New homemade product by the wee one

Wildflower in the kitchen
Wildflower in her natural element

My youngest daughter is our kitchen queen. She loves baking and making things. This of course started by helping mom stir the pot, licking the spoon, etc. But over the past few years she’s progressed from mommies helper to a bit of a force in the kitchen.

Fourth of July cake the Wildflower made by herself
The fourth of July cake, she made by herself.

She is very happy in the kitchen, happily working away, singing a song to herself. The only kid like whining you’ll hear from her is about the need to go get ingredients, and of course when it is time to clean up. She is only 10.

Wildflower with her final cake at baking camp
Wildflower at baking camp, with her final project.

Of course, SWMBO has encouraged all this baking, sending her to baking camp as you see above. But also buying her ingredients and even going so far as to make her the defacto party prepper for most anything that we attend. Need cookies for a get together, cake for a special event? Yeah, throw some flour and sugar at the wee one and see what she comes up with.

Wildflower with cupcakes she made for a party
Wildflower with cupcakes she made for a party

Not everything is a masterpiece, she’s still learning. But with Youtube and online recipes as her guide, she’s producing some pretty awesome stuff.

Gingerbread house
This one has as much fun as technique. We still encourage fun

So with these successes, I’ve gotten used to some sort of baking project ongoing at any point and time. They are as varied as whatever is on the internet and in the pantry. However some months ago, a new product started coming out of the kitchen. Slime.

You can’t do that on television – Nickelodeon

I don’t mean the kind of slime we grew up with on TV. I mean more like a stress ball, silly puddy kind of slime.

“Daddy, do you wanna see my slime?”

“Uh, ok honey. That’s really nice.”

The first few times she was making it, I really didn’t pay much attention. It was just the project of the week. But she really enjoyed playing with it. And she kept making more. And more. And more.

And then her sister knocked over a 1 gallon bottle of glue ( a main ingredient in slime) in the bedroom. After the cleanup, mom declared, “That’s it! No more slime.”

So much for slime.

Then I walked into this.

A sudden slime display in the store

Slime? Do people buy slime? Is it a thing? Does it have anything to do with farming? The work was already done, and this wasn’t leftover slime. She’d perfected her technique and had started making production slime for the store.

“It is ok to sell it daddy?” Big smile. Doe eyes.

“Uh, sure honey. Go for it.”

I figured it would collect some dust and that would be that. Then a mom with a little kid came in. The size kid that definitely couldn’t read. Did he want ice cream? Loco pops? Popcorn? Maybe just play in the kid’s corner? Nope, he had a crying fit because he wanted slime. Maybe she knows something I don’t.

All colors and consistencies

So stop by and get your kids some slime. They do seem to love it and there is nothing in the product that will hurt them. Plus, it will make my daughter amazingly proud that something she made on her own has sold.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Ever been stung by a bee?

Whenever I give a tour, and I get to our bee hives, I always ask the group if they’ve ever been stung by a bee. Usually a lot of hands will go up. Then I ask, was it a wasp? A yellow jacket? A mud dauber? I mean, have you ever been stung by a honey bee? All the hands go down except for people who are bee keepers themselves, or who were running through clover barefoot and stepped on a honey bee by accident.

My point is that honey bees are really chill. They just want to collect their pollen and do their work. They don’t want to mess with you and we should cultivate bees, not be afraid of them.

Nothing like 30,000 ladies all buzzing around your head

The other day our bee keeper was here working the hives. I stopped by on the way to the barn to say hello and catch up. Spork was with me and we chatted for a few minutes. I don’t walk right up on her, but I don’t yell from across the yard either. As we were chatting, I heard a bee that was none too pleased. You can tell by the frequency of their wings what their mood is. It buzzed Spork, so we both immediately started walking away, not swatting at it. That is the best thing to do. As we got about 50 feet away, I saw the bee arc around Spork and then zap! Straight to my face where it stung me.

I commenced to cursing, not because it hurt, but because I was REALLY busy and didn’t have time for this. Spork picked the stinger out of my face and we went about our day, with my face swelling up and smarting. I put some baking soda on it as Jennifer recommended, and popped an antihistamine as I thought would be appropriate. It was definitely better than last time as I’ve been stung in the face before and I know it is going to swell. When we finally stopped to get something to eat, Spork took this picture of me.

Stung on the left side of my face, just below the eye

Spork said I looked like the diet plan’s advertisement, with the pre diet and post diet on each side of my face. I thought that was pretty funny.

So I still say bees are very chill and you should respect them and help them whenever possible. Just don’t walk barefoot through clover, and don’t stand 10 feet from a bee keeper flapping your gums while she is working.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

#83 had a little girl, #142

Just on the heels of our calf born on Thursday, we had a new calf born to one of our newer moms, #83. Another pretty little spring calf. This little girl should be here to stay as well, with a lifetime of being a mom herself.

A pretty little spring calf, #142
A pretty little spring calf, #142

As long as she behaves, that is. We do have some moms who haven’t been doing so well that will be culled next week. The younger moms especially seem to have the most trouble. But that is part of having cattle, sometimes they are excellent, and sometimes they struggle.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

#61 had a little boy, #141

We’ve actually had a little lull in calves being born. You’d think all these moms who have babies in the winter would look towards the spring instead (yes I know they don’t choose).

Son with momma, having been ear tagged and banded

It is a treat to have a little calf on the farm, all fresh and cute. This little boy will be staying here his entire life, Lord willing.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

More honey bee swarms, and a reversal of fortune

So last time, we had honey bees swarming on a low fence and my bee keeper was out of town. I heroically saved the day by sidling up to the bees and knocking them into a box. It was an amazing bit of bee work, standing there on the ground with my box. I could have gotten a paper cut. Very dangerous.

The Mrs. and I had a meeting with two different companies in Myrtle Beach, SC. We drove down midday, met the first people, grabbed dinner, slept, woke, met the second people, then drove home. It wasn’t the most relaxing trip, but that wouldn’t stop me from rubbing it in in the below exchange.

Text conversation about a bee swarm

I’m sitting at a restaurant with the Mrs. We’ve just sat down when I receive the text from my neighbor with the picture of bee swarm. Like last time, I thank God that I have a bee keeper who takes such good care of us. But I’m wary, last time she was in Utah. Will she be there this time? Ahh, “I can be there in an hour.” Perfect, just what I wanted to hear, (Waitress! One more drink please.), especially since I’m three hours away at the moment. Then the next exchange happens a bit later, oh about one hour later when she arrives.

Text conversation about being at the beach

I am a bad person. Rather than just say no, I have to rub it in that I have a “tropical” view. I mean, she was in Utah when I needed her last time, right? So I owe her one. Plus it isn’t unusual that I’ll answer the “Are you around?” question with a picture rather than a statement. This is another answer I’ve sent to that inquiry.

View of left wing and the ground from a Cessna 172

A picture says a thousand words. Plus, I’m flying. I’m like…busy. I don’t have time to type out a whole message. Instead I have time to take a picture and forward it. Totally not the same thing. Stop looking at me like that.

So back to the bees. Apparently the lower branch, which was already 10 feet off the ground, wasn’t good enough for these overachieving bees. They’ve moved to another tree, and to a higher branch during the hour of transit time for Jennifer.

Bee swarm very high in a tree

Normally what we’d do in that situation is fire up our bucket truck and put Jennifer way up in the air to get these bees. It would really be easy, as they are sitting just above the drive way. All I’d need to do is to walk over, crank the truck, drive about 100 feet, set the truck up and raise her right where she wanted to be. I mean, she’s terrified of heights, so there is that, but overall not a lot of work to be performed. Instead, the guys are gone and I’m sitting in South Carolina. Jennifer had to adapt and overcome.

To be honest, I don’t know how she did it. She’s on the largest A frame ladder we have, and she’s not even half way to these bees. Maybe she levitated using some bee magic? Girl magic? Bee girl magic? I don’t really know how any of that works, especially the girl part, but somehow she captured about 1/2 of the swarm, 30′ off the ground, with a 10′ ladder and a stick. She managed to get the half with the queen because the next day, all the bees had decided to move into her hastily provided bee hive and were merrily going about bee duties enjoying the spring weather.

These bees most likely came from our hives. That means that in the end, this is kind of like picking your kid up from jail. You are glad to have him back, but all you did was get your own troublemaker back in the house, with no small amount of trouble for yourself in the process. Capturing someone else’s swarm, now that is a net add to your bee population.

But rather than having to do a split, these bees have made their own split so we have added two new hives to the apiary the past few weeks. With the spring weather, they’ll all be pouring in the honey as fast as they can go.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

A sure sign of spring

Jennifer from Buck Naked Farms has blessedly been our beekeeper for years now. She tends to the girls and keeps things right, so I don’t have to.

So when I was walking back from the barn last Sunday and saw this.

A swarm of honey bees
A swarm of honey bees

I didn’t have that sinking feeling of, “Oh, not something else that needs to be done today. I have enough.”

Instead it was, “Oh, I’ll text our wonderful beekeeper and this can be her problem.”

Then this happened.

text message about being in utah
Who goes to Utah?

Um, she ain’t gonna be here in time to get these girls traveling from Utah. Ugh, I claim to be a former beekeeper on every tour I give. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t catch them. I also couldn’t face Jennifer, regardless of her permission to “let them go” if I didn’t try. I did say they’d be an easy catch.

I clopped back over to the barn, to uncover my beekeeping gear. It was conveniently located behind the paint booth, a shaper (weighs about 5000 lbs) that I was going to rebuild 10 years ago, and a pile of airplane parts I haven’t gotten to yet.

With bee gear in hand, I set about catching the swarm in a box I had laying about. Not a fancy beekeeper box, mind you. I’m talking a cardboard box that probably contained breakfast sausages at some point.

The bees were a bit more sprightly than I’ve encountered before with a swarm and I ended up getting Spork to help me because of course I’d not lit my smoker. In fact, I didn’t even have it with me. But with his help, we got some smoke going and the bees to settle down. I then rehived them in the box that Jennifer references in her text and everyone settled down for the night. Jennifer has already been by to check on them now and they appear to be moving in nicely.

Score one for the old beekeeper! I haven’t completely lost my touch.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

It is a bit dusty in here

cropped hand sweeping dusty room(sound of sweeping, coughing)

Oh hey, this thing still works. Whaddya know?

Yes, we are still alive and kicking. Unfortunately tax season has been kicking my butt lately. It is easy to start some new endeavor, but every year this time all those chickens come home to roost when all the paperwork has to be collated and consolidated into the individual returns.

Harried CPA: “You paid the kids their slave wages? Oh, we need records of all that. No not those records, you entered them wrong. We need to redo all those entries in Quickbooks so it comes out correctly.”

Stressed out CPA: “You bought an airplane? With four partners? It costs less than a used car for one person to own, why did you bring in four partners? Sigh. Now we need an LLC and the K1s for the LLC. Oh, one of the partners used his guy for the LLC? A guy who doesn’t own a computer? Or apparently fill out K1s? Yeah, you’ll need to go down personally, twice, and get the K1s.”

Incredulous CPA: “You started ANOTHER business? Oh this one is with your wife? I’m sure that makes things easier. Ok, well that will need an entirely new structure. You know what, while you are at it, we may as well change the ownership of everything and restructure the entire organization. Your insurance agent has been talking about you needing to structure differently for a while. Might as well do it all at once. That means new surveys, new LLCs, lots of lawyer conversations. Yep, this may take a while.”

Kids dressed up standing around a table at speech and debate
Some of the kids from Speech and Debate

And don’t even talk about the Speech and Debate tournament that my kids were in, which required not only their participation,

Walking into speech and debate
Walking into speech and debate

but the participation of both parents, and all my friends I could wrangle (Hi Dustin and Ron!)

The girls after their play
The girls after their play

Or the play that my girls were in, which ate up two weeks of time. Speech and debate and then the play were back to back events.

Or that the littlest of my kids has decided that volleyball is her sport. Since volleyball was my sport till I got hurt, I’m pretty excited.

Or that crazy schedule we’ve made for Civil Air Patrol events we have for 2019.

We’ve already been to Seymour Johnson AFB. That is my daughter in the fire truck, trying to hit us with water from the water cannon.

The kids listening to the pilots talk on the ramp at Seymour
The kids listening to the pilots talk on the ramp at Seymour

We took three van loads of people to the base on the field trip, with borrowed vans I had to pick and take back to various cities.

We also man handled a wrecked airplane off of the runway at Johnston County Airport WHILE simultaneously teaching 20 cadets how to navigate with a compass.

Briefing the cadets for the Orientation flights
Briefing the cadets for the Orientation flights

Or conducting orientation flights for 15 cadets with borrowed airplanes from across the state. That took a bit of coordination.

So it turns out it is possible to be unemployed, and completely out of time every day, at the same time. My mornings, where I used to sit and write blog posts, have been occupied with the never ending stream of emails that I’m two days behind on answering. But today is a new day!

No, none of that stuff has gone away. I’m still crazy trying to get caught up. But at least today I was able to squeeze out one single post to let you fine folks know that we are still alive and kicking. I have lots of material for more farm related posts, including an adventure with the below.

Jessie with the new calf
Jessie with the new calf

so I’m going to try and get that story out.

And thanks to the hard work of Jeanette, Miguel, and Vicente, the farm is running as well as it ever has. In fact Jeanette just returned from the Flavors of Carolina show in Concord this week.

Flavors of Carolina event floor
Flavors of Carolina event floor

She came back with a list chock full of goodness. She’s already requested a new freezer for the store so we have room for the items she’s bringing in so be prepared for some new stuff items to compliment your beef, pork, and chicken.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

2019 produce CSA signups are available!

There are still a few spots available for our 2019 CSA. This is a repost of our earlier post about signing up. Click here to sign up for the 2019 season.

We continue to have great success with our CSA program here at the farm. As a reminder, this is simply a pass through program where we connect you, our customers, with a small, local, produce farmer. We don’t charge anything for the program and you sign up directly.

But you pick up your produce here at the farm each week, allowing you to get your veggies, your fruit, and your beef, pork, chicken, etc all at one place and at one time.

CSA vegetable box
An actual CSA box from last year

This whole idea was requested by multiple customers, and Jennifer has retained about 90% of her customers from period to period, meaning that she has a very high satisfaction rate. Something echoed by the customers I’ve spoken to when they stop by.

In fact, because of the high retention rate, I’ve not really talked much about the CSA because there hasn’t been any room for new people. But in 2019 Chickadee has been able to grow some and has opened up some more spots to us. For all of you who support local agriculture, this is exactly what you hope. We work together, support a small farmer, and they see growth and success.

As a result, there are more spots for more supporters. A win-win. Sign up today to get your name on the list for 2019.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Godspeed Cotton

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that our livestock guardian dog, Cotton, passed away on Sunday.

Livestock guardian dog sounds like a pretty serious working dog, and Cotton was from serious working stock. I will never forget going to get her and seeing her father, silhouetted by an area light, watching us as we got out of the truck. I was so intimidated that I almost got back in the car. He was stock still, and looked as big as a cow. He was very intimidating. Now when I say I almost got back in the car, I have to tell this story.

When I first started working after college, I did field collections. That means I went to people’s jobs and houses to collect money. One day I went to catch a deadbeat who’d been ducking me over a $3500 bill. I pulled up in his driveway before the sun came up and blocked in his truck. I then went to the front door and rang the doorbell. The door opens several minutes later and it is his wife. Who sends his wife to the door a 0’dark early unaccompanied? I explained who I was and why I was there and the wife said she’d tell him.

Several minutes later the door opens and two very unhappy Dobermans come scampering out, most displeased to see me in their front yard. I was close enough to my truck that I could make it inside before the dogs made it to me. Instead, 30 minutes later when the object of my attention came strolling out assured I had fled, I had both dogs doing tricks. I’d named them, since nobody had bothered to introduce us. And I had them sitting, staying, and heeling. My debtor was VERY unhappy to see me still there and even more unhappy that I’d co-opted his attack dogs.

I’m not afraid of dogs.

So looking at this white grizzly bear of a dog, I almost got back in the truck and said adios. Instead I went to meet our breeder and we left with a white fluff ball of a puppy who was going to grow up and be this hard working, tough, livestock guardian dog. At least that was my plan.

Step 1. Put the dog out with the animals so it imprints on them as who it needs to guard.

Cotton on her first day at the farm
Cotton on her first day at the farm

Yeah right. As if the kids weren’t bad enough, SWMBO was all over the new puppy playing with her and doing everything but making her into a working dog. Or so I thought.

Cotton decided that of course she was still a working dog, and her flock was a group of strange looking, loud bipeds, that laughed and talked incessantly. My three kids were to be her job and she took it seriously.

Cotton posing with the kids when she was one.
Cotton posing with the kids when she was one

Cotton still patrolled the farm and made sure that no unwelcome guests were at the barn, or in the pastures. But her route started and ended wherever the kids were.

Cotton had an uncanny knack for being where you thought she wasn’t, and she was paying attention when you thought she sleeping. It didn’t matter where you were, you’d turn around and Cotton would be standing there, appearing from seemingly nowhere, fully aware of what you were doing and making sure she agreed with it. The best I could ever describe her was to compare her to this well known livestock guardian dog.

Sam the sheepdog and Wile E Coyote
Sam the sheepdog and Wile E Coyote

We had Cotton before we became a public farm giving tours to college and pre-school groups alike. We had a concern that Cotton would not take well to visitors, and they were well founded. Cotton did not like visitors at all and would make her displeasure known. If it was a man, alone, he was in a bind.

Cotton checking out a visiting kid
Cotton checking out a visiting kid

However if it was a van load of kids, a family, or basically anyone except for a male by himself, she was completely welcoming. She’d always show up to check on all of our guests, which was a big treat. A 150 lb fluffy white dog was always a hit with the kids.

Coton at work in the barn
Cotton at work in the barn

But if you were the wrong person, in the wrong place, Cotton would let you know that you needed to leave. She wasn’t vicious, or even that aggressive. What she would do was approach from the rear, and nip you right on the butt. Not a bite, but a pinch with just her front teeth. Once she had you nipped, she’d continue to circle you and nip, only on the butt, until you got back where you were, in her mind, supposed to be.

One night we had two large Rottweilers show up on the farm. Cotton found them about the same time we did. The dogs were a bit snarly, showing aggression. Cotton didn’t bark, charge, or do anything that aggressive. She just circled the dogs, and then nipped them on the butt. At first they tried to fight, but Cotton wouldn’t fight. She’d nip, then circle, then nip, then circle. After several minutes of this, the two Rottweilers decided that they’d had enough of this crazy dog that wouldn’t fight and wouldn’t run, and started running towards the perimeter fence. Cotton stayed right on their behinds with me yelling at her to stop. I was afraid she’d follow them off the farm.

Nope.

She followed them right to the fence, made sure they passed through, and then put her tail up and happily jogged back to the house like she didn’t have a care in the world. No anger, no tension, no aggression. Intruders sent packing, back to the house for a nap.

Cotton dolled up for summer
Cotton dolled up for summer

Despite her working nature, Cotton was of course treated like any pet owned by girls. She was dressed up, had ribbons in her hair, pulled and pawed at by 2 year olds, and never had a single issue. Wrong person, wrong place, you were in trouble. Grabby little toddler, she’d put up with it like the kid was her own puppy.

This summer Cotton tore her doggy equivalent of her ACL. She could hobble around on three legs but there wasn’t much she could do with the fourth. We let her convalesce in the garage this summer, which was air-conditioned. As fall came and went, we took her again to the vet to see if there was anything we could do.

Cotton in her last days, wearing a bathrobe that Myla had put on her
Cotton in her last days, wearing a bathrobe that Myla had put on her

While there was a surgery we could perform, we received the unfortunate news that Cotton had bone cancer in that same leg. She didn’t have long to live.

We brought Cotton home and began giving her medication to make her feel better. With the medication, she was almost like her old self. Patrolling, happy, and eager for attention. However Saturday she lost the use of her leg entirely. With her weight, she just wasn’t able to carry herself on three legs. Although she didn’t appear in pain, it was time to end things before she was.

Sunday morning the vet came to the farm and, surrounded by the kids that she’d protected her whole life, she laid down one last time. We buried her overlooking the house and the farm she’d always patrolled from her first day to her last.

Godspeed Cotton, you will be sorely missed.

Bella Cotton Moore
December 2012 – January 2019

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Merry Christmas to me, Merry Christmas to me…

Boy loading hay with a tractor
Our old tractor, unloading hay in years past

Our old tractor is one that I repossessed against a bad debt from years ago. It had been ridden hard, and put up wet well before we ever got it. It was worn out before we ever laid eyes on it.

We went through it and got it running as best we could. Brakes, transmission, loader, all that stuff worked well. Lights, gauges, accessories. Eh, not so much. But it was our tractor and it did a great job, easily beating out the larger tractors and the smaller tractors that we have access to. I don’t know how many hours per year we put on it (remember the gauges don’t work?), but it runs every day, and does 95% of the jobs we do here.

Hog going into old time scalding tank
Hog going into the scalding tank

From lifting hogs into and out of the scald tank.

A pig being taken to the cooler
Heading towards the cooler

Pigs on a pig trailer
Pigs on the trailer, ready to be cross loaded onto the stock trailer

Loading pigs onto our hydraulic trailer to move to a new pen, or to load onto the livestock trailer

Cooking potatoes in our scald pot
Cooking potatoes in our scald pot

Cooking potatoes that one winter we ran out of food for the hogs.

Kids having a picnic in the pasture
The kids, having a picnic

Mowing the pastures to keep them manicured and healthy after the cows have grazed

Cutting the notch into the front of the tree
Cutting the notch into the front of the tree

Hauling out trees after we cut them down for firewood.

Tractor turned over and in a ditch
Tractor turned over and in a ditch

Even showing us we don’t want interns anymore. Our little tractor has done it all. But the tractor has one problem that we didn’t have a solution for.

About every 12-18 months, we had to put a new clutch in our tractor. We use it more like a forklift than like a farm tractor. Because of that, we are on and off the clutch constantly. And with that usage, comes wear. It costs about $2000-$2500 to put a clutch into the tractor that we had.

The back half of our tractor, with the clutch housing exposed.
The back half of our tractor, with the clutch housing exposed.

The tractor has to be broken in half to access the clutch and it usually takes about a week to get the job done. A week where we don’t have the tractor that we use DAILY.

With all this in mind, I set about getting a new tractor. I intended to get a used, hydrostatic tractor, meaning that it didn’t even have a clutch. But after much back and forth, I ended up with a new 5075M John Deere.

The new tractor, backing off of the delivery trailer in the rain
The new tractor, backing off of the delivery trailer in the rain

It has a hydraulic clutch instead of a dry clutch like our old tractor and it has a FNR switch like an industrial tractor instead of the full clutch and gear setup like our old one.

I didn’t want to spend the money. I didn’t want to go through the hassle, and I honestly didn’t want to see our tired old tractor leave because it has been good to us. But just in time for Christmas, our new tractor has shown up and it seems to be doing a good job. It meets all the modern emissions requirements and certainly has a few more bells and whistles than our old tractor. Only time will tell how it lives in our environment. I hope it is very well and for a long time.

 

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.