Last year I bought a Takeuchi TL26 track loader. This machine was made in the 90’s and because it has tracks rather than wheels is ideal for grading or re-shaping the ground surface. It has 61hp, which makes it a mid-size loader and just right for my limited needs. In the article on the fading battery I mention some of the repairs I have made to it.
Since the temperature tomorrow is expected to be back in the 90’s and today we are only in the 80’s, I decided to cut a ramp down to the lower field. My tractor access to the lower field is blocked by the fences I installed for the chicken coop and I figured it would be cheaper to make a new road to the field than to purchase two 10 ft gates for access through the chicken free range.
I like thickets for the cover and food they provide to the wildlife. However, this morning it was necessary to cut a road through vegetation. The process took less than a couple hours. I placed the cutting edge of the loader’s tooth bucket a few inches below ground surface and ripped the bushes and small trees out of the ground. Once the roots were free I climbed out of the loader and manually pulled the branches out of the way and stacked them in a pile to be chipped at a later date. The roots will be stacked in a pile for slow decomposition and to be added to the compost heap.
Grading the hill i.e. cutting a ramp down to the lower field was more of a challenge. I work by myself and try to avoid situations where I get into trouble, though I always keep my cell phone at my side in case I have to call for help. So I proceeded with care filling the bucket of the loader with soil as I cut a decline into the ground and then advancing to the edge and dumping the contents down the hill. In this way I fashioned a road down the hill. Then it was a matter of leveling the ramp and removing some of the boulders embedded in the hill. My loader is 5ft wide and the tractor is 7ft wide (it has wide rear wheels which increase the width from 6ft to 7ft), so I widened the ramp a bit for future access by the tractor and pickup truck. After it has rained and the soil re-settled I will smooth out the ramp one more time with the loader and then bring the tractor down to bushog the field, chip the branches and small trees, and augur post holes for the new insulated coop I will be building towards the top of the field where it catches the winter sun.