This month we feature Jim from Texas and find out about his tractors, property, and kittens… yes, kittens!
Posts: 11,450 (#6 all-time)
Tractor Make & Model: NHTC45D, Ford Jubilee
Lot Size: 33 ac, 70% oak, + lake
Location: Wise County, Texas; south of the town of Sunset
How long have you been a member of TractorByNet.com?
I joined in Feb. 2001, after several months of lurking. I found TBN while searching for tractor information before the purchase of my New Holland TC45D.
What do you like best about TractorByNet.com?
There are three things I like equally about TBN: 1) The people, 2) Sharing information, 3) Excellent moderation
What type of tractor(s) do you own?
My primary and only real tractor is my NH TC45D. My lawn tractors are a 1995 Kubota G1800 Diesel and a 2008 John Deere LA145. In addition to that, I have a non-working 1954 Ford NAA tractor, an Oliver 105 and a Gilson Hydro-16 lawn tractor in need of restoration. Another restoration project is a 3-wheel Jacobsen T-1000 Turf Truck.
How long have you owned or operated tractors?
I think I was 9 when I first started driving my family owned Ferguson TO-20. That would make it 1956 on my family farm in Denton, Texas.
What do you enjoy most about tractors?
A tractor is a tool that helps me shape my environment and maintain it far beyond my personal physical abilities.
How often do you use your tractor?
I use it at least weekly during the winter and almost daily during the spring, summer, and fall.
Tell us about your property (how much acreage, home, buildings, etc):
In 1992, I first bought 11 acres in a bid sale by the Texas Veterans Land Board. I then purchased two other tracts that had not sold in that sale. The land was completely unimproved with only telephone and electrical service along the county road. While there was a 15 acre soil conservation lake on the back side of my property, no roads or trails existed. It was like an adventure through the wilderness to find the waterfront.
I bought a used 1954 Ford NAA with a boxblade and rotary cutter to start taming the “jungle.” I started by camping overnight in a tent, then a pickup camper, and finally a small travel trailer. The biggest improvement came with drilling a well, building a cabin, and installing a septic system in 2000. After buying my tractor in 2001 and clearing my home site, I was ready to build my house in 2002.
About the same time, I met my wife and won her heart by taking her on a tour of my fields of spring bluebonnets. In June of 2005, we were married in Paradise, Texas. I think the name of the town is appropriate. We have sold her old house and property plus one of my 11 acre tracts. Later this year, we will build a shop as our final planned permanent structure.
Tell us about your vehicles (trucks, trailers, ATVs, etc.):
In December 1995, I purchased a 1996 Dodge ¾ ton Cummins Diesel pickup. After 370k miles, it’s still my workhorse hauler. I don’t haul my tractor anymore because it has outgrown my 18’ tandem axle 7000 lb gvwr trailer. Last year my sweet wife bought me a 12 foot, 14,000 lb gvwr dump trailer. It has been ideal as a dirt hauler to build up my garden spot and will see duty for many future projects. Our daily workhorse is a 2004 model Kawasaki Mule. I purchased it as a Christmas present for my wife about 1-1/2 years before our wedding. I think she loves that Mule as much as I love my tractor.
Do you have any pets? Tell us about them:
Last year, a momma cat and three kittens appeared at our door. Later in the week, a tomcat also showed up. He was obviously the father of the other kittens. All five kittens had been dumped and were skinny, hungry, and helpless. Even though I’ve never been a cat person, I just could not let this family suffer. We say that we took them in, but I think it was they who adopted us. After many trips to the vet for shots and neutering, all five kitties have settled into residence. They romp and play outside during the day and faithfully return to our garage at night to sleep safely, well fed after their evening meal of canned cat food.
What sort of modifications or customization have you done to your tractor?
I’ve added TnT to the 3PH and built a grapple onto my 5’ rock bucket. Other than that, my tractor and implements are all unmodified. However, having three remote hydraulics added as an option has been great for productivity.
What sort of tools, attachments or equipment do you use with your tractor on a regular basis? Tell us about them:
16LA FEL with skid-steer quick attach and front hydraulic remote connection: 6’ bucket with toothbar, 5’ smooth-lip bucket, rock bucket/grapple, round bale spear, 3PH implement adapter, forks.
3PH implements: Two old boxblades, rear angle blade, row cultivator, dirt scoop, middle buster, sub-soiler, two-bottom plow, 6’ KK tiller, 5’ rotary cutter, two post-hole augers, two boom poles.
My FEL and boxblades are probably the most used, but my rotary cutter would be a close second to the boxblades.
What do you mainly use your tractor for?
I use it for grading, hauling, mowing, towing, tilling, lifting, sifting, digging, and fencing. If it can be put into one of those categories, I will use the tractor.
Do you maintain crops? For hobby or agricultural purpose? Which crops?
I do no business agriculture and grow no crops. I mow my property to keep down brush and undergrowth to allow native grasses to thrive.
Do you keep livestock? Tell us about it:
I don’t keep livestock, but I do encourage wildlife conservation in the management of my land.
What do you like/dislike about the area you live in?
I think the dusty gravel road and dry/hot conditions in Jul/Aug are probably my only real irritations. When you live in the country, you have to learn to accept that other people won’t have your same values and you can only control what you own.
What sort of terrain is common in your area?
Because we live around a small lake, our property slopes toward the lake and has hills and valleys. We are about 950’ above sea level and most of the surrounding countryside is gently rolling farmland.
What sort of trees and vegetation are common in your area?
Our most common forests are postoak, and blackjack oak native forests as well as cottonwood, willow, and pecan trees in creek and river bottoms. To a lesser degree along creeks and fencelines you find hackberry, honey locust, and elms that become much more common just a few miles east of our location. Most of our open field areas will overgrow with cedars and mesquite if left fallow. Cedars and liveoaks provide our winter greenery.
Not far from our property is the LBJ National Grasslands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyndon_B._Johnson_National_Grassland) These 20,000+ acres are dedicated to preservation of native grasses and the wildlife they attract.
What’s something most TractorByNet members don’t know about you?
When I went to boot camp training in the U.S. Navy in 1968, I was selected as a member of the Recruit Training Bluejacket Choir. On August 2nd, we went to Soldier’s Field in Chicago and sang The National Anthem before the College All-star game in August of that year. This was a game that used to be played between the best college football players and the winners of the previous years Super Bowl. That year, the Green Bay Packers beat the College All-Stars by a score of 34 to 17.
After boot camp, I went onto a career in the US Navy and retired as a Chief Petty Officer. My specialty was maintenance of guided missile radar, computer, and weapons systems. I’ve included a photo of me in my younger days while sitting in front of my radar console.