Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sweat Equity Needed To Build Stands

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Ma Richey’s little boy Dave is not muscle bound but I’m not a wimp either. I spent a day doing a bunch of hard work needed before my neighbor and I built two elevated coops. Now, mind you, I’m 69, have slowed my pace just a bit, but my backside is dragging right now.

One spot was right where one of the four legs of my stand will be. That spot had a great huge rock so I dug it up two weeks ago. My task today was to hook a small utility trailer to my 4-wheel ATV and try to move the rock. I think the thing grew a bit and gained some weoght over the past two weeks.

The ATV and trailer pulled up next to it but the trailer was uphill from the rock so I began lifting and rolling it uphill. Now that’s a good time for a guy my age in 85-degree heat.

It would get almost to the trailer and begin rolling sideways. I’d get it cornered, and try it again. The rock was an awkward thing, and putting it into the trailer would mean lifting it three feet off the ground. Would I be able to do it alone? Could I? Did I want to try? The answer to all three questions was no, but the rock still had to be moved so we could drill the holes for the support posts.

My best-guess estimate was the rock weighed at least 150 pounds, and it may have weighed a bit more. The problem with most big rocks is they don’t make the silly things with handles. There’s nothing to grab hold of. The rock was pushed as close to the utility trailer as possible, and that called for a rest and some further contemplation on how this next step would go.

The hard part would be to get the rock started moving upward, and keep it coming for about three feet. That would get it to the edge of the trailer where I could balance the thing for a second before rolling it in. I hitched up my trousers, pulled my shirt-tail out, pulled on my leather work gloves, studied the situation for another few minutes, grabbed the rock and jerked up in one somewhat smooth lift, balanced it briefly and rolled it in. My back, legs, arms and shoulders hurt.

My wife had plans for that rock, and it was another case of rolling the thing into place. Her chosen spot was about four feet from the trailer, and I wasn’t going to lift that rock again. It eventually got rolled into place, and it was cause for another celebration (us old-timers call it a rest break). Five minutes later I was hooking the big trailer to the car hitch.

Off we headed for Menard’s for plywood, 2X4s, 4X4 10-foot posts, shingles, etc. Went to get the 30 2X4s and no one was around. I started helping myself, and had most of them loaded into the trailer by the time someone came by to help. That job was finished, and we went for the poles, shingles and eight bags of cement. I thought I was done lifting for the day.

Wrong! The trailer was parked next to my friend’s pole barn, and the weight in it dragged the tongue down. I couldn’t get the dolly wheel down far enough for it to lock in place so I could raise the tongue off the hitch. In and out of the car, moving it several feet at a time and trying again, and eventually the dolly wheel would hit the ground but not upright. I’m tired of messing with it.

Figurred if I could pick me up a 150-pound rock I could yank the dolly wheel back until it was upright. Out come the leather work gloves again, a deep breath, let it out and I fetched back on the dolly wheel and it clicked into place. The trailer tongue rose in the air, my lifting, pulling and yanking was done for one day.

It seems like a lot of work to get ready to put up an elevated hunting coop, but when all is said and done, and the coop is in place next week, I know I’ll enjoy hunting from it this fall. And when the north winds blow in the early winter, me and my little heater will be ready for a good hunt. A guy just has to grunt and invest in some sweat equity to get ready for the archery season.

Posted by Dave Richey on 08/05 at 04:46 PM
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