Ah, What a Beautiful Fall Morning...

Wait, what’s that I hear? Birds chirping? Dry leaves rustling in the gentle breeze?

Nope... that’s a turbo diesel. A CAT 525 Skidder, just lolling its 39,000 lbs through the yard. I allowed them access across our property to clean up some downed trees (and evidently to cut some more) on our neighbors’ properties. The road they made is pretty substantial, but the visible impact is actually minimal to us. You can’t even see the skidder going by from inside, unless the boom is all the way up. The road is a big cut, some of which will be filled back in, but hey, it was a prohibitively steep side hill before, maybe we can make use of the new flat area.

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It’s a little harsh right now, but it’s nothing compared to the damage everywhere else they go. This is next door:

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They’re also cutting a few trees for us, and as tempting as it is to have them do more (for free!) I just... can’t. The guy running the cutting machine is a nice guy. No doubt, they all are well-intended. But you know, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, as they say. I just can’t risk them going a little farther than I intended and suddenly irreparable damage has been done to the view that I’ve carefully maintained over the last 11 years. I may regret not having them do more, when I’m down there for hours fighting with 8 trees, but I’d rather that than regret letting them go in and cut too much.

Back to the skidder, though. I was curious about its drivetrain, so I looked it up.

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Mind you, the chart above isn’t for this machine, it’s a general page with info on the engine. In the skidder literature, it says it’s making just 196hp. But who cares, it’s that torque and the gearing that matters. It’s got a 5-speed transmission and of course locking diffs. Still, I watched it struggle yesterday to get up from our property to our neighbors’ out of a gully - he couldn’t do it, and had to retreat to get the excavator. It does have limits, and gravity’s a bitch when trying to get up a muddy side-hill in such a heavy machine (or anything on wheels, for that matter). This is partly why I let them bench-cut a road into our hill, so the damage is limited to the area cleared for that purpose. They also went across an existing clearing, so hey, less weed-whacking for me? I’ll throw some field seed in there and keep it mowed in the future.

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And as the forest thins, the plot thickens. All along we thought we’d soon have a new neighbor next door, but now we’re hearing they might not build after all. If that land came up for sale, I think we’d have to buy it and solidify our “last house on the road” status. I’d be torn about it because I would have rather bought it before 1/2 of it was totally clearcut to the property lines, but I guess we’d then have a nice big open space we could use? Maybe a solar array? A barn? Build a house there and sell ours? Who knows. I think we’d really regret missing the opportunity to buy it, though, so we’re preparing ourselves and our wallets.

This wouldn’t be a terrible place to hang out:

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