I’m missing my front-end loader gene

You know when you see those large machines working away, effortlessly moving large piles of dirt, easily scooping massive rocks, bopping along over the roughest terrain? I’ve discovered there’s a lot of skill that goes into this mechanical ballet.

Skills I apparently don’t have.

Wiley’s been getting a workout over the last little while, cutting, hauling, scooping and carrying. He’s a great partner when it comes to managing the property. Me, however? I’m not such a good teammate.

My specific issue is with the front-end loader.

I just do not find the front-end loader intuitive.

I raise when I want to scoop, I dump when I want to raise. It’s all kinds of awkward.

Backfilling a trench with Kioti CS2410

Please ignore the long grass and the basketball net. Landscaping is next year’s project.

The front end loader is controlled by a joystick. Move it up to raise the bucket, down to lower the bucket. Move it to the left and the bucket curls up. Move it right and the bucket tips to dump.

Maybe it’s because I never played video games growing up, but I just can’t master the joystick. I’m forever moving it the wrong way and end up digging the blade into the ground or prematurely dumping my bucket.

We finally got the new waterline trenched into the driveshed last week, and I decided to backfill the trench. While the job did go quicker with Wiley than it would have with a shovel, I was not efficient by any means. Poor Wiley must have been so confused. “Why is she dumping the dirt here when the hole is over there?”

Yeah. It wasn’t pretty.

Every so often I’d hop off the tractor and grab the shovel or the rake to deal with a random pile by hand.

Matt, Mr. I-love-video-games, has no such issues with the loader. Allow him to demonstrate.

Moving rocks with a front-end loader

This is how you position the bucket to carry a load. This one happens to be one of the many piles of rocks that exist around the property.

Dumping a front-end loader

This is how you dump a load out of the bucket.

So is my lack of front-end loader ability an actual genetic deficiency? Or do you think front-end loader manipulation can be learned? Should I hook up Matt’s old Jump Man game for some joystick practice?

7 thoughts on “I’m missing my front-end loader gene

  1. The joystick is actually a great way to control those things. You can perform two actions with one motion. The diagonals are your combo moves. Just practice the main 4 actions independently at first, then the diagonals will come intuitively after that.

    And be glad it’s not an excavator, with 2 joysticks 🙂

  2. I think it is something that you just gain with experience. My boyfriend was a union operator years ago and he is a whiz with that kind of machinery. I get better the longer I do it, but it takes lots and lots of practice!

  3. Oh I completely understand the lack of coordination. I used to work on a television set and we had this enormous boom/jib thing with a camera on it. It had up down motion using your arm weight. Then it had a joystick for left right, a stick for camera up down, AND a button for zooming. I played and played and played with that thing trying to make it do what I wanted it to do. The jib operator just sat back with his arms folded laughing at me. Yeah – clearly, I’m not a gamer, either.

  4. Is Matt entertained by your dumping-in-the-middle-of-nowhere or is he sympathetic? I’m sure you will get better with practice. I used to play video games (a bit, not excessively) and my kids would laugh merrily at the way I would run straight off cliffs and suchlike. But with the one or two games that I liked and persevered at, I wound up getting pretty good with the joystick after lots of practice.

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