Hubris has a 12,000# GVWR

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!


12 Responses

  1. That’s fantastic. Best of luck scaling up, and congrats on finding so much sugar.

    Do you think you could get a compost heap up to 175 F? That would be a fun way to power the distillation column, if so. At any rate, it might be a good pre-heater for the mash.

    Forgive me if you’ve mentioned this already, but do you plan to do the last stages of drying using starch or glycerine?

  2. Thanks Joel. Can I? I don’t know. 155 is my current record and have never thought to go much beyond that due to the near total annihilation of the beneficial fungus and bacteria. Not sure this would work anyhow. To transfer enough btu’s to move hundreds of gallons of water from 80 degrees to 180 degrees you need something that is REALLY hot – like the flame from a syngas or methane burner, a wood fire, or an alcohol burner. It would take days to move the fermented wort to 180 without some serious heat exchangers and you would need a pile the size of Jean Pains – at 175 – to do it.

    That said, holding the temperature of the wort at 80 degrees seems very feasible for a bio-heat system.

  3. You mean “Hubris has a 12,000# GRRRRR”.

  4. When even Science magazine is worried about food, we might all need to sit up and pay attention:

    • It is rather concerning how much is getting mainstreamed now. Concerning like seeing a single cockroach on the kitchen floor and knowing their are thousands more in the walls…

  5. Cool! I vote you call the truck BART (big a$$ Red Truck)

    • OMG that is hilarious. Current front runners are Clifford (the Big Red Dump Truck) and something with a Centaur theme (its big, strong as hell, can carry alot, and drinks like a fish)

      • You could call it “Charon,” but everyone would probably mis-spell it as “Sharon.”

  6. Rob-
    I’ve been following your blog for a few months now. I think you’ve hit on a great way to get into farming, not to mention your head-on exploration of sustainability. I’ve started my own blog about small scale ag. If you have time, I’d be really interested in your reaction to my latest post. Thanks for doing what you’re doing!

  7. Bad form to jump in and not read everything that has gone on here in the last couple of months. Little surprised you didn’t post the Sir David King story about oil reserves being overstated by 30% (which you knew already) and that at the current burn rate it’s all gone in 28 years. Not peaked in 28 all gone. Crack me up really, where have all these twits been for the past 10 years.

    The reason I’m writing is that I received an e-mail a few days ago from someone I had written to almost 1/2 a year ago about working together on the compost heat stuff. Check this out:

    I have breezed through the info on compost heating and low cost wind energy, and I’m really impressed. A physicist, and he’s figuring stuff out, in amazing ways.

    Need to dig deeper, but right now now we are 300-500 trees and perennials/week for the next couple of weeks.


    Best hopes


    • Hey Ed,

      That link is very interesting -especially his Version 2. But I am perplexed why he is using air as the heat transfer mechanism. Water would be loads better I think. Also think he should spend more time on how the heckfire a suburban home owner is going to move a 16,000# bin in and out of a shed. We are toying with some variations for heating the greenhouse that share some similarities, and I like his air tight w/ blower. But mine is gonna have a door to fill it rather than the whole dang bin being slid out. Imagine the static friction on that beast! Prolly put it on rollers on steel pipe at the least or find some train rail.

      In the greenhouse we would be mostly interested in the hot CO2 rich exhaust air from the aerobic blowers and using the “Waste” heat from the composting to warm methane digestion and aquaponics.


  8. […] plot) for my own little Chapter 12 experiment.   This week I will get another 20 yards of chips in BART (it will take about 90 yards to fill all the swales!!)  And this afternoon the farm owner and I […]

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