Farm Industry News Blog

The ultimate honey-do list

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Jeff Ryan takes readers through another adventure on his Iowa farm as he embarks on a mission to find a good place to extract honey.


This shed was basically a large bale of hay. It needed to be moved and it needed to involve the least amount of effort and expense possible. If I can get several hundred packages of forage transported with, let's say, minimal collateral damage, how tough could one dinky shed be?

The plan was hatched and execution was begun. I opted to take the Ranch Hand with a gooseneck flatbed trailer with me to the other side of rural Cresco. We'd take the shed owner's skid loader and simply lift the shed onto my trailer. I'd drive it home and set it off here. Pretty simple.

The Ranch Hand and trailer were backed into position. The skid loader was positioned on one side of the building to raise it so the Ranch Hand and trailer could be backed underneath. That's when physics caught up with us. Lifting from one side of the building pretty much raised the building up on one side and caused the opposite side to go down. Even with a couple of us pushing as counterweight, we weren't lifting it up so much as we were tipping it over!

More hands make the work easier, right? If one loader is good, two have to be much better. Why not go home and bring a tractor and loader with pallet forks over to lift from the opposite side? We'd get a machine on each side and gently elevate that puppy skyward. Back the trailer under it, hit the Rewind button again and then it would be time to hit the road.

I got home and retrieved my loader tractor and put the pallet forks on it. On my way back to the crime scene, one of my potential haulers finally called me. He had just the ticket for me. It was a trailer that he uses to deliver buildings for a lumberyard. Perfect solution for me, he felt. Not elaborate at all, but effective. I could swing in and take a look at it, seeing as how I was two blocks past it at the moment he called.

His "trailer" was an I-beam with a ball hitch on one end and a set of wheels at the other end. In the middle of the 30-foot-long I-beam were two pieces of strap iron welded perpendicular to the beam. They were maybe five or six feet long. The shed would be gently lifted onto the strap irons and then transported to the destination.

Lots of things ran through my mind as I stopped and looked at the trailer. Words like "stark," "minimalist," "bare-bones," and "cobbled" kept coming up. They were part of a scene in my head that involved my new shed rolling off into a ditch somewhere on the way home. I decided to stick with my current plan.            

Two heads are better than one. Two loaders are more impressive and effective than one, too. We managed to get our machines positioned and lifted the building off the ground with no problem. I backed the Ranch Hand and trailer underneath and we gently set the shed down onto its new mobile location.

Then came the fun part. There are laws of gravity and everything, but you can't forget the corollaries and amendments about momentum. Yeah, that shed looks really solid sitting on top of the trailer, but it's not a straight shot from where I was at the moment to my yard. There would be stops. There would be hills. There would be turns.

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The Farm Industry News Blog features commentary from Willie Vogt, Daryl Bridenbaugh and Jeff Ryan.

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