Jackson and Butler, the two farm dogs, keep us company while we are working. They complain and pout if we go across the river for any reason and don’t take them along. The John Deere Gator is a sure fire clue to the dogs that someone is about to go somewhere. If we head toward the Gator, the dogs perk up and begin to anticipate the next adventure.
On this day, Mike had just completed another crib to hold firewood. This crib was fashioned with a regular sized pallet for the base and salvaged wood from the house that we tore down about 10 years ago.
It fits nicely into the bed of the Gator so it can be hauled across the river where a stack of wood is waiting to brought inside before the rains begin that are expected to last a week. Continue reading
We had a little fence fixing to do before we are planning to move the cows from the far, far field back to this side of the river. A little over an hour, a few t-posts, a dozen wire clips and several scratches from barb wire was all it took to reinforce a couple of spots where the cows have been reaching over, around and through the established fence line.
Once that task was completed, we had just enough time to take the Gator up the hill to check our seedlings before the sun set for the day. The evening was pleasant, the dogs were having a great time and the baby trees seemed to be undisturbed. That is when we started seeing elk tracks in the road. They had been scrimmaging and scuffling around in the dirt, it looked like they were having a regular, home style, hoe-down. From what we could tell the tracks were not very old because we had a heavy dew that morning and these had to have been left after that moisture. Continue reading
Have have several, no that is not right. We have lots of spots in the woods that are in need of thinning. Some were planted forty-some years ago and others sprouted from seeds that were flung far and wide by Douglas Fir, White fir and cedar trees. Many areas are too thick to grow to their potential and some trees are getting snuffed out by the larger trees around them. Continue reading
The John Deere Gator is home base for the two farm dogs, Jackson and Butler. They know that if the Gator is not parked in the shop, there is a good chance that a farm task will be worked on soon and the Gator will be part of that task. Neither dog wants to be the last one one the Gator.
On this day, the bed of the Gator was filled with large tubs of kindling for our firewood project.
Neither dog was able to get into the bed with it already being full, so they did the next best thing and made do with the smaller space on the front where the passenger legs area are supposed to go. Once on board, these two stood stock-still for about 10 minutes while patiently waiting for a driver, neither one attempted to sit on the seat because they know that the bench is off limits.
When the dogs were little they both would fit in this space easily with still enough room for a human. Now that they are full grown it is a little tougher, but they are not about to lose the chance to go to work. And just who needs another human passenger anyway?
One of my devoted and extremely special followers (don’t get fooled, every one of my followers are devoted and extremely special to me), took my ranting over a simple whistle to heart and went in search of one since I was unable and a little lazy getting one on my own. That is me in a nutshell, quick to rant and slower to act, but I digress from the story.
My friend found a single whistle while visiting the nearby ACE Hardware store. I never expected that they would carry that product and I can’t fathom why a hardware store would carry a whistle. Perhaps there is a need for one to get the attention of a spouse that is re-attaching a gutter atop a ladder on the second story dormer gutter, or a handy person that has only his/her behind sticking out as they repair the leaky drain under the sink. Somehow a whistle does not seem appropriate in those instances, but I am thrilled that my follower found one in the unlikely hardware store!
In a place of honor, the shrill bobby whistle now swings happily side to side from the roll bar of the Gator as we traverse the forest in search of our nuisance seedling munchers. Yes, deer and elk, I’m talking about you. Be aware, me and my trusty whistle are on the lookout.
Pulling the Gator into the driveway after the morning chores across the river, Butler the dog was sure that there was more work to do since we did not park inside the shop.
For the next two hours he stayed vigilant (as he napped) so we didn’t drive off without him.
Both dogs consider the Gator to be home base no matter where we are or what we are doing. We could be in the riparian zone along the river, out in the hay field, in the deep woods of the hillside, or fixing fence along the perimeter, the Gator is their ticket to adventure and they will not wander far from their home base.
Our John Deere Gator is our most used piece of equipment on the farm.
At the bare minimum it is used twice a day for feeding the main herd across the river and it is used much more than that on most days. We can be seen driving up the county road to check the far field, or up the hill during the summer months to go logging. We take it around by the river and through the old railroad grade when looking for missing/hiding critters.
The Gator hauls chain saws, wood chunks, hay, firewood, dogs, rocks and people. Sometimes it is loaded down with wire, t-posts, cedar posts, drivers and shovels for fence fixing, other times with 5 gallon buckets of diesel for the bulldozer. Many, many times it carries tools with various bits and pieces to fix other equipment that has broken.
This beast of burden is not very pretty to look at with mud and muck covering most of the outside and underbelly surfaces. But with the temperature dipping into the teens at night, it is welcomed into the warm garage so the goop doesn’t freeze and lock up the tires.
This beast is simply too valuable to miss a day of work on the farm.