Ethyn and I had an interesting time out at the farm. We started the day with joy that the driveway to the farmhouse was drivable for the first time since December.
Even though the snow is mostly gone and the top few inches of soil are saturated (mud), the soil is still very frozen.
We opened the farmhouse and fired up the propane heater. While it was busy warming the house, we measured the future location of the Rocket Mass Heater. Next, we walked down to the burn pile and located a couple (non-shot) barrels, which I measured for the Rocket Mass Heater project. We have two good candidates (barrels) for the heater. A little sanding and high temp. paint should clean them up nicely.
We then took the truck to the west field and deployed one of our trail-cams. We ended up walking the entire highland perimeter of the west 40. We flushed up two single grouse and a grouse covey (two birds). It looks like the grouse population is coming back in strong. That is a great sign.
Next, we drove to the north 40 (north of the farm house) to deploy the 2nd trail-cam. Ethyn and I found a great place to stage the Cuddeback Attack IR. It is at a point where two heavy deer trails cross. This is a new location for our trail-cams, so we are excited to see what crosses its path.
On the way back to the farmhouse we had to cross the stream in the valley behind the house. While crossing the stream, the tires broke an ice sheet they were on and prevented me from steering. The tires were riding on a thick sheet of ice that continued downstream – opposite of where I was steering. I applied the brakes and the truck slide into the ditch next to the crossing. I was fearful that the truck wouldn’t back out, but it did easily. All was well – so we thought. When we stopped at the farmhouse Ethyn said there was an air leak in the front right tire. Sure enough, I heard it leaking very fast. We quickly loaded up and secured the farmhouse. We made an attempt to get back to Merrill before the tire went flat. That ended up being futile. The tire went flat in 10 minutes.
We were able to get the spare tire (undersized) down from the back of the truck. However, the front tire would not disengage from the truck. I have 1.5” aluminum wheel spacers on all four wheels to push out the oversized tires I use on the truck – this prevents tire rub inside of the wheel wells. We beat on the tire with a log and it wouldn’t budge. Ethyn and I used our feet and tried to kick the wheel off, with no avail. We ended up calling a tow truck to get us back to town.
$200 tow bill later, we were able to get the tire off using a large tire iron.
The day wasn’t all bad. At least we hung up two trail-cams and were able to get the measurements for the Rocket Mass Heater.