Dispensing with the indispensable


I’ve even said it out loud recently. "I think I’m going to sell the tractor." My fiancee responded with the usual "uh huh." She never gets overly involved with any of my wheeling and dealing. She has stated her policy on this more than once. "I don’t care what you do ... it’s your stuff and it’s your money, so do what you want." I am truly blessed. Yes, I do whatever the whim directs, for better, for worse, whichever. Sometimes it is a great move, other times, not so much. This is part of the reason I’ve owned so many cars, trucks, motorcycles, and now boats. No one is saying "Don’t sell your tractor, you need it!" But wait; let’s think about this for a minute.

I’ve been on a quest to make things look a bit less cluttered here. I’ve got boats, trailers, cars, a camper, you name it, littering the property. Admittedly it just doesn’t look good. So yesterday I was able to haul my gutted Mustang to Vernon where I gave it to a young man who said he wanted it. No problem, one more thing off the lawn. Now that the car transport trailer is free, I decided to load my hot rod Ford pickup on it so I can transport it to a shop to get the transmission fixed. Well, access to the pickup was limited, so to get the 2,000 pound trailer properly lined up the easiest way was to wrap a chain around the bucket on my tractor, hook it to the trailer, lift it and move it where I wanted it. Worked slick. Then I somehow managed to get the fiancee to help me get the truck on to the trailer. The non-running truck needed to be lined up so she could steer it up the ramps while I pushed it with the tractor. The fastest way to do that was to lift the truck with the bucket and set it where it lined up perfectly. Once that was accomplished I gave her a push up the ramps, and now the Ford is ready for transport.

We have a nice big mound of topsoil that will be used to fill in some low spots on the lawn, and rather than shoveling the dirt into a wheelbarrow and pushing it all over creation, the tractor will make easy work of it with just a couple of bucketfuls. I have an old camper that we used for weekend kid visits in summers past that I converted to a tool shed. Well, it has done a nice job of sheltering my tools, but again, it is an eyesore. Now that I have a tight and secure insulated workshop I’ll be moving those tools out and disposing of the camper. I’m betting the tractor’s hydraulic bucket and a clamp on fork would make quick work of demolishing the camper. Once it is broken down into smaller pieces I can use the bucket to load up the demo onto a trailer and haul it off.

My fiancee pointed out a couple of dead trees along the eastern border of the property, and we’ll probably tie a very long rope to the trees and onto the tractor so when I cut them down they will fall where we want them to with just a short pull. We did this a couple of years back and it worked pretty slick. Once I cut the trees up I can toss the wood into the tractor’s bucket, load up the trailer and it’s off to the landfill. This is all a very convincing argument for holding on to something that I own outright and is in excellent condition. It’s not a huge tractor, but it is a 34 H.P. diesel with four-wheel drive, so it is quite capable.

Here’s the thing I don’t like. Having this fabulous piece of equipment makes me feel as though I have to trudge outside after every snowstorm and move snow. I even built a homemade cab to keep the cold winds out, and it made the job a lot easier. However, I’d sell the thing just to get out of having to move snow for two hours after every storm. Now that I think of all the things I can do this summer, maybe I’ll just hire the guy up the street to plow us out next winter, and hang on to the tractor for a while longer. You can’t just dispense with the indispensable.

Arlo Mudgett’s Morning Almanac has been heard over multiple radio stations in Vermont for nearly 30 years, and can be tuned in at 92.7 WKVT FM Monday through Saturday mornings at 8:35 a.m.


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