Our April Featured Member of the Month article is bittersweet, as we bid farewell to a long-time staff member,
JDFanatic/Geof has been our resident staff writer and reviewer here at MTF since 2011, and a member since the very beginning... While he's not leaving us, Geof is moving out of his staff position to spend more time traveling with his family... Who knows, maybe we'll get an international article or two from JDFanatic while he's freelancing around the globe! On to more about Geof!
Our tractoring began in 87’ when we purchased a CT property with some land that included a moderate to severe slope. Having come from a condo, first order was to purchase a tractor to take care of the acreage. With little knowledge of what was needed, we ordered a Sears Craftsman II, which turned out—no fault of the manufacturer—to be the absolute wrong machine for the application. Within two weeks the engine had died due to oil starvation (slope). Sears offered to fix the tractor, but the backlog at the time would have meant months of not being able to maintain the lawn. A testament to Sears was that they could pick up the tractor and refund the purchase price within a few days.
We then visited a small John Deere dealership who sold 100 and 200 series machines, and though they recommended the entry level 100 series tractor with pressurized lubrication, we went with a 185 hydro with 46” deck. That tractor turned out to be well matched for our property and saw many years of trouble-free duty.
We share a driveway a little over an 1/8 mile with one neighbor. For the first years, we hired out snow plowing. At that time, we didn’t think a tractor was a viable option over the long drive. When that neighbor relocated and a new one moved in, their first purchase was a John Deere 318 with attachments that included a plow. To our surprise, the combination handled the snow removal quite well. This caused us to rethink the possibilities of maintaining our property and soon the 185 was replaced by a 755.
With open eyes around the time of the Internet explosion, we turned to forums for more information about using our new machine and its attachments. Gardenweb and several other forums had sprung up and were good places to start. When one of those sites that a number of us frequented went down with no explanation and we learned of mytractorforum.com that had just gone live, we were early joinees. That was March of 2005 and JDFANATIC became something like member 41. What we learned from each other in those early years was priceless and the friends we made were too many to list. Before we knew it, there were something like 75,000 members and 1MM posts. That success though had a cost. Every other day it seemed, there were server issues, outages, and other site hiccups. Though controversial at the time, the site’s future needed bigger pockets, real IT folks, and fulltime professional management.
Having been a moderator for many years—admittedly less active then some of our mods who invest amazing amounts of time on the forum—an opportunity was presented by the new purchaser Vertical Scope to write reviews for their tractor.com and atv.com sites. I already freelanced from time to time, so agreed to write an article every-so-often. Every-so-often soon turned out to be weekly (chuckle). And so, from 2011 until 2018, 352 articles resulted. Each week a link would be posted here on mytractorforum.com, not to call attention to the writer, but to try to get the latest news to our members. Hopefully those articles helped members make decisions, and/or just get to know what was available. Now in our 60s and wanting to spend more time on family and travel, our time here has slowly dwindled to the point where it was necessary to step down from forum moderation. We do this with mixed emotions but are confident what will come out of it will be a renewed energy and commitment to continue the mission of being the friendliest tractor forum for the people and by the people. We won’t be strangers, just less frequent visitors. And those of you who we got to know personally, feel free to stop by and kick some tractor tires. 😊