Moving Dirt

 Posted by at 12:25 am  Nick's Blog
Mar 032023

What seems like never-ending rain has kept me from doing much work with my Kubota BX2680 tractor since we moved here, but we finally had a few rare days of sunshine that helped dry things out a bit. So the other day I loaded the tractor into the back of our fourteen-foot cargo trailer to take it to our son’s place to help him move a big pile of dirt in preparation for gardening season.

It was a tight fit, but with Terry guiding me I got it in, then used Tie Boss heavy duty tie downs to secure it to the D rings on the floor and walls of the trailer. These are a lot easier to use than traditional ratchet straps and can be used for all sorts of projects.

I knew just enough about operating a tractor to know that I had a lot to learn, and that was quickly reinforced when I got to Travis and Geli’s house. Even though I have read the operator’s manual twice and watched a lot of YouTube videos on my model of tractor, that’s a far cry from actually putting your hands on the machine and using it.

Either I had the bucket at the wrong angle and got too little dirt, or I moved the lever wrong and dumped what I had picked up as I was backing away from the pile, but after a while things got a bit easier. Not enough to impress anybody, but somewhat less frustrating.

I knew Travis was itching to get in the operator’s seat, so we switched off.

He was having the same problems I was at first, but then Geli, who is a born and bred Alabama country girl who has been driving tractors since she was a kid, gave us some advice and things started going easier. Travis was soon getting full bucketloads of dirt, and over a couple of hours we whittled the dirt pile down and got it moved to where they wanted it to be.

The ground was still pretty soft, and at one point I buried the front wheels and the back wheels were just spinning, even in four-wheel drive. But with the help of the bucket to raise the front end a bit and some back-and-forth rocking, I was able to get it out of the hole I had created. Then I used the bucket to fill in the ruts and the tractor’s back blade to smooth things out again.

I think Travis summed things up very well when he said, “This thing may be a tool, but it’s the most fun I’ve ever had using a tool!” When your tools are also toys, life is always fun. 😊

Of course, tractors are very versatile machines that can do any number of chores, so the next task was moving a bunch of concrete blocks from one side of their property to the other to be used as raised gardening beds. That sure beat carrying them one at a time or loading them in the back of the truck to haul them. And again, it was fun!

And we all know that it’s important to take care of our equipment, so when we were all done, Travis gave the tractor a bath before we put it back in the trailer for the trip home.

So does this mean we are now experienced tractor jockeys? Not on your life. But we did get the job done, and we learned a thing or two in the process. Now I need more nice days to do some more playing, I mean work, with this thing. But it won’t be today. We will be under a strong thunderstorm warning for much of the morning, with heavy rain, high winds, and the possibility of tornadoes coming through the area. It’s comforting to know that our tornado shelter is just steps from our side door. I just hope we don’t have to use it. I’m sure it won’t be nearly as much fun as the tractor.

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Thought For The Day – Ya can’t fix stupid.  Well, I can, but it’s gonna hurt.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  8 Responses to “Moving Dirt”

  1. You will find that operating the loader – boxblade will work mo’ betta when you take the bellymower off -(voice of experience)

  2. Glad you are learning the “Farmers’ Way”

  3. That tractor & accessories has to weigh at least 2000 pounds, you want the tie downs to hold it in place when things go wrong.
    I suspect that the 3/8″ line with a friction hold device is not going to do the job if you have to make a panic stop at 55mph.

    Just the math… 2000lbs tractor x 55 mph is = a LOT of foot pounds to hold in place for a rope that lists a 300lbs working load limit.

    Spend a full day moving that dirt pile back & forth (as practice) and I’ll bet you’ll be far more experienced with that tractor.

  4. Nick you should consider removing the belly mower when you are moving materials with the bucket. It will give you a lot more ground clearance and less chance of getting stuck. The box blade on the back is a good idea as it gives you ballast to hold down the rear wheels.
    Overall it looks like a job well done.

  5. We are both enjoying your blog Nick, it seems like you and Terry are becoming close friends even though we’ve only “known” you a few months. We can really relate. We have lived in the country (OH) and were full-time RV’ers for six years before settling back in OH last year since this is home to the kids and grandkids. We will still be snowbirds taking the motorhome out to our lot in AZ for the winters.
    Having been the owner of two compact utility tractors myself (Kubota and JD) I wanted to stress to make sure you understand the IMPORTANCE of keeping the loaded bucket as close to the ground as possible when traveling. It’s super-easy to tip the whole machine throwing you off when the bucket is loaded heavy and raised more than a couple feet off the ground ESPECIALLY as you turn those front wheels.
    Kathy’s just downloaded the first in your Big Lake series and enjoying that, I’ve not started yet. Take care.

  6. yes sir- – Practice/train, practice/train, practice/train & more training/practice provides a base for competency. Those of us who survived our military internships and/or played sports or play musical instruments know this, yes?

  7. Question from a non-tractor person — Do the wheels on the mower assembly swivel? Seems like when you drop the assembly, you would want the wheels to go sideways so you could roll it out of the way.

  8. Travis’s comment about a tool being a toy reminds of the first riding mower we bought when we live in Arkansas. I had so much fun that I would mow all the neighbors yards. Being Arkansas all the yards had plenty of rocks in them and our friends always told Sue that they knew when I was mowing because of the noise I made when I would hit a rock. Sure did go through blades that way.

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