Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

Our home, Faraway Farm, can only be described as compact. It is no ranch, unless we renamed it the Tired Iron Ranch, for my car collection. I sold my only tractor more than half-a-dozen years ago, which I quickly regretted. I could probably spend my total allotment of words here in an attempt to outline the many uses for a tractor with a hydraulic bucket and a power take-off.

I did everything with my tractor, from removing snow to lifting and moving heavy items, preparing a garage site, lifting vehicles, and gathering firewood. I did not miss it for snow removal because it took me a couple of hours to clear the driveways. I liked lifting snow and piling it in out-of-the-way places a little too much. Our snow removal guys do it in minutes. However, I missed the tractor for everything else.

I recently concluded that being tractor-less was anathema to being a native Vermonter. I began a casual search a few months ago. As I saw the summer weather beginning to fade, I intensified the hunt. My criteria was a used four-wheel-drive tractor with a hydraulic bucket loader and at least 40 horsepower, preferably generated by a diesel engine. I made arrangements to look at a couple of really good ones, but they sold before I could get there. I finally could nail one down in Grantham, New Hampshire, that fit the bill. I quickly established the fact that the owner’s cousin and I attended high school together in South Royalton. I enjoy little connections like that.

My neighbor Ed offered to use his huge equipment trailer to pick up the tractor, a generous offer that I greatly appreciate. When we arrived at the farm I watched the owner come out of his house, and there, standing next to his front steps, was what appeared to be a brown horse. I did a double-take when I realized it was a wild bull moose with his antlers in velvet. The moose followed the owner over to us and stood there while we tentatively petted it. Bullwinkle had been hanging out in the neighborhood for six weeks, and they were waiting for a Game Warden to relocate him.

Once my tractor was off the trailer, I put it directly to work. I loaded up my Dad’s new trailer with half of an old compressor and the tail section of a Piper Tomahawk airplane. These items were lying on the ground pretending to be misguided lawn art. They will now get hauled off to recycle the steel and aluminum. I’m keeping the airplane’s cockpit because I can visualize it as an enclosed cab for the tractor. The dimensions line up, but it will take some creative cutting and fabrication to make it work. I built my own enclosed cab for the last tractor, so it is clear that I have no pride in tractor esthetics.

I have already ordered a post-hole digger for the tractor. The plan is to purchase several additional attachments. I will not be plowing snow as I have a predilection to play. One of my neighbors will continue to plow us out in five minutes each time. I am sure I will be tempted to relocate the occasional snow bank now and then. However, snow removal will not be my job.

My wife has been asked by a couple of friends: “Why does he need a tractor?” I can answer that. Other than the gobs of work planned for it, he does not. He just wanted one.

The Morning Almanac with Arlo Mudgett is heard Monday through Friday mornings on radio stations Oldies KOOL FM 106.7, 96.3, and 106.5 and over Peak-FM 101.9 and 100.7.