Katie’s first mow

Our niece Katie and her husband Andy recently returned to the family farm. Katie is trading her city girl roots for Andy’s deep roots as the fifth generation of our family farm. Today she’s learning how to operate a tractor and rotary cutter to get the weeds under control at their place, Ten Men Farm. She’s getting her “I can mow!” farm girl badge today!

Angela Kay Larson
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Weeds are as High as a Cow’s Eye

The weeds were taking over the pasture.

The weeds were taking over the pasture.

On our farm, every decision and delay has a direct impact, and domino effect, on everything else. Our fencing project was delayed due to the wet weather, which meant the cows couldn’t go into the front pasture, which led to the back pasture being a bit overgrazed, which caused the front pasture to grow too long. Wow!

 

These flowers are easier to pick than the thistles.

These flowers are easier to pick than the thistles.

Now we’re dealing with blooming thistles and weeds taller than the baby calves. The little boys think the thistle flowers are beautiful and even tried to pick some to accompany my dandelion and violet bouquet. Unfortunately, the thorns stymied them.

Big weeds called for bringing in the big guns. We would typically use our small rotary cutter to cut the 10-acre pasture, but this job was a little more than it could handle.

Enter the Woods Batwing 180. This 15-foot Batwing is about 10 years old but still tackling everything thrown it’s way. It even made short work of a plastic bucket that ended up in the field.

Happy cows. Beautiful pasture. And hopefully, a stop to the domino-effect.

Woods Batwing tackling the tough weeds.

Woods Batwing tackling the tough weeds.

 

And They’re Off …

Mowing isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. That’s especially true with the large lawns, ditches and road frontage most small farmers tackle every summer. Mowers are expected to move easily through grass that was left just one rain storm too long, go long distances between fill-ups and yet be comfortable enough to ride for hours A mower is a long-term investment.

Sometimes the grass gets really long!

Sometimes the grass gets really long!

On our farm, the new Woods FZ22K is the first new mower we’ve owned in 23 years of farming. I must say that we are impressed with how it handles the quarter-mile driveway, one acre yard and all the pasture edging and ditches that must be maintained.

But now we’re even more impressed and looking forward to our long “run’ with our Mow’n Machine.

Recently we posted asking for your “tough job” stories and one stood out as a true testament to product quality, engineering and overall toughness.

James S. sent in pictures of his 1987 1250 Mow’n Machine. Here’s what he had to tell us.

1987 Mow'n Machine still gets the job done.

1987 Mow’n Machine still gets the job done.

“I recently purchased my first ZTR, and it happened to be a WOODS.  It isn’t the newest model, but it is was what I could afford.  I love it.  I am able to do maintenance, and what I don’t know I can learn to do.  I think it speaks well of the WOODS brand, and the quality of their product, and its ability to stand the test of time.”

When a mower can last 27 years and still do the job, that’s a good investment.

We also have a neighbor who owns a 2008 Mow’n Machine, so maybe we’ll have to stage the Mower Olympics during our 4th of July festivities. The kids are already sharing their ideas for events. I don’t think drag-racing will make the cut!

Share your “Tough Jobs” story with us here or on the Woods Equipment Company Facebook page.  https://www.facebook.com/WoodsEquipmentCompany

 

 

Photo shoots — why I love my job!

While my weeks are mostly filled with meetings, spreadsheets and endless email streams, a few times a year I get out of the office and into the field. This is one of those weeks. A team of creatives, engineers, product managers, and other assorted talent gathered at our farm yesterday to capture video and photography of the new Woods rear blades and landscape rakes.

As a marketer, I spend more time in a seat behind a desk than in the seat of a tractor, but photo shoots change all that. What’s better than promoting a new product? Actually putting that new product in the dirt!

Planning the Next Video Shot

Planning the Next Video Shot

In the past two days, we’ve bladed dirt over a trench where the septic line settled, cleaned up edges along the gravel lane, and mowed a waterway with the new Woods RC-Series Cutter (when you’ve got a crew available, might as well capture as much footage as you can!).

Both the blade and the rake are amazingly versatile, but we found more uses for the rake than I had originally imagined. We also cleared gravel from the grass (remnants from this winter’s snow plowing), smoothed small gullies in the sandy soil along the slope behind the new shed, and gathered rocks and sticks that had collected on a particularly messy part of the lane.

The nature of photo shoots is that you start a lot of projects, but don’t really finish them since you need to move to the next set-up for another shot. When the crew is done, I’m hoping to hang on to the blade and rake through the weekend to finish what we started. Afterall, the weatherman is predicting sunshine for  Saturday and Sunday and weekends typically offer more tractor time than desk time.

AKL

Things are looking up!

The corn is up. The fence is up. The kids are out of school. So, summer is officially here.

The fence is up and now the corn is up, too.

The fence is up and now the corn is up, too.

We are happy to report that the fence is finally done. We ended up with 1,075 feet of 5-strand barbed wire, 85 t-posts, 29 wooden posts and two metal gates.

That should keep the cows out of the corn this fall and keep the neighbors happy.

 

Putting in wooden posts is not our favorite job. We usually dig the holes by hand, drop the big, heavy post in the hole and then fill in around it.

Digging the last hole!

Digging the last hole!

This time we had the luxury of using the Woods PHD65 post hole digger with a 12-inch auger. It worked great! Each hole took just a few minutes to dig and even when we hit a rock, we could power right through. It was easy to attach and, with the parking stand, we could even be confident that is was secure when it was off the tractor.

As soon as the fence was finished we were able to let the cows out into the succulent, fresh grass. They were so excited they didn’t know where to start. I’m just happy they were able to get out in that pasture and we don’t have to worry about them escaping.

Enjoy, Girls!

Rolling hills and fresh grass. A smorgasbord for cows.

Rolling hills and fresh grass. A smorgasbord for cows.