Hello, Dolly!

The transition from fall to winter here is always hectic and I'm smack in the middle of it. Spring/Summer/Fall equipment has to get cleaned, serviced, and stored, and Winter equipment has to get taken out of our shelter -- a sort of temporary quonset hut fabric-covered garage that's been temporary for five years now -- and gassed up and gotten ready. Maine winters are not forgiving, and up here getting snowed in can spell disaster.

Inside the equipment shelter.

The pool got closed today; Ava was just staring out the window the whole time, dumbfounded. I thought she was going to start howling. Next Spring, if I can pull it off, I plan to make a half-size modular dock for the pool to teach them dock diving.

Pool is closed; the season is officially over.

In addition to the Mad Equipment Waltz, batteries have to get removed and put on chargers so they don't die over winter; tires have to be maintained and changed; countless parts and joints need to be cleaned and greased. And on. And on. I actually have to write out a To Do list each time and it's always long. The issue is that almost every single piece of equipment -- snowblower for the tractor, tracks for the Argo (an 8 wheeled ATV), etc. weighs several hundred pounds and I can't bench press like I used to. So everything is mounted on enormous dollies and placed on trailers equipped with winches. The trailers are then stored in the shelter, which has a very uneven dirt floor.

Worst floor for moving stuff around. Ever.

Of course, all this includes cleaning out the garage with a great deal of sweeping, followed by a pressure wash to the point of spotless. This way we can handle winter's fury much better than if it's a mess; once winter hits, we are entombed.

The mower deck, washed and cleaned.

Since the 6 foot mower deck for the Kubota tractor was new last Spring and weighs about 350 pounds, I had to make a dolly for it as well. It's all bolted superstrut with 8 inch treaded rubber casters.

The finished mower deck dolly.

This makes life easier; to load a dolly all I have to do is position the trailer, hook up the winch on the trailer, press a button, and watch it haul it up the trailer ramp.

The question you're probably asking yourself right about now is: "How does a 350lb mower deck get onto the dolly?"

Glad you asked:

This is how one old, cranky vet gets it done by himself.

The mower deck loaded on the dolly and ready to be serviced and then stored for winter.

I installed three manual hoists in the shelter, each with their own set of pulleys for storing lighter equipment overhead. The shelter is reaching its crowding threshold.

Three manual hoists installed in the shelter.

This should free up some floor space.

Look! Pulleys! Are you thrilled yet?

In several weeks everything will be done, and we will finally be ready for winter once again. I think this one's going to be early, brutal, and long-lasting.

Next week the Argo goes to New Hampshire for its pre-winter service and to get its tracks put on. After all, I have to get ready to prep this year's Belgian Winter Raceway, and I can't do that without the tracked Argo. It crushes any depth snow nicely and makes it possible for the dogs to run...and do they run! [If you don't know what I'm referring to, check out the drone footage of last winter's raceway.]

The trip to New Hampshire for getting the Argo winterized is about a full eight hours' round trip, so it's an all day gig. Tuli will stay at home with Patrice, but the rest of the pack will come; after all, the most important thing to a Belgian is being together.

I'll plan on snagging some footage and photos on the way; some of the scenery is beautiful.

Thanks for reading. -mn