If you were in and around the Pacific Northwest (PNW) this winter you knew it was epic. 10-12 snow days for the schools, icemaggedon, closed roads, abandon cars and on and on and on….Many people ask “what happens to your compost in all this snow”. My usual answer is ‘the compost is the only thing that’s fine, it’s the people and equipment that suffer’. True, minus the outer 6″ our compost piles are typically happily humming along and breaking down into rich compost. But, everything else suffers in the winter and this year was a chart topper. As an homage to the winter that broke our spirits (and all of our equipment) here is a highlight of everything we ruined this past winter.
- Meltdown: 250 HP Caterpillar motor plus turbo completely gone.
Cause: missing 3 out of 4 gallons of oil
Fix: whole new engine (yikes)
- Meltdown: pump on water truck frozen. Pump shaft sheared off.
Cause: arctic conditions
Fix: try to thaw it out with a torch and melt all air hose lines rendering truck undriveable.
Fix part II: replace all air hoses with new air hoses. replace pump with new pump
- Meltdown: rear drive on 26,000 lb front end loader roasted
Cause: Cold and angry
Fix: All new drive line
- Meltdown: bagger machine switch gone rogue, stuck on, and dumps compost all over the place
Cause: frozen contactor and switch stuck on
Fix: pull contacter out, file down, replace
Cost: a little bit of time and frustration (not too bad, all-in-all)
- Meltdown: 5 compost turner flights mutilated
Cause: Christmas trees, rocks, and unwanted objects
Fix: Laborious flight replacement, and a set of full-time eagle eyes to spot potential flight destroyers
Cost: pulling hair out for days
- Meltdown: Street sweeper tire flies off
Cause: Mario Andretti (and a few loose nuts)
Fix: Quick trip to the tire shop; for the operator–a tandem ride along with our resident sweeping master, Duke, should do the trick
Cost: about $20 bucks and a few good laughs
- Meltdown: New pond aerators burned up
Cause: they hated winter
Fix: two new pond aerators
Cost: some under warranty plus $
- Meltdown: 3 out of 3 items ordered, damaged upon arrival (2 pumps, 1 compressor)
Cause: upset delivery drivers? slick roads? rolling off the truck?
Fix: warranty (thanks Grainger)