Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chinese New Year Begins

It's the year of the dog. In fifteen days: the lantern festival.

Yesterday, we went ATV shopping. It was fun. I'm looking for a small utility vehicle with four wheel drive and serious tires which can get me up and down the hills and valleys of this farm.

For a couple of years I've been thinking that it would be very helpful to be able to get quickly to the pastures where the cows and goats graze to check on them. Fences need to be checked periodically also and it is very tiring for an old lady to walk the periphery of 120 acres of rolling land.

I don't want one of those things that you have to ride like a motorcycle -- or a horse. I want regular seats. A seatbelt seems like a really good idea when you're being jostled around over rocks -- although I was shocked to find that most of these rugged little vehicles do not have them as standard equipment. Another shock was the prices of these things. It occurs to me that I could buy a used four-wheel drive truck for the same price I'd pay for a new ATV with a small truck bed. I'm thinking I may be able to get an ATV that is perhaps smaller and more agile, however. On the other hand, trucks are enclosed, have windshields and windshield wipers as standard features and, of course, seatbelts. I'm obviously on the fence here.

So far, I drove a Gator, Kawasaki Mule, Yamaha Rhino, and Polaris Ranger. If there are persons out there with experience with these models or other similar utility ATVs, I'd treasure your input.

Some of these vehicles can be purchased with a camouflage surface. It costs extra! I've been musing about this. If I wear an old Army camo jacket (as I do) and drive a camo ATV, would I be invisible? A stealth farmer?

Imagine what I could learn about livestock and wildlife if I zoomed along the pastures and woods unseen!

Hunters, evidently, like the four-seater camouflage ATVs. They even buy matching camo outfits. I can just imagine the deer falling on the ground laughing as the hunters arrive in the loud vehicle with their matching camo outfits -- and bright orange caps and vests.


angel said...

Sweet serendipity -- I found your blog by simply clicking "next random blog." I very much enjoyed your site and will continue to stop in. I grew up in a very rural area but now live in the city. I just started blogging (perkasiedirt.blogspot), and I found most of my thoughts have turned to my horse-farm roots.
Thanks for the lovely site...

Anonymous said...

I also have a small farm (80 acres) and am looking for a utility vehicle. I test drove a Kawasaki Mule 3010 and also a Yamaha Rhino 450. In addition to test driving, I have also done a lot of research online. There are some sites that give information on the most popular utility vehicles for easier comparison purposes. My personal favorite utility vehicle choice is the Yamaha Rhino. You are right that they all are expensive, and I also thought about just getting a small pickup. BUT, the pickup would not be as nimble and able to manuveur around tight spots as well as a more compact utility vehicle. I will use my utility vehicle for pulling a 60 gallon trailer sprayer for killing weeds along dirt roads and edges of fields. So, smaller and more manuveurable utility vehicles sounded better to me. Also, a pickup with a bigger engine should gobble more gas, and with the way gas prices are these days, that can really add up too. Personally, I have chosen a Yamaha Rhino 450 (less expensive than the Rhino 660), and at the time of writing this, I am still eagerly waiting for the dealer to get it.