I spent the day today on a tractor. I rent one every few years to re-grade our gravel driveway. Grass and weeds completely take it over if left ungraded for too long. I get a little better at the job each time I do it, and this time I think it looks better and is much more evenly graded than any previous time I’ve done it.
The tractor I rented is not an Oliver, as they have been out of production since the late 70s. I just had these pics in my collection of car photos as my friends the Markowskis in Vermont collect Olivers. My rental for today was a small Kubota B7800 and this is the view I had for several hours today:
Here is the whole tractor:
At the tail end is a box blade scraper, which is the main tool used in this job. This year I started the task by deploying the “teeth” at the front of the box. I set them at their lowest point and broke up the hardened bed under the gravel. After that was done I raised them up and finished the job.
All those years of watching Zambonis has paid off, as I’m able to run over the whole driveway, (which is HUGE by the way,) in smooth overlapping patterns. From 8:30 AM until about 1:30 PM I circled the property in set patterns. The end result is a nice clean even spread of the gravel, and the removal of all the vegetation trying its best to obscure the drive. It had gotten so thick in the front drive that people often mistook it for lawn and didn’t drive on it! The area under the tractor in the above photos was all grass and clovers a few hours ago. Now it is smoothly graded gravel. It is a tad dusty now, but one good rain (which is never too far off here in the Pacific Northwest) and that will be fixed.
The Kubota is a nice little tractor. The little 30 HP 4-cylinder Diesel has massive torque for it’s small size, and it only slipped a few times when the box was well loaded and I was climbing the steep parts of my driveway. Mostly I was able to raise the blade ever so slightly to lighten the load, while upping the throttle just a bit as I started to climb the slopes, and it would just keep chugging along. I really wish I actually owned a tractor. The house’s previous owner had one and I made him an offer to buy it, but he turned me down. Oh well. It costs me between $100 & $200 to rent this one for a day, including delivery and pickup. Since I really only NEED it once every other year or so it doesn’t make sense to buy one, but I know if I had one I’d use it more often. I’m just too cheap I guess.