Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Excavator Is My Friend

The rental place delivered a small excavator to Sedgwick this afternoon. After a two minute lesson on what levers did what, I was left to figure out the rest on my own. Professional operators certainly make it look easy. Swift, fluid motions. An economy of movement. This sort of blending of operator and machine comes with hours and hours of practice. In the hands of a skilled operator the jaws of the bucket are as nimble as a forefinger and thumb. But in my hands the bucket was all thumbs. After three hours of practice, I was getting the hang of it, and by the end of tomorrow I expect I'll be fairly confident about my ability to dig a 400' trench to bury the power to the house site. I rented the machine for eight hours of running time. I thought this meant that I could have the machine running for eight hours after which I'd have to pay additionally by the hour. Running time, however, is at full throttle. If I turned it on and let it idle for three hours, for example, it would only clock one hour of running time. To get eight hours of running time into a day makes for a long day. That's what I've got ahead of me tomorrow.

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