Monday, March 1, 2010

A man on a mission

While in Oregon we discovered that a neighbor had a 1981 Kubota, orchard tractor, 4WD, diesel tucked back in his garage. Art's eyes lit up. A TOY! Just what we needed in Belize. if we'd had any idea of the trouble we were inviting, we'd probably have let our little orange friend continue to languish under her tarp. A big attraction was that Dennis is a tinkerer and had gone thru her, fixing and improving. Irresistible.

My stupid contribution came from remembering my brother tell of owning a similar tractor with a flail, which he used to maintain their small acreage. Our quest began. It took a couple of months of searching to finally find a derelict 5' flail buried in a used machinery lot. It was rusty, the pulleys bent and it seemed to weigh a ton. With a huge struggle, we managed to get it home.

Next was getting it to Belize. We managed to get both onto the load with Roy. Now, we were on our way, almost. When it came time to load the container, we found that our detailed sales receipt wasn't sufficient. US Customs demanded a notarized bill of sale for the tractor. Not sure where we would have been if we hadn't bo't from a friend. We had a lot of mail dashing back & forth & in the end Roy had to remove the kubota from the container. We finally managed to get all the paperwork for customs. When the container arrived with our stuff, we got it sorted out and about 6 weeks later our tractor made it. This meant a special trip to Belize City, additional duty and luckily the tractor fit into the back of the truck. We finally got her home.

With so much to do, the tractor and flail languished under the house until recently. Art went thru the tractor and with difficulty, got it running again. All it's fluids had been drained. Once again, our friend, Robin, came to our aid with the flail. He bro't his welder and straightened and repaired the flail. With no instructions, it was a struggle, but Art finally figured it out. What a challenge.

In case you're like me, until I saw one, I wasn't sure what a flail was, or how it worked. It fits on the PTO & is a horizontal shaft with 96 knives hanging from chains. These rotate and cut grass or weeds. If it encounters rocks or stumps the knives bounce over and are unhurt. Another advantage to this is, that it doesn't throw debris to the sides like a rotary cutter, altho' it does throw things behind it. We've tried it on a portion of our newly chopped bush and it worked like a champ! We're crossing our fingers that it works as hoped to allow us to keep the bush at bay. Whatever, Art is having a ball.

1 comment:

Wilma said...

Another very interesting post! It seems to me that the things we take for granted in the US, like little tractors, become imbued with character as we coax them into Belize and then into working order. Even though nothing is ever as simple as it should be, everything has more meaning. It does take an awful lot of patience, though!