Out on the swamp again

It was last year about this time that I put the skid steer through the ice on the swamp. Since that time, we got a new Caterpillar skid steer with rubber tracks. Today I went out on the ice again, although I stayed very near the edge. There's just too much beautiful firewood out there on the edge of the swamp to resist.

I didn't go through, but I came up with a new problem unique to the Cat.

The Cat has an enclosed cab with a swing door. If the bucket is raised at all, the door won't open. After I got out of the cab, shut the door and started sawing trees, the bucket, on its own accord--probably because it was sitting on a springy downed tree--rose up a few inches making it impossible for me to get into the cab again.

Time to get Dad.

We came up with a bunch of possible solutions, including jacking up the Cat, lifting it with another skid steer--methods we hoped would allow the bucket to lower enough to get the door open. It did not look possible to remove the door.

Then Dad spotted a little ring on the back window. It looked like an escape mechanism. We went up to the shop and got a long iron rod, which Dad bent into a hook at the end, and used it to reach in and pull the ring loose. The ring pulled the rubber seal around window out and allowed us to push the window out with a long two-by-two. It took awhile, but it was quite a bit easier than pulling a machine out after it fell through the ice.

Cutting wood at this time of year is even easier than doing it in the fall. The mushy swamp muck is frozen solid. The Cat floats over the snow. The wood saws nice. I got two full buckets full of ash. A nice day's accomplishment.