Monday, November 9, 2015

Plow, Loader, Grapple, Winch

Checking out a Kabota in West Lebanon.

New England’s famed Yankee ingenuity and a do-it-yourself attitude thrives in this neck of the New Hampshire woods. So much so that I’ve nicknamed Canaan can-do country. The canning section of the hardware store or supermarket is more than a gratuitous seasonal display. It is the necessary supplies for many to put away the year’s garden production—tomato sauce, pickles, or sauerkraut (my fave). Three-quarters of the vehicles on the road (and at Papa Z’s convenience store) are pickup trucks, and for good reason. You might have to haul a pallet of pellets for your stove, lime for the garden, or stones for a driveway repair.

Then there is that necessary other vehicle. Not a luxury sedan or even an ATV, the work horse replacement, a tractor.

“You gotta getta Kabota,” we heard repeatedly from our new New Hampshire friends. It had poetry to it. Doug didn’t argue, although he did check out the competition and run a cost analysis before settling on the New Hampshire gold standard for tractors. Kubota, which began as a Japanese metal foundry in 1890, developed a Japanese farm tractor in the 1960 and entered the US tractor market in 1972, filling the need for compact high-performance four-wheel-drive tractors.

Doug coming down the driveway.
(All photos by author except where noted.)

Comfy seat. New tractor smell. 
Never did I imagine in my entire life that I would get excited about a tractor. But I am. Striking orange paint, comfy seat, and lots of power controls. But, more important, power to move things—rocks, stumps, trees, dirt, mountains. Okay, not mountains, but definitely large mounds.

There is no end to the number of implements one can purchase for a tractor. One major company’s 110-page catalog offers an array of mowers, cutters, seeders, scrapers, diggers, grinders, rollers, spreaders. rakes, seeders, and snow pushers. Financial prudence dictates the limit of implements one purchases as a tractor novice. And so we come to loader, bucket, plow, grapple, winch, and the basics of tractor mechanics.

Grapple attached to loader.
The loader is the huge set of arms in the front that accommodates other implements to move things horizontally or vertically or both. You attach a plow (a snow pusher in tractor talk) to the front to move snow and pile it up. Or you use a bucket attached to the loader to move a heap of rocks. The grapple, also attached to the loader,  gives your tractor a pair of thumbs in the front so you can secure some large object like a log and move it where you want it instead of where the storm put it. All those implements (and many others) go on the front.
The power take-off or PTO on the back uses a drive shaft to convert spinning power to other motion and handles a multitude of implements—cutters, spreaders, tillers, backhoes, and in our instance a winch. The winch (a Wallenstein Bush Pilot, made in Canada) will allow Doug to pull a log or fallen tree out of the woods with 135 feet of 3/8 inch steel cable and a load capacity of 8,000 pounds.

Big guy. Serious pulling power. 
We just may have a county fair tractor-pulling champion in the making. See you in North Haverhill next July!  


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I want a RIDE!!!! Congrats on the new vehicle! (I love the comment about the new tractor smell!)

  3. Expect taking a some longer with significant and intensive pulls operating with a less expensive winch. Keep an eye fixed out for metal, not plastic, items within the winch Click Here.