Tales about Aviation, Coaching, Farming, Software Development

Jeep as Logging Tool

Our work to build an access road to the farm is well underway. As we’ve contracted local workers for this we visit each weekend and maintain contact every few days. Of course it would be easier, if we were living in the area. Unfortunately it takes 3 hours to drive the 320 km from our current home to the farm.

This time we encountered a new problem on our way to the end of the road where we wanted to put the Jeep to good use a logging tool.

All the leaves from the past weeding and tree felling activity had dried and that created a loose cover on the road. In our first attempt going slow we could not climb that section. It’s not that steep but without traction … No chance. So we changed the trasmission setting from 4L to 4H and tried it with some speed. We got up a bit further but hit another spot with those loose cover of dry leaves and got stuck there again. While backing up we hit this tree stump you can see in the picture with the trailer hitch. Now we had an issue. :-)

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We cleared the area to the right with machetes so that we see what kind of ground we have there. With slow back and forth movement we managed to turn around and return to the base of the slop for another try. Before that we removed all the leaves from the path with some sticks.

After all in all two hours we managed to get up the hill. This is definitely a section that needs some work. We learned there is a bulldozer - it’s a Caterpillar D6H - in the area that is scheduled to perform some work in the forest close to our road. Maybe we can buy a few hours machine time and have it level a few sections and remove stumps for us.

We arrived near the end of our road where a big tree was blocking the path. Our task was to cut a well sized section and move it out of the way. The tree is a margo amargo and makes good construction wood. The wood has bitter taste and therefore termites and other wood eating insects don’t like it.

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We put that chain which served us well before with another log under it.

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Then two cuts on each side were made.

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And finally the Jeep pulled … but the chain broke.

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The log is so thick that we should be able to cut four 8x8 posts from its heartwood.

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Without the chain the only solution to get the log moved was to wrap the steel cable around it. That got the log a bit further out of the way but the cable broke as well. That cable was meant to tow a car. I’m not so sure about the quality of these products. Here in Panama all the hardware stores are owned by Chinese families and of course they import most of their products from China as many people seek solutions for little money. Looks we need to look for higher quality tools. We had the same issue with Chinese parts for the Jeep.

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To finish the task Luis and Gregorio took thick sticks and with human power the log moved.

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We now have about 80% of that section of the road cleared. There are some challenges but while it doesn’t rain (we are in the dry season for a few more months) it will be good enough. Once we can drive all the way down to the river crossing we can start processing the wood with our chainsaw mill and move the product to the other side where we intent to build the horse stable.

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