Thursday, January 30, 2014

Buying Big Equipment

Thursday, January 30, 2014
Ever so quiet here on the mountain this morning. +1°  which is such a pleasant surprise after so many days in the seriously minus range. Karl the Wonder Dog snores by the wood stove after his first walk of the day and I am settled in with another cup of Dark Magic from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. If Karl stays quiet for a while I can get some work done.

Today is the final day of the Vermont Farm Show in Essex and if you haven't been yet, it's worth the trip. All states have spring garden shows and farm shows and if you are contemplating an equipment purchase or just want to fend off Seasonal Affective Disorder a little longer, get out and see what's available. The Vermont show gets bigger each year and they really do a great job. Just because it's billed as a farm show doesn't mean you have to be a farmer to go and see lots of neat things, meet some great people, see some animals--and bees this year-- and leave with smiles and lots of information.

Pictured up above is a New Holland tractor I bought 7 years ago from the Greenwood boys down in South Royalton, Vermont. I have +800 hours run time on it which isn't much for a farmer but for me and our flowers, that represents a lot of new gardens, a lot of lawn care, a lot of moving things around. I settled on this particular tractor after  looking at a number of similar tractors and talking with 3-4 vendors. I bought this one because I felt the best about the answers and the price. I always measure big purchases as "number of returns to the vendor for problems" because a two-person operation affords absolutely no downtime trying to get someone to fix something again and again. Knock on wood but I have not had a single problem with this tractor and the only time I had Greenwoods return to see me was three years back when I had a cruise control added to compensate for a right knee problem on the operator--that would be me! Love it!

I bought this tractor with the front bucket, a 5 ft rototiller, and a 3 bladed rotary mower. I have picked up a York rake and a ditching blade since and have added a brush hog,  a commercial sprayer and a wood chipper to my collection of add-ons. The tractor/bucket price is the big part followed by the chipper. Nothing is cheap so some things I buy used, somethings only new. I never buy anything without talking with current owners including people who might use a similar product commercially.

So if you are thinking that this is the year you absolutely need a tractor, look around at farm shows and make the rounds to vendors. Oh yes--one more thing. When you think you have settled in on a choice, do something that may not come to mind at all. Check out how to service the machine. Begin with the filters and the oil ins and outs and see if these are easy things to get to. Sometimes in today's world, the person creating that new wiz bang design has never climbed aboard the thing that will mean so much to you. Think about it all. Then  buy what will handle your needs, and then just a little bit bigger if you can afford it. You'll smile!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the juncos are coming out of the forest darkness to clean up sunflower feeds and speak enough birdish to lure in chickadees and blue jays and other birds of the morning.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
Always here to help you grow your green thumb!




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