Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would be the owner of a Hill Cart, aka Funicular and aka Trolley… A word/phrase that never crossed my mind. In fact, when we bought this house, our Hill Cart was not even on the list of things on the property. It came as a great surprise that it was even there. We found it on one of our first outings during our second week of living here. We were so busy working on putting things in their place that it took a visit from some friends to discover.
FunicularAn object operated or moved by a cable (I only use this word once a week but perhaps more now).
Hill Cart, leaves and Ivy clean-up
This past week we started cleaning up the back yard. A normal task around here has been cutting down the overgrown branches and picking up the dead wood. This is something that is great to do for several reasons.
- Old branches and sticks (or even trees) provide cover for animals. Mice, Chipmunks and other small creatures.
- Snakes like Mice… you can see where this is going.
- Fire Hazard: the more dead and dry wood on the Forest floor the more risk you have. Forest Rangers burn undergrowth and “sticks/branches” on the forest floor to remove this potential fuel.
- A properly maintained forest floor keeps the trees happy. It gives their roots enough room to grow and water is absorbed directly into the soil.
- It looks AWESOME – nothing looks better than a forest that is maintained. You have the wonderful upper canopy as well as a beautiful floor with no obstructions.
Our task this week or for several weeks to come is to eliminate as much Ivy as possible. During this process we will need to pick up 30+ years of fallen branches, trees and sticks. It really becomes painful when walking down the hill and slip on a loose or slippery stick. In order to also eliminate the English ivy we uncover more fuel that needs to be removed.
How did we do it? Armed with two machines:
- STIHL KombiSystem using the Weed-eater attachment. This is my favorite tool I have. You can swap out the head for a chainsaw, hedge trimmer or even a sweeper. For this task we used the Weed-eater attachment. I needed more string and the local STIHL dealer recommended the ECHO Black Diamond string. This stuff is not only rugged but it cuts through vegetation in a snap.
- Echo – Standard Weed-eater with the ECHO Knife Blade saw attachment. Using the saw blade attached to this beast, you can chop down small saplings and tree stumps up to 2-4″ around.
As I was working, I gathered 3 very large piles of wood from the floor of the forest. All of it went to my burn pile next to the house. This actually ended up in a nice way to make Smores one night. On Saturday, I convinced Megan, (my oldest daughter), to help me out with the yard cart area. Here is what we needed to do.
Uncovering the Hill Cart
- Uncover (from 40 years of non-use) the cement walkway. We had to cut roots, vines and rake away leaves. It was amazing how deep it was but it became relatively clean.
- Remove ivy and old dead wood, trash and dirt from around the yard cart.
- Haul off the piles of wood we found. We have plenty of wood for evening fires!
All in all, it came out pretty good… here is a short video clip of the story of the cart and how it looks today.
It is pretty amazing how it turned out. For a device sitting outside, exposed to the elements for almost 60 years it is in amazing shape. I speculate it has something to do with the great Beechwood trees that protect everything underneath. Below you will see the kill switch that stops the cart when it reached the top. You can still see the writing on the label!
What to do with this unit? Is it salvageable? The rails will need a better foundation and secured to maybe 4×4’s? That won’t be too much of an issue. Then, we would need full control panels and to secure a motor and cable. Finally, we would need to revamp the cart. This won’t take a huge amount of work but work none the less. I am searching now to see how much this project could cost us.
What do you think? Would you rebuild one of these if you found it in your yard? Let us know perhaps you will help us make the decision. Leave your comments below!
Until next time!