing its favourite sleeping place.

  3. Hi Cumbrian, Been having gremlin problems with the blog dashboard. White blank squares yesterday and a foriegn language today. Somebody or something changed the language. So I didn't (couldn't) reply until I found out how to change the language back to English (UK) again.

    Any road. Yes the dumper trailer is great. We used it yesterday to move a rail and some concrete to replace a wooden gate post. The wind seems to have done an excellent job in ripping down the fence posts. Don't think it helps that everybody places their fence on top of the ditch.

    Hydraulic hoses have revolutionized mechanical engineering. The hydraulic ram replaced the agricultural and civil engineering labourer. Your son sounds like he know his stuff.

    The old ways of muck spreading was hard more efficient in building up the soil structure and creating an habitat for the worms and anearobic bacteria. Most farmers find it difficult to plough these days because there is no real depth of soil. We just got a field rotovated because we didn't want somebody to plough it and bring the clay (blue till) up. It's still too cold to set it with hay seed.

    I heard of a tourist in West Cork who had an holiday home here. He asked the farmer if he would put out the slurry when he wan't on holiday. I think the farmer duly spread it the same day in the field next to the tourists house.

    I heard about the farmer and his disagreement with the council.

    Dry today. Hoping to get the cattle out by day over next few days. Will have to order some Urea fertilizer. It's gone up to 20 Euros a bag.

    Domino caught a mouse yesterday. It managed to escape when he was distracted by us talking to him.


  4. Yes, the weekend or part-time locals, there was one in the village, small row of terraced cottages, probably farm-workers dwellings in years gone by, on a short cul-de-sac road / lane with the farm on it. Milkers were brought in twice a day for milking and left the inevitable occasional cow-pat, usually quite loose as they were on grass, and spread out as they were walking slowly. Mr occasional local requested that the farmer in future prevented the cows from leaving their calling cards in front of his property. I didn't hear the farmers reply, probably delivered in a strong Cumbrian accent and probably incomprehensible except to another local, but the cottage was on the market shortly after.

    Ditches and fences don't usually mix, there isn't any locally, the ditches are all beside hedges (dykes) usually fairly ancient and wild-life havens. Dunno who actually owns the ditch, but the guy with it on his side usually gets it to clean out when it silts up. The reasoning was that the boundary was the ditch, the argument being that the man dug the ditch and threw the spoil back onto his own land. Fences don't tend to last long, they're usually temporary or inside a hedge to keep stock from breaking through, the hedges are flailed from the top not laid, so they develope sheep-sized gaps at the bottom. Dry stone walling is prevalent, good barriers but a lot of them are in disrepair now, nobody seems to have the time, inclination or skill to repair them properly.

    Not a bad morning, sunny with white clouds, breezy and still too cold, wind's in the East, but warm out of the wind. Birds are very busy. Lots of lambs in the fields, mostly twins from what I've sen, they look well.
    Grass is growing too bloody well, it's still too wet to cut though.

    Raggy cat hasn't brought a mouse for a few days, but we've had a couple, both dead. Currently asleep on the bed with Mrs.

  5. Yes Cumbrian. There is often conflict with country dwellers and people who own holiday homes in the countryside. I think they get on better when they employ the rural local to do a few jobs for them or buy them a pint if they are lucky enough to have a pub near them.

    It's all ditches and dykes here. They often call a boundary (probably made of stones and earth) with a fence on top of it the 'ditch'. I always thought a ditch was something that carried water. The Irish call an 'airing cupboard' an 'hot press' and refer to "going for the messages' (you know this one) to describe doing a bit of shopping. It fascinates me all the regional differences and words for things.

    Dry stone wall is a skill on it's own with it's 'runners and throughers and 'bucks and does' to refer all the different pieces of stone. I read a John Seymour book recently and he said that the dry stone walls on the fells were brought down not up with sledges and horses. I think the Ice Age deposited quite a few boulders also.

    Got 6 of the bigger cattle out this aftenoon. Jumping and dancing about like it's Christmas.

    Raggy cat and Domino earn their keep. Haven't seen a single rat this winter - thankfully. Thanks for your comment, Cumbrian.


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