email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Sunday, September 20, 2015

It Worked!

Yesterday I mentioned having a neat idea for an easier way to level the 3,500 square feet of rototilled soil in the backyard.

Well, my first idea was to use a rake, but not in the usual way.  I have a 24 inch wide "leveling rake".  Meaning that the non-toothed side has a strong straight metal edge.
My idea was to tie it "upside down" behind the riding lawn mower and drag it around to drag dirt into the furrows.  And maybe put a cinder block on the top to dig in a bit.  But even at 2' wide, that would take all day and only scrape about 1/2"!  What I needed was a BIGGER RAKE.  I didn't have one...  But then I thought about dragging a heavy 4' wide board behind the mower.  I tried that by hand and it just slid over the top of the soil.


What I needed was an edge for the board at a 90 degree angle.  Another board would just slide too.  A sharper edge was needed.  Think, think, think...

AHA!  I had some 1/4" aluminum strips left over from making floors for my jon boat years ago (I keep stuff).  Well one piece was 4"x4'!  I drilled some holes in the aluminum plate and screwed it to the 4'x2" board.  That left a 2.5" scraper lip under the board.

I tied the contraption to the back of the mower so that it would drag 3' behind the mower  and prepared to try out my creation.  And the mower battery was dead!


I carried a boat battery out to the shed to jumpstart the mower and IT was dead.  So I charged up a portable battery jumper (not this brand but same design).
And THAT wouldn't charge!  I finally took the battery out of the mower, took it in the basement and attached it to a regular car battery charger.  Being a small battery, it charged in an hour (enough to start the mower, anyway).

So I started dragging my home-made soil-grader around the furrowed soil.


In only 1 hour, I had the entire 3,500 square feet leveled.  I went north-south once, east-west once, and diagonally once.  Then I went around just for fun looking for high spots...

The dust was horrible though.  The soil WAS 5' below ground before the ridge was removed.  I was surprised at how utterly dry it was.  Fortunately, there was a slight breeze and I figured out how to stay mostly upwind.  Not always, of course; I did cough a lot.

Obviously, I needed several beers to wash the dust out while I stood on the deck admiring the level soil...

This was longer than I expected, so "tommorrow"...

1 comment:

Megan said...

Well done. But I would dispute your claim that it took "only" 1 hour. I think you have to factor all the time spent planning, building the 'rake' and charging up the batteries etc into the project time - and only then can you compare the time taken to achieve the outcome using this solution with what you would have taken had you done it by hand. LOL

Sydney, Australia