Thursday, September 27, 2012

Borrowed Buck, and A Snow Blower

Meet the scab. With Umbra's sperm on strike demanding more treats, and more girls, we, much like the NFL have had to turn to replacements. Hopefully with less disastrous results.

This is the as of yet, unnamed temporary replacement buck so we can get another litter before it gets too cold to safely breed. As you can tell, he's none too thrilled about the car ride he just experienced in these photos. By this morning he has started moving around and investigating, and over night he demolished that entire pile of hay you see in front of him. He is still jumpy around us, but he responds by going still rather than by running or any sort of aggression.  To us he looks like a fairly good buck. He looks meaty, fairly large, good coloration on his fur, healthy ears and strong legs. We know about the strong legs because he nearly kicked the door off the transport cage! The main thing I can see that might be a problem is his stress response, but we don't actually know anything about his temperament due to the fact that he is still settling in. We plan to breed him to the first of the ladies either tomorrow or Saturday depending on when he seems fully settled in. The Lady of the House kinda wants to keep him, but we will see what ends up happening. Michelle Chandler let us just take him to use then butcher out. That was my inclination but as with everything in a partnership there is always give and take so we will see if he stays or turns into stew. Mind you, we do have a stew recipe I am really looking forward to trying out which may be having some influence on my feelings on the subject.

Snow Blower
The other thing that happened today lengthened the day greatly bringing us up and moving around at 0530 instead of 0730. Took a good bit of running around to accomplish and some kindness, but we ended up being able to pay for the snow thrower that we are going to use to clear the driveway for the winter.

What we have purchased and are waiting on delivery of is the Ariens Deluxe 30 snow blower. Effectively it is a 30" wide machine that picks snow up and flings it 30 - 50 feet away. It is a large, heavy beast of a machine that is self powered for movement which is a good thing, because trying to move it in snow by might and main would turn me into popeye if I didn't herniate something first. Speaking of herniating something, let's just remember last winter, October pictured Below Right.

Snow Blower vs Snow Thrower

A snow blower is a two stage thing. The front spinning blade, called the Auger is for picking up the snow, and getting it into the chute. The chute has an impeller that flings the snow quite a distance. A snow thrower on the other hand, a much less expensive machine simply uses the force of the auger picking up the snow to throw it which means it can run out of room to put the snow quickly. The other distinction is that generally a snow blower is a much larger, heavier duty machine than a snow thrower.

We chose this particular model for a few reasons after some significant conversation with people who know a lot about clearing snow, especially up in our area. Some of our information came from the sales people given that they generally know the abilities of their machines. Sure, they want to make sales, but they do know how things work.

* Snow Blowers, and this model in particular can be adjusted to be off the ground enough to not suck up gravel, a major concern of everyone we talked to about using a snow blower or snow thrower.
* An in dash headlight. Ok, this may sound frivolous but think about it, if I'm going to be using a snow blower instead of hiring a plow truck fro $200 a storm I am going to be waking up 2+ hours early to do the clearing. That means it will be as dark as the inside of a well. A headlight will make my life easier and safer.
* A good warranty that will cover just about anything barring abject stupidity or lack of proper care on my part for 3 years.
* Being on sale for $400 off bringing it into our price range, if only barely and kind of.

So why did we end up going with this instead of a plow truck? Plow trucks cost a lot these days, prices have been rising on anything that will last more than a year. If I were a mechanic with a lot of experience and very handy, it might be a good option. I am not a mechanic, and while I am handy I don't have the time to learn the hard way right now, and I don't have the money to compensate if I screw up.

Why not hire someone to plow? Well, if you figure to plow our driveway $50 a pass is a reasonable price, in fact, below reasonable. Three passes per storm comes to $150 a storm or so. Ok, that's a little rough. What about the parts of the month where it's not a storm but it snows a few inches every few days, that's more passes. Even if we only end up with 6 storms over the winter which isn't unusual for our area that quickly adds up to about $1,200 which would really screw us up financially.

So in the end we bit into what we had to do, and went with the big snow blower. Time will tell if we were right or wrong, but at least we have the tools to face the oncoming winter this time instead of being entirely unprepared.

1 comment:

  1. My snowblower looks much like yours. It's huge, self-propelled (mostly) and does a very nice job.

    The buck's 'official' name is Dorado, though of course you're free to change that. That's what his tattoo says, though :)