Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
My recent blogs have been pertaining to choices and lifestyle change. This blog is simply about choices. We have made some good and bad choices since we moved here on the side of the mountain. One of the very good choices we have made is the purchase of our Kubota tractor. That decision was initially based upon comments and advertisements in Mother Earth News. I knew of another resident in our area who had a Kubota tractor and boasted how they had it for 15 years and had never changed the oil and it ran perfect. As sick as that is for us maintenance nuts it actually spoke well of Kubota. I am the kind of person that when the manual says to do maintenance I do it and don’t procrastinate. I figure if the manufacturer didn’t think it needed to be done they would not recommend having it done at regular intervals. On Kubota it is easy to change the oil and I do it myself. Changing the filter takes a little more effort but is well within my skill range.
When we initially moved to 9,750’ elevation I had purchased a large self propelled walk behind snow thrower that did the job. It could be overwhelmed with heavy snow storms especially if they were over 24” deep. We do get our share of those storms each year. That was all changed when we bought our Kubota BX series tractor. We also bought a snow thrower attachment and learned there were much easier ways to handle the volume of snow we get in the mountains. Not to mention I didn’t come back in the house with frozen feet or hands. Our local co-op is a Kubota dealer who recommended this particular model tractor for us based upon our needs. With the addition of a blade on the rear it makes dealing with snow faster, more efficient and a better result is achieved. That little tractor has been dependable and saved a lot of unnecessary work.
An occasional problem can suddenly happen but for the most part this is one snow eating machine. I have cleared up to 4 feet of snow and thank goodness that doesn’t happen often. I’m probably pushing the machine to its limit when that happens but it got the job done. Sometimes I will accidentally hit a stone that will shear a pin but that doesn’t happen often either. It did happen a few days ago when a rock ended up in the driveway where it should not have been. It was a rather large rock and bent several component parts. I loaded up the snow thrower and drove it 75 miles to the co-op. You are generally known by first name, and since it is member owned it is like visiting family. I always enjoy my trips to our co-op in spite of the long drive. They checked the snow thrower, diagnosed the problem and had it fixed in a jiffy. Then there was a hand shake and no charge and I was on my way again. Their service is great, the friendliness and spirit of good will is contagious. I never regret the hour and a half drive to the Monte Vista Co-op for those reasons alone. Many people over look the co-ops but I recommend that you check them out and if you are not a member then consider joining.
There are numerous tractors on the market now days, but our Kubota has been a real work horse of a tractor. It has been one of the choices we made that was excellent and right for us. If you have a lot of snow a tractor with the snow thrower attachment may be a good choice for you. We have since added a DR Power chipper mulch attachment and that takes care of all the brush and limbs and converts them into useful mulch. Another good choice. Our tractor and snow thrower are now 12 years old and run just as well as if they were new. That is saying a lot since the snow thrower gets used at least 8 months out of the year and we average around 24 feet of snow fall annually. With the four wheel drive, power steering, front PTO and other features it is easy to operated, even for someone like myself who had never been on a tractor prior to the purchase of the Kubota BX. We had it taken in for a complete check and service a year ago and doing the recommended maintenance paid off as the service person said its internal components looked brand new and showed no wear at all.
I certainly don’t want to anger other manufactures of tractors because I have no experience with any other tractor than the Kubota. I can however say that the Kubota has been an exceptional addition to our homestead. If you are in the market for a tractor it is my opinion that the Kubota should be equally considered along with any other brands you may be considering. When I was first considering a tractor I went to a well known dealer and they apparently thought their tractor was so good they didn’t have to answer my questions. They handed me a brochure and left me there alone. I left not knowing which one of their models would be best suited for us. I had the impression ’if’ they sold me one of their tractors they were doing me a favor.
Our co-op is more than willing to take what ever time you need to help you understand and they do so in a friendly and courteous way. When you make a major purchase such as a tractor you are also buying follow up service and the good will of whom you make the purchase from. I have always left our co-op as a satisfied member/customer and have never regretted any of our purchases.
If I were to look for another tractor I would probably still compare features but I already know I would be back at the co-op to get another Kubota. I would be buying a tractor and at the same time be adopted into the family of co-op members. How can you ever put a price on that? I personally value the friendly service and reception which I receive every time I go into the co-op as having more value than the serviceability of my tractor. I leave feeling good and now days that is the exception rather than the rule. Good people, good products, good experience and most of all - an all around good choice.
For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray's lifestyle, and their good and sometimes bad choices go to: http://www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com