Category Archives: Backhoe

So Long

Backhoe Phase

So that was it; twenty, twenty five years on and off  running a machine . Every night coming home smelling of diesel and grease. (beer and G and T’s occasionally)

The closest I ever came to killing somebody was when I was clearing land for Hugh MacDonald. Sitting in the cab you have to keep track of onlookers. All that metal swinging around could make a real mess out of a person. The most common danger point was when I dug wells. People are drawn to the edge of the hole to watch the bucket do it’s work. More than once I had to gently nudge people away from the swing zone. One little twitch of the control and you could send a client into the next dimension. Bad for business. I was pushing a tree onto the burn pile. Hugh had gone out of sight. He was working by hand on the other side of the fire. The top of the tree came over the pile and gave him a mighty whack. Next thing I know there’s Hugh , covered in blood, crawling up the side of the machine trying to get my attention. When he got to emergency it was discovered he had a burst spleen. He came out alright, he lived. Phew!

Years ago I was doing a job for a private contractor burying a water pipe across the road. I had been running the backhoe for about 4 years. When the job was finished he looked at me with genuine sympathy and said “You’re kind of new at this job aren’t you?” Ego deflation. There’s an old saying ‘It takes seven years to learn a skill and two lifetimes to master it’. I kept that in mind as the backhoe years rolled on.

Recently I got to climb in the saddle again working on the new clinic.  I carried a camera again, this time a digital.

That’s it. No more backhoe stories. (Actually, lots more, but lets give it a rest).

Fourth Wind

Backhoe Days

A couple of guys (good owner,bad owner) had bought a backhoe and wanted me to run it. It’s hard to turn down a job so I entered into another relationship.

I did a few more years of work until the ‘good owner’ sold his half to the ‘bad owner’. The relationship soured. You can imagine how much I’d grown unfamiliar with subservience.

So…I moved on.

Backhoesaurus Extinct

Backhoe maze

It came back in good running order. However, it’s age was showing. The brakes were going and the bearings were getting mighty loose. It was as if being in the hands of those incompetent mechanics had broken it’s spirit. The business, too, had taken a terrible hit and, after a few more jobs Ted decided to get out of the backhoe business. He offered the machine to me at a good price but I told him that if he was getting out of the business, so was I. The machine went to Walter Schmidt on Denman.

I wasn’t out of the Backhoe world quite yet…