In which horses try to follow me home, and we get a blue tractor

I didn't get to keep any of the horses, just so you know the most important information immediately.

I was driving home on Highway 530--a rural 2-lane road that runs between I-5 and the furthest outposts of civilization on this side of the mountain--when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a bunch of dumb horses with no-one to steer.

True thing: somebody left the gate open on one of the larger horse and cattle farms near Oso, and the horses decided to find out for themselves if the grass really IS greener on the other side of the fence. Unfortunately, traffic on the "other side of the fence" travels at 55mph+ and is not interested in slowing down for any reason...not even to make way for a 1,200 pound animal blocking the lane.

Fortunately, it was easy to see which gate was open, and the horses were quite willing to be herded back into their lush grassy pasture, and as soon as they were safely inside with the gate properly closed, the owner showed up and thanked me profusely. Like, I could see 15 horses beside the highway and just keep driving? Uhm, no. But thanks for the appreciation. I know I appreciate people who help stray critters, so it's okay.

No photos, sorry. I was too busy making sure nobody got hit by cars.

Meanwhile, Jim and Willy were out shopping for tractors.

We've looked at a couple of really old tractors, but they were mostly SO huge that they were actually too big for the job...and then there would be the problem of where a huge tractor would sleep at night (I know, I know: anywhere it wants to). After doing some research and some more creative financing, Jim negotiated a good deal on a used Misubishi D1650 tractor.

For those who want to know the mechanical details of the tractor, this paragraph is for you (everyone else can skip down). The D1650 is a grey-market tractor about 9 feet long from stem to stern, not including the loader which adds another 3-4 feet to the length. It's a 20 horsepower, 4-cylinder diesel tractor (and will run on biodiesel, if we ever get organized enough to make some) with 9 forward gears and 3 reverse gears. The tractor we're buying is a 2-wheel drive with about 745 hours on it, and it has a loader on the front. The tires have longer "paddles" than a normal agricultural tractor tire--these are apparently called "rice paddy tires"...which seems appropriate for a tractor in the Swamplands!

We will have to buy a 5' brush hog attachment for it, if you know anybody who is selling one.

Jim located youtube video of a similar tractor working somewhere in Eastern Europe (Poland? I can't tell what language is indicated by the notes!) You can watch that tractor here. The tractor in the video would probably have benefitted from rice paddy tires--that soil is very deep!

For those who don't care so much about the mechanical stuff: It can bucket up dirt, rocks, haybales, and snow. We need to get the attachment for mowing the fields. And we'll rent the attachment for drilling post holes.

It's blue.

We haven't named it yet.


  1. Oh baby! That is a thing of BEAUTY, I tell ya! I even love those ginormous tires...GOT TREAD?
    So happy you got those horses back too!

  2. Congrats on the tractor! You might want a 4' rather than 5' brush hog for 20hp -- it would be much easier to operate. We have a 4' and our old 23hp Ford could manage it, but I would not have wanted a 5' back there. Looking forward to hearing the name!

  3. The name "Smurf" has been suggested, but I don't think that has quite the connotation of controlled strength that I am aiming towards....


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