Monday, August 15, 2011

A Farmer's Truck

These days most pickup trucks serve as nothing more than glorified transportation to and from the downtown office. There's nothing wrong with that, but I still ask my truck to put in a days work here on the farm and I need the sort of vehicle that will allow me to accomplish what I need done in a mostly reliable manner. We currently run a 2006 3/4 ton Chevy diesel with a manual shift transmission that I bought at a sale when it was two years old for half the money of a new one. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for at the time but, like our tractors, it is functional enough to get the job done for the moment.

There is a lot of truth to the statement "Where I go goes my truck." and I visit a lot of non-standard off road locations nearly every day. There aren't very many days that we don't hitch up a horse trailer, stock trailer, flatbed trailer or farm wagon at some point. At times I have asked it to haul my round baler, my discs and even the big fifteen foot bushhog. We sometimes use the truck as a form of go-to-town transportation, but it's primary use is as a functional tool that gets used in dirt, mud and slop. Because of that, neither the interior nor the exterior is ever "pristine"and the interior is NEVER without some of my tools. There are some tools I use often enough that the easiest way to ensure they are where I need them to be is to never remove them from the truck in the first place and I get pretty agitated when they aren't in their place.

The current contents of the truck include the following items. There are four snap rings, two cotter keys and a # 10 sprayer tip currently on the console. On the floorboards of the passenger side sits a three foot long pair of bolt cutters, a pair of fencing pliers, a pair of linesman's pliers, a pair of gloves, a roll of wire and one empty water bottle. My straw hat rests on the passenger seat with a spare t-shirt (or several in the summer). In the rear seat and on the right rear floorboard sits enough wooden fence post insulators and electric fence wire to do nearly three miles of fence. There is always a lead rope or two and a halter on the floor immediately behind the driver's seat in case I run on a situation involving horses or cows that requires immediate action.

I have a reese type trailer hitch with a 2 and one quarter inch ball as well as a wagon hitch currently sitting in the bed behind the cab, along with two or three implement pins, a hammer (necessary to remove implement pins), a crow bar, a roll of chain used to fasten gates and othr things plus a twenty foot logging chain. I also try to keep a couple of 3 inch wide ratchet straps and ratchets handy. Of course the stock trailer and horse trailer are 5th wheels, so my two and three quarter inch fifth wheel sits dead in the middle of the truck bed.

Minus the diesel engine, I remember that we bought the equivalent of this truck brand new in 1986 for a little less than $ 10,000, taxes included. I've been told that Grandpa bought the same truck in 1967 for a little less than $ 3000. I don't know about that, but I DO know that was the truck I learned to drive on ! Would that I could replicate either of those prices on a new farm truck today !


RuckusButt said...

Wow, that's a lot of stuff! But it makes sense to have it all on-hand. I do much the same, especially in the summer when I'm on my own. Only my "stuff" is less interesting.

I keep my vacuum on the main floor, unless I have company. Even though it's easy enough to bring it up from the basement, it's psychologically easier if it's on the main floor. I also perpetually have my electric drill charger on the kitchen counter and the electric weed wacker charger in the dining room. [aside - yes, I bought an electric weed wacker, much to my husband's chagrin. But I don't need more than an hour of charge and the weight is much easier for me to deal with, therefore the wacking actually gets done. So I don't care if the gas ones are better/more powerful/last longer. The lawnmover itself is gas and I love the beastly thing.]

My garden gloves and favorite pruning shears live on a corner of the counter next to the back door.

I also keep my basic exercise equipment (5 and 10lb weights, exercise ball, ankle weights) in the living room most of the time.

I keep a small vet kit in my car, mostly in case of lacerations to my dog while out exploring (which has happened). I just keep some clean pieces of cloth, vet wrap, and antibiotic cream, enough to get us to emergency. I hope.

So I'd say you are definitely being efficient and proactive.

Question - is it harder to find trucks that can really do the work, these days? I have the impression, perhaps misguided, that trucks today are made with aesthetics only and not the kind of work power that people who should own trucks need.

Jason said...

Amenities have definitely become more important; Grandpa thought it was pretty neat that his 1967 3/4 ton Chevy came with a radio and a heater ! Most half ton and smaller trucks today are built for light duty usage; great for commuting to work with an occasional trip to Home Depot, your local farmer's Co-op or a horse show.

That said, you can still buy a heavy truck that's mostly designed for construction or agricultural applications if you move away from half tons and look at 3/4 ton and one ton trucks. I just wish I could find one with a rubber floor instead of carpet so I could pressure wash it out. Whoever decided to put carpet in a work truck was a royal dumbass.

Owd Fred said...

And even the big fifteen foot bushhog.???

Jason, what is a fifteen foot bushhog, its not a term used in my part of the world.
But I can relate to all you chuck in your pickup, and when the dirt get thick enough it will peel off itself when the sun come out.
Landrovers are the most popular 4x4 over here, tho I've out lasted three of them.

Jason said...

Owd Fred;

Bush hog is a brand of rotary cutter. We use them to clip pastures, chop corn stalks, etc. Mine is a heavy duty model, and in thick grass it'll make our 4x4 7610Ford tractor whine and smoke.

I'm too lazy to put up a picture at the minute but if you type Bush Hog 2615L into a search engine you can get a gander at it !

Owd Fred said...

Jason I've got one myself, two horizontal blades to whack anything that gets in its way, we use it to top pastures and on meadows topping rushes. it's just a 10 foot one.

Owd Fred said...

Jason I've got one myself, two horizontal blades to whack anything that gets in its way, we use it to top pastures and on meadows topping rushes. it's just a 10 foot one.

Funder said...

Jason - re: carpet in a work truck - it's ridiculously hard to buy a proper work truck. My dad's last half-ton (he's a carpenter, but same general idea) had to be custom ordered from the factory. He did not want to pay for power windows, a CD player, rear window defroster, carpeted floorboards, etc. And it seems like most people would rather buy a slightly used truck for half the price of a new one - that means you're going to get standard carpet.

I would pay extra - a lot extra - for those triangular vent windows. Those things were amazing and I miss them!