tractor husbandry part 1

I know I need to be a good husband to my wife, and to take care of our animals, our plants, and our land. Now it is time to include tractor husbandry in my skill set.

We recently purchased an old Kubota, an M4000 with a 6 cylinder 48 hp diesel, with 2 wheel drive, loader, and some implements. I’m pretty happy about it because it took me around 2.5 years to find the right deal. If I can give this machine some TLC then I hope I can coax it along for at least 3 years of work, if not more. I really don’t know much about Japanese tractors except that all the CSA farmers I know seem to have shiny orange ones that look pretty cool. The issue I had for the last 2.5 years was finding enough funds to go ahead and purchase the right tractor, and then of course finding the right one for the right price. It had to have the basics: 3 point, live PTO, loader, and over 40 hp if possible. I really wanted a diesel, as they have more power then gas. Looked like Kubota only made diesels so that made it easier to search.

Most of the newer models (80s-90s) were just a bit out of my price range. I was prepared to go ahead and spend a couple thousand more for a  newer Kubota if I could ever find the right one, but I wasn’t happy about it, because I knew we would probably still have to pay a couple thousand for a new 3-point rototiller. I found a good deal on a seemingly perfect International tractor about 2 weeks ago, but it got snatched out from under my nose, so this time when I saw what I thought was the perfect tractor for us I got on the horn right away.

Then there was a blizzard.

My dad was going to meet up with me and we were going to take a trailer out to get it, but he had a foot of snow in his drive and more on the way, and we were buffeted by heavy winds and blinding snow here at home. It wasn’t ideal tractor buying/transporing weather. On top of that we found out that the trailer we were borrowing was too narrow. Then we had searched in a near-panic for some other trailer to rent, but ended up  finally calling a cousin who lives out  closer to western MN who had a big 19′  flatbed he used for his used-car business. Luckily he could send someone out to pick it up and deliver on the day we needed for a reasonable fee.

There was the slight problem of having the guy come and pick it up right while we were looking at it to see if it was a good tractor. We solved that by telling him to come 2 hours later then us so we could call him off if it didn’t work.

I went to town to withdraw the cash I need, except my bank doesn’t have it in $100 dollar bills. They might be able to hussle up the cash in $20s. That doesn’t work for me at all. So I call the seller back and ask him if I can bring a cashiers check. He says sure. Alright.

So, the next morning we get out there and find the right address. The guy is standing out by a tractor but it is an older International…I get out and say, “Morning, your’re Mel right?” He says, “Yeah?” in a quizzical tone.  I think, doesn’t he remember talking to me yesterday? Is this some kind of crazy scam?

To be continued…


sea software

A dream is like the part of an iceberg that lies under the surface of the water. Our waking, conscious mind is what lies above. Dreams help us process our lives and throws us into scenarios we fear or desire. Perhaps in dreams we learn how to live before we live. Our unconscious sea software slowly works through our problems.

There has been a bit of stress around here of late. The ongoing next-door-neighbor-frac-sand-mining issue and tragic duckling fire are two standout stressers, but even if everything was running smoothly there is the simple stress of running a business, a farm, a family, and a household. Just a couple months ago I noticed that i had gray hairs and I’m in my mid 30s.

Stress is not inspirational. To me it looks like the more stress you cultivate, the more stress you grow. I have come up with some ways to destress, and they are adequate to the task, but I wonder now if there are better ways out there.

So last year I tried Tai Chi. I sort of immediately realized I’m too stressed to do Tai Chi. Tai Chi should relax me, put me under a spell of meditative movement. For me, not so. I have energy that wants to be transformed into super ninja hurricane hits. So I didn’t do that this year.

This year we have been consumed with business plans, concerns, issues, urgent items. The Frac Sand Mining issue was like the Titanic smashing into our dream world. Somehow our sea software has yet to come up with the ideal plan-of-action. I think it may be time to run a debugger program.