Author Topic: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)  (Read 21023 times)

John Kokas

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Re: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)
« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2013, 11:32:38 PM »
Years ago my daughter and I raised Rhode Island Red chicks as part of a girl scout project.  Although we did not end up eating the chickens we did enjoy the wonderful fresh eggs for years.  After that, it was hard to go back to store bought eggs.  But for baking, the best is actually duck eggs.  We also had two pet female mallards and their eggs were wonderful !!!!  I still have my chicken coop out back - maybe its time to restock....
Moxie Bootlegger

Paul Bennett

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Re: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)
« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2013, 09:44:36 AM »
Wow! Seems like there is a lot of interest in poultry among members of this group!

I didn't want to delve too deep into the subject of poultry, given this is a railroad forum, but since there seems to be enough interest, I'll provide a little more info:

At Downeast Thunder Farm & Railroad, we raise more than meat chickens. We also have two flocks of egg layer chickens. One is a combination of Buff Orpingtons and Plymouth Barred Rocks (full sized chickens that lay very large brown eggs), and a flock of Bantam Americaunas (also called "Easter Egg Chickens). They lay small blue-green eggs. The egg layer chickens can be used for meat (and eventually will be when they get older and stop laying), but they are much smaller than the meat chicken breeds we raise.

We also raise White Pekin Ducks. This is a traditional meat-duck breed, but we raise them only for egg production. They eat twice the food as the egg layer chickens and produce only about a third of the number of eggs the chickens produce. That makes the duck eggs more expensive, but we do have a market for them (plus we enjoy eating them ourselves).

Later in the season, we will raise a couple of breeds of meat turkeys. They take about 16 weeks from hatching to market weight, so we typically start raising them sometime in June in order to have them ready for processing (we process our birds right on site here at our farm) by Thanksgiving (where we experience our biggest demand for fresh turkeys).

We are planing on running some classes later this summer on raising egg layer chickens and also classes on raising and processing meat chickens. There will be announcement about this on our Downeast Thunder Railroad web site http://www.downeastthunder.com and my wife's farm blog site http://www.downeastthundrfarm.com when we have some dates firmed up.

Our railroad will eventually have a stop at our poultry area where you can interact with and feed the chickens (we allow them to free-range during the day). Have you hugged your chicken today? We have a few chickens that love attention. The railroad will also feature stops at a livestock petting zoo, the "sugar shack" (during maple syrup making season), the choose-your-own live Christmas tree area, Pick-your-own apples area, and so forth.

Progress is a bit slow this time of year, but we do accomplish at least something each & every day. You can't fight the calender and warmer weather is close ahead. It won't be long before our work on the railroad (and farm) will be ramped up. I'm getting quite enthused at the prospect of what lies ahead!

Paul B.
Milbridge, Maine

Richard "Steam" Symmes

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Re: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)
« Reply #32 on: March 04, 2013, 12:25:52 PM »
I have trouble with "processing" chickens or other animals. That's a nice tidy word.

No, I'm not a vegetarian, but I don't relish the idea of processing any living creature, and could not bring myself to "process" anything.  I guess that would make me a defacto vegetarian by circumstance.

To each his own, I guess. 

Richard

Paul Bennett

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Re: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)
« Reply #33 on: March 04, 2013, 02:47:39 PM »
Richard,

Your point is well taken and what you had to say is very true. If you enjoy eating meat of any kind, slaughtering & butchering (or "processing" - the nice way to say it) is indeed necessary.

I never feel very good about taking the lives of creatures we raise for food. That's the downside of the whole affair, however since I know how the big production farms raise their chickens, beef, pork, and so forth, and I also know how they are "processed," I know the methods we use are more humane and our livestock are well taken care of during their time with us.

For folks that enjoy eating meat products and order from us; they know we take great care with our livestock, raising hem in a clean and healthy environment. We never use steroids, antibiotics, or other chemicals to enhance growth, or to allow animals to be crowded together in confinement. We just won't do that. I always feel bad after processing sessions though, but that's part of food production and someone has to do it.

I'm now way off subject here. I only wished to offer a little more insight about raising different types of poultry since there was interest among members of the forum. For or against Richard, if you enjoy any kind of meat products at all, it's good to know where your food comes from. Tofu (soybean curd) along with nuts, legumes, fresh veggies, and fruits make a reasonable alternative as a food source for many folks. I'm not one of them though. Come Thanksgiving, I expect to see a big roasted turkey with all the fixin's sitting on the table (with copious amounts of giblet gravy). Nothing else will do!

Paul B.
Milbridge, Maine

Richard "Steam" Symmes

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Re: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)
« Reply #34 on: March 04, 2013, 08:18:59 PM »
I understand. I enjoy turkey at Thanksgiving too. 

I do draw the line at any form of veal.  That, to me, is just too cruel.  It's bad enough that any creature has to die after a very short "life" just to feed us.  Little calves never have a chance at any sort of life.

Maybe the "entertainment industry" should to a reality show on slaughterhouses. That seems to be the only thing they've omitted in their never ending quest to entertain us.  I suspect the vegetarian population might increase dramatically if such shows were to run on TV. Then again, maybe not.

Bon appetite!

Richard

Ira Schreiber

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Re: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)
« Reply #35 on: March 04, 2013, 10:00:25 PM »
As a card carrying member of PETA, I find this discussion interesting and way off topic.










PETA= People Eating Tasty Animals

Paul Bennett

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Re: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)
« Reply #36 on: March 08, 2013, 08:03:39 AM »
DTRR Turntable Plans:

I've been pressed for time lately  with just not enough hours in a day, but I have been working on a set of plans for a turntable. I was successful in compiling a number of photos and drawings for other turntables, and I received quite a bit of input from folks that have had experience building them.

The concept for my design is of a hybrid variety. It is fairly simple, uses off the shelf components wherever possible, and should be fairly straight-forward and easy to construct. Basic drawings have been started and I'll try to have a completed plans package available for free download fairly soon on the Downeast Thunder Railroad http://www.downeastthunder.com website. I'll post an announcement when their ready.

Paul Bennett

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Re: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)
« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2013, 08:05:54 AM »
I broke my backhoe:

I was digging out tree stumps in a right-of-way I cleared yesterday. All of a sudden I felt and heard a couple of loud snaps. The boom for the backhoe collapsed on the ground and my controls were useless.

I shut off the tractor and investigated, only to find the base unit that holds and pivots the boom had snapped, and an end of one of the hydraulic cylinders also snapped clean off.

It took me the remainder of the day to get the tractor out of the area I was digging, dragging the backhoe along the ground, getting it up to the shop, and removing the backhoe from the tractor. Now I have to disassemble the backhoe so I can begin repair work on the broken components.

This will set me back for awhile in building and prepping the rail bed, and I hate losing  the next few days because the weather promises to be clear and mild.

Oh well.....

Steve Smith

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Re: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)
« Reply #38 on: March 16, 2013, 11:06:32 AM »
Paul,

Sorry to hear about the mishap. Is there some clear indication of what went wrong? I know practically zilch about backhoes, but think I heard or read somewhere that a pressure relief valve in the hydraulics is supposed to prevent a hydraulic cylinder from causing excessive stress in the mechanical components. I suppose such a valve can go on the fritz, or maybe there was a faulty weld?

Anyway, hope you can get back in action with it soon.

Mike Fox

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Re: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)
« Reply #39 on: March 16, 2013, 07:34:23 PM »
Age and wear also play as factors into this. The constant pounding in this location plus the amount of force being applied can really wreak havock on a machine. Please keep us posted on your recovery.
Mike
Doing way too much to list...

Paul Bennett

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Re: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)
« Reply #40 on: March 17, 2013, 08:23:51 AM »
Upon closer inspection, I discovered the mount holding the boom on the right side (pivot bracket) where the major breakage occurred showed dirt on the edges (about 95%) indicating that a crack in the steel developed and had existed for quite some time. When the boom pivot bracket let go, the weight of the boom snapped the end off the hydraulic cylinder (the break being completely clean - no dirt on the broken edges). I posted a couple of pictures of this on my blog that can be found on the DTRR web site: http://www.downeastthunder.com

My backhoe was made by Woods, and is a aftermarket attachment that fits on to the 3-point hitch of my New Holland ag-tractor along with a sub-frame that attaches to the underside of the tractor. I was able to detach the backhoe & sub-frame assembly from the tractor so I can continue using the tractor & loader bucket for skidding trees out of the woods & other work while I repair the backhoe. It appears that the I should be able to repair the damage with a bit of further dis-assembly and surgery. The broken bracket was fabricated from 1/4" mild steel plate, so a little wire brushing, v-grooving with a grinder, and fillet welds should put it back into shape. A bit of love with a BFH (big hammer) to bend some of the twisted parent metal back into position will also be necessary.

Both the tractor and backhoe are of 1998 vintage. This is the first major breakage in all these years with an incredible amount of use digging up hundreds of tree stumps. I could have repaired the crack and avoided the major breakage had I noticed it. The crack had developed over time and was hidden by paint and rust. No chance of the hydraulic cylinder building too much pressure. Pressure relief valve works fine and is fully operational (I tested it). Besides, the hydraulic system on my tractor is pretty wimpy - not much power, leaving much to be desired.

Oh well. Doo-doo happens!

By the way - My web site was hacked somehow yesterday. Someone added code to show bogus ads for overseas Viagra, other drugs, casinos & lotteries, overseas loans, etc that all appear across the top of the page. My wife (professional web developer) will be shutting down the site to get rid of the unwanted code and bolster security later on today, so don't be surprised if you can't log on for a few hours time.

Steve Smith

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Re: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)
« Reply #41 on: March 17, 2013, 05:35:46 PM »
Paul, thanks for taking time from your busy life to reply in such an informative manner. A carryover from it to steam locomotives that occurs to me: the vital importance of ways railroaders used for crack detection, such as visual checking, rapping critical components with a hammer and listening for a wrong sound, and doing Magnaflux testing. Today I suppose ultrasound is probably the most commonly used tool.

I don't know how airplane mechanics do it, but I sure hope they check for cracks thoroughly on any airplane I'm going to ride in. And of course not just check, but FIX them!

Paul Bennett

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Re: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)
« Reply #42 on: March 18, 2013, 12:19:03 PM »
Steve,

Being a marine engineer and having worked for years in a variety of shipyards in design, project management, and quality assurance, I'm familiar with the techniques used in checking for metal cracks and thinned out (oxidized) plate using magna-fluxing, ultrasound, and sometimes x-ray methods. That being said, you might think that I'd be right on top of my equipment and never have such failures as recently experienced with my backhoe. I suppose that I could offer all kinds of excuses such that I'm always pressed for time and that I can't afford to purchase such test equipment anyway. The truth though is that there are no excuses at all. I could have found the crack earlier on by exercising due diligence and checking out various key areas on occasion with a chipping hammer. I could have at least performed a cursory visual examination now and then. I didn't. The buck stops with me.

Having become an "old fart" I don't seem to care as much and I'm perhaps more lazy than I should be. Therefore, the breakage serves me right. At least it is something I can repair so I can get back to work. I will say that little tractor and backhoe has served me well for many years and this is the first catastrophic event I've experienced with it.

If it's all the same to you, I'm now going to go back to crying in my beer......

Paul Bennett

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Re: Downeast Thunder Railroad (18" Narrow Gauge)
« Reply #43 on: March 26, 2013, 07:52:40 PM »
Sugarin' Season:


It's that time of year at Downeast Thunder Farm - We're collecting maple sap every day to make farm fresh Maine maple syrup. It's quite time consuming so I haven't repaired my backhoe yet, but progress continues every day (weather permitting) cutting/removing trees and brush along the planned railway routes.

Mike the Choochoo Nix

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Maple syrup
« Reply #44 on: March 30, 2013, 08:51:15 AM »
My dad made syrup when I was a kid here in Minnesota. I remember some of the big trees filling a 5 gallon bucket twice a day. Hope you have a good season.
Mike Nix
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 08:56:39 AM by Mike the Choochoo Nix »
Mike Nix