Name: John, aka UrbanTractor
Join date: Feb, 2010
Member number: # 38663
What city, and state, do you live in? Metro Washington DC
Are you married? Yes, with three kids.
How old are you? Mid-40s
Military service? No. But was raised in a military family. I have the very highest respect for those that serve.
How did you come to join MTF?
That’s a serendipitous story.
A few winters back, during a snowy excursion to a local shopping mall, I was in the parking lot and noticed these very cool tractors. Turned out, it was a fleet of Kubota BX SCUTs, outfitted with Curtis Cabs, strobes, snowblowers, rotary brooms, FELs, etc. They were making short work of the snow removal tasks on the sidewalks. I was intrigued.
This percolated in my mind for a while, and eventually I started doing some internet research. Which eventually led me to MTF, where I began lurking and reading up.
The following winter (2009/2010) we really got clobbered here in the mid-Atlantic with three major snowstorms. Literally, piles of snow. I was frustrated by the lack of snow removal assets in the area, and sore from shoveling. I thought back to those tractors I had seen at the shopping mall. I decided to formally join MTF and started my very first thread: BX1860 For Urban Snow Removal? [link= [url]http://www.mytractorforum.com/showthread.php?t=114089[/url] ]
From there, I tried to learn as much as I could about the various SCUT and Super GT offerings. Over time I became pretty familiar with the terminology and specs, as well as some of the pros and cons of many JD and Kubota models. For that, I want to especially thank guys like Volfandt, JDFanatic, BlindRef, CHDinCT, BPFink, Sergeant, EngineTech and many many others who patiently answered questions and shared their vast knowledge and experience.
What are your favorite forums and why?
The CUT-Hut, especially the JD and Kubota CUT sub-forums. Also, the JD L> forum, as well as the Backyard Round Table. But I dabble in anything that strikes my interest.
What do you like most about MTF?
I really like the friendly atmosphere, the knowledgeable members, and the helpful exchange of info. I’ve even had a chance to meet up with a couple of members (Glockem and Theo – great guys both!), and there are many more I’d be happy to meet someday. Guys like HarryC, Rubadub (Rob), Jere39, Slkpk, POENY, Cementhead, ColonyPark, APinNY, DDogg, ggsteve, PA318guy, Stladrill, LittleTractorGuy (and Gal!), and many other nice folks, including those young’uns Dan33 and Hugh. Let me add that I am honored to be chosen as a featured member, amongst all these great contributors.
Please list your tractors and/or equipment:
Well I’m relatively new to this hobby, so it’s a pretty short list:
First there’s the 1966 JD 110 (Round Fender), equipped with an integral sleeve hitch, and outfitted with a slew of “brass-tag” attachments (Model 80 Cart, Model 36 Snowthrower, Model 42 Blade, Model 38 Mower Deck). Okay, so I like brass.
Then there’s the 1972 JD 140 H3, with a Model 54 4-way Blade, Model 48 Mower Deck, and a Three-Point Hitch (3PH).
That’s mainly it – not counting a few surprises hidden in the garage. Here are a few photos of each. This first one seems especially appropriate for a December FMOM:
And one with them together:
What is your favorite tractor or piece of equipment and why?
Oh man, that’s almost like asking to choose a favorite child. I like both tractors for different reasons. No question the 140 H3 is a more versatile workhorse, with a lot of capability derived from the 3-spools of hydraulics available. It also doesn’t hurt that the 140 has been fully restored (by a very skilled previous owner) and is practically like new. I find the looks to be really classic and appealing, along with the round headlights and the hand operated hydro transmission and hydraulic controls:
But there is something about the 110 Round Fender. It represents JDs first garden tractor product, and is in original condition (with rebuilt engine). Yes, it clearly has done some chores in its day, but it’s not a beater or rust bucket either. It’s an honest worker with a can-do attitude, even with the mechanical lift, 4-speed transaxle and the quirky ground-speed variator. It is a hoot to drive and just looks awesome -- to me anyway:
As for favorite equipment or attachments, I’d have to go with the JD Model 80 Cart. It gets more use than anything else by far. Very handy to have around, even on my tiny property. It was pricey, but worth every penny. Did I mention that I like brass?
Is there a tractor or piece of equipment you'd love to own someday?
Well, I first came here to MTF asking about the Kubota BX SCUTs, and I still hope to add one to the stable someday. They are not the fanciest or most feature-rich SCUTs, but they are a good value and remind me of these old JDs – tough and made of metal. The new BX—70 Series looks to be a real game changer in the SCUT market, what with the rumored 3PH Re-Position Control (RPC) and gyroscopic stabilization.
But, I think I will have to wait for a bigger property before that happens. Through MTF, I learned about these capable (and affordable!) older GTs, and I expect they will do all I need for the time being.
In the meanwhile, I hope to add a mini-bucket/loader for the 140 H3. I will probably sell off the 4-Way snow blade, and another Model 43 blade that I have been refurbing, and put the money toward a CTC L’il Digger or a Buford Bucket. We’ll see – it all costs money, which is tight right now!
I’d also like to get a Cat 0 Heavy Hitch for the 3PH, and maybe a rear blade. But we’re in the middle of a kitchen renovation – did I mention that money is tight right now?
Tell us some of the tasks you use your tractors and/or equipment for?
Well, the original reason for purchasing the tractors was snow removal. But after those dumpings a couple years back, wouldn’t you know snow has been scarce. So I try to exercise them as much as possible, mostly doing cart duty. I’ve even been known to mow the grass with the 140 – which is kind of ridiculous given the size of our yard.
I also have this little urban firewood operation, where I scavenge wood from the neighborhood that would otherwise be chipped-up for mulch. If I spot a pile of good oak curbside, I’ll hook up the Model 80 Cart and take the tractor for a little jaunt, sometimes hauling it a few miles (round trip). I get a lot of funny looks from the local urbanites!
There is more wood being thrown away around here than I can use. Having grown up where wood heat and firewood were valuable, it’s hard to leave it at the curbside. But I don’t have enough space to take it all. As it is, I sometimes will deliver a cartload of split wood to friends – just to move it along, make space, and of course drive the tractors!
And here is some haul from the post-Sandy storm clean-up. That’s all oak:
Could you describe your property for us?
Well, at the risk of being snickered off MTF -- my property is slightly more than 5000 square feet. That’s not a typo, folks, it’s “five thousand” square feet. Now maybe you better understand my handle, “UrbanTractor.” L This is a tight, congested, bedroom community in Metro DC. As a tractor owner, I am very much an anomaly.
I have a small 8.5’x 18’ garage -- most of you would call it a shed -- that is packed full. Inside, it looks a lot like some of the other guys’ sheds I’ve seen here on MTF! J I keep all the heavy stuff on moving pallets, so I roll it all out into the driveway for projects, which frees up space. Believe it or not, I park a tractor and cart in here:
And here is a little teaser photo, in which the keen observer may note some future projects for the 140 H3:
Is there something you'd love to build or restore someday?
Someday, when I have a larger shop space, I would like to restore the ’66 110 and make it “parade ready.” Until then, I will enjoy it as is.
Earliest tractor memories?
Growing up, we had a 2-acre property with about 1.5+ acres of lawn to mow, which we tackled with a Motomower and later an Ariens. Eventually those both went kaput, and we ended up push mowing because money was tight and we couldn’t afford a replacement tractor. My brothers and I also mowed many similar sized properties in the neighborhood, mostly with push mowers. Looking back, if we had scratched up enough money to buy a replacement tractor, we would have made a good return on investment since we would have been much more efficient/productive. But you have to understand, I was getting typically $3-5 to mow these properties. It’s not like we had a lot of cash flow!
Here’s a photo of the old Motomower, before it went to scrap this past spring. Made in Ontario by Dura. I think it was a mid-late-60s vintage. I should have saved it, or at least that nice pan seat:
Most memorable tractor moment?
Well, this is kind of a bad memory. But growing up, neighborhood buddies and I had this on-going rivalry concerning our lawn tractors and horsepower. For a long time our 8 hp Motomower had worn the crown. But then a buddy’s father went out and got this huge (to us) Gravely walk behind. Can’t remember the HP, but it beat ours out easily.
One day my buddy was showing it off to me, and when he took a break I snagged the key while he wasn’t looking. I thought this would be a funny prank, and figured I’d hand it back to him after his moment of panic. We wandered away to look at something else that had distracted us, and next thing I know his very stern father is standing at the Gravely with an irritated expression. “Tommy”, he growled, “where is the key?” I had to produce it from my pocket, which I suppose made me look like a thief. I always avoided his father after that. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why I avoid the Gravely forum here on MTF?
Do you have any other hobbies or interests that you'd like to share with us?
After my family, one of my foremost passions is cycling. I try to get out and ride at least 100 miles per week, year round, with a typical weekday ride somewhere between 20-30 miles. Around here, we are fortunate to have an extensive trail system, so very little of my riding is on streets. Sometimes I fall short of my distance goals due to weather or a busy schedule, but other times I exceed them, so it generally works out to about 5000 miles a year or so on the bicycle. In the past year, I have had to throttle back quite a bit due to some health issues, but I am trying to keep at it. I also enjoy the mechanics of cycling, and help many friends with maintenance and upgrades on their bicycles. Keeps me out of trouble for the most part.
Here’s a self-portrait taken a few months ago on a 35-mile ride: See picture on front page of "Washington Post" above!
Another thing I like about cycling, is there’s always something interesting along the way. Here’s a cool old tractor I passed last year:
What do the other people in your life think of your "tractor" hobby?
“Tractoring” is more of a side hobby for me – there just aren’t enough opportunities to use them around here so it’s mostly dabbling. I envy all you guys with property and acreage. But I really do enjoy my time using these machines and learning from others about them. And I get a lot of satisfaction from simply owning these older “collectables,” too.
But as for what others think? Ha! Suffice to say, I am the butt of MANY jokes. What I just need is one monster snow storm to trim their wings. I suppose we can always hope -- and after all winter is coming.