Today saw the first load hauled in the Big Red Dump Truck. Spring’s thaw is doing its annual brutal work on the farm. The driveways are shot. So yesterday I priced out 3/4″ Road Rock. Turns out that at $5.40/ton it is literally cheaper than dirt ($6/ton). Driving into a quarry is every bit as cool as it look in the movies, but having to climb up 6′ of ladder to talk to someone in a front loader (HUGE) is a bit unnerving. Interesting discoveries of the day. First – the BRDT is BIG. Empty weight is 7300#. Damn. That metal grain box must be heavy. That leaves only 4200#’s of legal weight left for bed payload. Second, 4200#’s of rock in the bed makes almost no difference to the truck. I am dead serious – you brake a little firmer, you accelerate a little harder, but thats it. Actually, the ride is BETTER. Even with it having only the “little” engine (350 V8) towing a tractor while loaded is no longer a concern.
Dumping the gravel and dragging it flat with the skid steer was simple enough; 4000#’s of stone is only about 2 cu yards. But it was still a good testosterone boost. I could all but hear Tim the Tool Man gruffly barking in the background.
The job today was small, it will take another 7-8 loads to finish this drive, but the quarry is on the way to the farm, so over the next several weeks I will load up and repair another 20′ of driveway. Given the negligible strain on the mechanicals I think mpg will not change overly much (we have yet to determine fuel economy – estimating 8-10). Much more importantly the BRDT proved itself to be one massively strong tool in the arsenal. That grain bed will hold 10 cu ft. and/or 4000# That means 4 large square bales of straw, 10 cu yrds of mulch, 3-5 yards of manure or soil or 8 yards of compost. It will not get used daily, nor even weekly. But it adds a level of capacity that simply did not exist before. Now I just need to a Get ‘r Done cap…
I believe in diversified farming. That applies to my crops and to my techniques, so it should be no surprise that my tools are eclectic too. After parking this monster I went in and shopped for heavy ditch blades for my Scythe to cut down the Pearl Millet that will then be mixed with manure gathered in this truck and composted using the Bobcat in conjunction with a manure spreader and will likely be spread with a hand pushed drop spreader. Old and new. Some will no doubt find issue with my use of Big Machines; the 8mpg of the BRDT *is* a serious issue. My solution? Tomorrow we fire up the Charles 803 ethanol still for the first time using 1.5 tons of waste sugar that someone in the group sourced from a factory.
Oh, hell yeah!
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