Member of the Month: Irvingj

This month we interviewed Irvingj about his tractors, property, hobbies and life in general.

Walt's home surrounded by wildlife

Your Name: Walt (irvingj)

Posts: 1,304 #280 of all-time

Location: In the hills of New Hampshire, outside Hanover.

How long have you been a member of TractorByNet.com?

I found the site back in 2007 when I was seriously looking into purchasing a SCUT.

What do you like best about TractorByNet.com?

The camaraderie, the level of experience and expertise of the members and their willingness to share, the general good sense of humor, and the fact that it’s well-moderated so it stays friendly.

What type of tractors do you own?

I have only one, a 2007 M-F GC2310. I bought it with a GC2360 snowblower and one set of chains for the rear; I’ve since added a Bro-Tek thumb, a used M-F 60” mid-mount mower deck, and a set of chains for the front, but I haven’t yet had to use the chains.

How long have you owned or operated tractors?

I had some experience as a kid—on a not-so-old-at-the-time gray Ford (an N model I think). And I spent some time operating an M-48 tank, if that counts.

What do you enjoy most about tractors?

Their ability to save labor & time and their strength, which enables far more to be done than could be even attempted without them.

How often do you use your tractor?

At least once a week, sometimes more often during snow season. Daily when I have time to attack encroaching trees.

Tell us about your property:

It’s not real big; only about 4 acres, but we’re located at around 1300 feet elevation and on a north-facing slope. That makes for a longer snow season and a shorter growing season for our small garden. We don’t have much flat ground and do have a lot of trees—many of which have grown up to the point of annoyance since we cleared the land and built the house 25 years ago.  When I get back on that project, the tractor will prove very useful!

Our house is unusual in that it was built to be very well insulated—it’s made much like a walk-in cooler, with a post and beam frame and sandwiched wood/styrofoam (10” thick!), panels attached to the outside of the frame, including the roof. It has proven to be a very good investment, as my heating costs run about one-third of most similar-sized houses around here. My water-source heat pump died last spring after 21 years, and it’s now been replaced with an up-to-date version that’s even more efficient (“geothermal” now). The replacement—a Water Furnace unit—was quite expensive, but should have a very reasonable payback period, as it does more work than the old one but uses about 34% less electricity.

When we built the house we ran out of money, so after 10 years I bought a small pre-made storage shed, and then eight years later built a large garage. The ceiling-mounted heater was put in and hooked up late this summer, so now I finally have a warm place to work on vehicles/machinery in the winter!

Tell us about your vehicles:

I’ve been through a number of them, including a 1972 Blazer that I kept for 30 years, but I’ve gradually replaced all with high-efficiency vehicles. My wife drives an ’04 Toyota Matrix because she needs the 4WD. I now have an ’05 VW Jetta Wagon TDI diesel, which we use for all our trips. In addition, I have 4 antique Japanese motorcycles, which I use quite often (even in winter, if roads are dry). A small utility trailer works as a pickup truck behind the Jetta, and the tractor loves it as well.

Do you have any pets?

As I feel they’re easier to take care of and can be left on their own for brief periods, we’ve always had cats. Right now we have just one, who’s about 3 years old. Unfortunately, we’ve occasionally lost them over the years to fishers or coyotes; there’s quite a lot of wildlife up in these hills. We also have 9 laying chickens (we used to have 10—coyotes again) in a small chicken house that I built last summer. The fresh eggs are great! We let them out each afternoon to roam around to eat bugs and anything else they can find.

What’s something most TractorByNet members don’t know about you?

I’ve always been fascinated by language. When I was in the Army during the Vietnam “thing,” I was a Chinese translator. I still keep that up, and speak French fairly fluently as well. In addition, I speak a fair amount of Swedish and Japanese, along with bits of Russian, Finnish and German. It’s kind of a hobby. In the middle school, where I now work as an education assistant/math tutor, I actually use these languages almost every day.

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