Kubota B7510 in winter
February 12, 2017
Over the last week I’ve been up to my elbows in barn demolition, a massive, high-budget job. The excavator arrived Tuesday and worked until mid-morning Friday. The knoll below the barn foundation is now festooned with hewn 35′ ash timbers on display for buyers.
The rest sits in massive piles: crumpled metal shingles, hay and broken wood, barn boards, choice hardwood accumulated over 40 years, roofing boards, rafters, feeding racks, old hay, and so on.
My immediate job was to rescue as much of the hardwood as I could in the face of the onslaught of the excavator. Of course everything was icy, and my landing area was uphill from the work site. My two 35 hp tractors have implements on them and couldn’t tow. The ancient trailer-hauler, the Massey-Harris 30, wouldn’t spark.
In desperation I pressed the little Kubota into service. It starts very well in winter. Its 4WD system with turf tires grips surprisingly well on icy snow. With trailer-loads of lumber it needed low range to climb the hill, but balked only on one occasion with an overloaded 6X11 tandem. Turned out the Massey Ferguson 35, even with the help of sand, couldn’t get the load up the hill, either. I had to use the winch.
The icy surface the 21 hp Kubota had worked on routinely was more than a conventional 2WD tractor could handle. The short wheelbase of the B7510 and its hydraulic drive made complex manoeuvres much easier in the frigid north wind around the lumber piles. With assorted lengths on every load, I’d move the trailer between piles, leaving the little diesel to idle while I worked.
With an excavator on site it’s easy to maintain a rubbish fire: just start it up, reach over to a pile, grab a bucketful with the thumb, drop it on the fire. It’s a lot more work to do the same thing with a pair of gloves and a pitchfork. I’m reluctant to risk one of the loader tractors on the barn-floor burn area for fear of damage to the calcium-loaded rear tires. The Kubota’s non-loaded tires would be much easier to repair, if punctured. If I mounted the winch on it, I’d have pulling power, as well as a very rugged 5′ blade on the back. This seems a brutal job for the lawn mower, but one fall the little Bolens pulled a lot of cordwood out to the logging road. It couldn’t tow a log, but it would sit crossways on the road and winch with the p.t.o. quite effectively.