Saturday, April 13, 2024

Water Reel

Dad and I are always thinking of ways to make things easier around the ranch. In doing, we usually create a lot of work for ourselves. That’s ranchin. 

All the irrigation on our little place is done by pump and sprinkler. Grandpa had handline and we still have a bit of it around. On a long narrow 5 acre hay field we thought a water reel might work well. So I kept my  eye out for a used one and found one at a farm sale in Montana.  This bad boy is equipped with 5” poly pipe and the reel is operated by a gas engine. Looked promising.

So we grabbed Luke’s truck and trailer and blew up to central Montana. They lifted onto our trailer. That proved challenging. 

But it fit nice and we got it boomered down. 

Watch your teeth when your camming a boomer over. 

We always wrap the leftover chain around the handle so it can’t break loose. 

Good load. A bit top heavy. 

Blew a tire heading east on I-90. 

We were like a pit crew out there. 

On the road again. 

Beautiful spring storm heading south near Clark WY. 

Made back home safe and sound. Needed to use the 4010 to unload it but she was dead. To pull start a farmhand, hook a chain to the front end and run it to the side of the bucket when you hook it to the truck. Then as you pull forward the chain will run under the bucket and lift the loader up so it doesn’t dig dirt as you’re pulling. Trick of the trade.

Then we shaped up a bit of a loading dock. 

To pull it off rather than lift it off. 

It was such a tight fit that we had to be real careful to pull it off straight. 

Once on the ground it was easier to maneuver. 

So we backed it into the shop to do service it up. Tight fit on a 12' door. 


The gear box acted froze so we pulled the drain plug to see what we were working with. Had quite a bit of water in it. No surprise. It did naturally free up though. 

And we added fresh oil. 

We had to get it to fit some of our already existing supply line. 

So we cut the old one off and welded on the new one. 

The hose hook up to the gun took a bit of work but seems pretty solid. 

Cool unit. Once the gun is hooked up you can leave it attached and then just lift it up when you need to move the whole thing. There was a lot more work done to get it ranch ready, including changing the engine with another 4hp Honda that cousin Mark had sitting around. 

Eventually we hauled in out to the field to see if this dog would hunt. 

Even though the water level in the canal wasn't high enough for our pump to run, Dad and I couldn't wait. So we put an 10' extension on the suction line and gave it a whirl. 

It took a lot of priming, but eventually she took off. 

It works. Has couple minor water leaks. Engine sounds strong. It is revved up pretty good in this shot, causing the reel to wind up at a pretty rapid rate of speed. You'd likely run it at an idle. A couple disappointing features. The hose isn't as long as it is supposed to be and the gun doesn't shoot as far as I'd hoped it would. Those aren't deal breakers, but do need to be addressed before this unit becomes the main waterer on the 5 Acre. 

Giddy up. 

Life is about the journey as much as the destination. I have mixed feelings about the end result of this endeavor. But the road to get there was a ride that only a couple of Catholic Cowboys would take. Dad and I whistle while we work. The labor may be hard but the time spent together is always enjoyable. Cowboys do have clutches, but they rarely use them. We'll probably kick a little more on this sprinkler project before we throw in the towel. I've got some ideas brewing already. On to the next one. 

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