Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Rural Toy Store...

Normally in early February we spend a week to ten days in Key West. By that time, we're weary of the drudgery of winter, the gray days and lack of color, and we're more than ready for sun, sand and ocean waves. Here are a few shots of what it was like last year.
Mornings can be a little chilly, but the flora is still tropical.
Everywhere you look you find something, often exotic, in bloom.
Every morning we start our day with a bicycle ride around the island, choosing a new place for
breakfast each time, then head to the beach for the rest of the day. 
Once Big Daddy returns from another bike ride to our favorite Cuban restaurant to pick up grouper sandwiches for
our lunch, the wildlife gathers on the beach to wait patiently for the bread pieces we toss them.
This year we decided to forego Key West and take a "stay-cation" at Le Rustique. There were a whole lot of reasons it made sense:

  • Our winter has been mild and not as miserably cold as usual. 
  • We've had more sunny days than normal for this time of year, and we planned to sit on the deck and get a Rocky Mountain tan. (In case you're wondering, I made up that term when I lived in Colorado and Wyoming. It's where you put on your bathing suit and warm boots, recline in the sun on a lounge chair and cover yourself with a couple down comforters. Then you peel back the comforters as the heat of the sun allows. When you get too cold, you cover up again until you're warm, and you repeat the process. It works better in the Rockies, because you're at least a mile closer to the sun and the air is dry. But hey, we're game.)
  • We added insulated siding to the farm house, replaced an old wood stove, added energy-efficient wood windows throughout - and it seemed like a good time to test how much cozier those things would make the old house.
  • And most importantly, it would give us a chance to see how we'll manage living there together full-time.

Well, you know what they say about best-laid plans. 

While all those vacationers in Key West were enjoying beautiful warm days and calm waters, mid-Missouri was getting rain, snow, and more rain. I gotta tell ya, the weather was miserable, but we had no trouble co-existing or finding ways to stay entertained. 

And how do you keep a man entertained? No, you're wrong. I'm talking about a man our age. You take him to as many toy stores as you can. We started out at this one.
You can't tell it's raining, but I assure you I'm using my backside to dry off this seat.

Big Daddy opts to forego the seat I dried off in order to try out the fit of a bigger one. Naturally.
From here we were off to the Kubota store, because we're not just kicking tires. We're in the market for a tractor so we can get more jobs done at Le Rustique. We decided to skip the John Deere store once we found out that you pay a considerable premium for all that pretty green paint.

We've been hiring local experts to do our brush hogging, food plot planting and mowing, but they have full-time jobs or their own farm obligations before they can come help us out. If we have our own tractor, we can get most of our chores done in a timely manner as weather permits. And we can still hire the experts for the bigger jobs. This video shows our go-to guy for the big jobs the first time he came to help us expand the size of our back yard. He's got the big-boy toy and is a green-paint guy all the way.

Do you have a favorite brand of tractor? Do you want to give us any advice? We're listening!

Linking up with Rural Thursday
Be sure to check out some of the other blogs listed there at the end of the post.
Rural Thursday Blog Hop


  1. Not much can beat Key West this time of year - I've been a few times. Love brunch at Blue Heaven. And the warm sun on the skin. And yes, grouper sandwiches. And key lime pie. And...well...I could go on and on.
    Looks like your staycation was just fine though - and next year you can treat yourself to Key West again!
    Thanks for linking up with Rural Thursday!

    1. Oh, yes, you do know Key West. We get our grouper sandwiches from El Siboney. I'm pretty sure we'll go back next year.
      Thanks for co-hosting Rural Thursday. It's a lot of fun.

  2. Beautiful shots. Have a nice week. Greetings from Romania.

    1. Thank you so much for the greetings from halfway around the world. You gotta love what the Internet has done for us. I hope you have a wonderful week, as well.

  3. Well, I'm proud of you for staying at home -- think of the money you saved (if that's important,) and you got to spend time together.

    When we moved to the farm, my husband bought a 1965 Farmall 650 tractor for $2000. It needs some TLC now and again, but it sure beats buying one brand new.

    Thanks for sharing with is at Rural Thursday!

    1. I can just see that cute classic Farmall. We're still weighing whether to go new or used. Don't normally like to take that hit on the new anything as soon as you leave the showroom floor. And since rural property seems to be all outflow and no inflow, saving money is always a big consideration. Thanks for co-hosting Rural Thursday.

  4. Togetherness is what counts no matter what the weather:)
    We bought a Kubota. It's my husbands favorite toy.

    1. Thankfully we managed the togetherness just fine, even if we never did get our Rocky Mountain tans! Thanks for the Kubota shout out.

  5. i'd love to have a tractor here, too. but we manage without one since we hire out our hay baling. we're not handy enough to keep one running so it would be an effort in futility!

    1. We're not that handy either, which is why we're considering a new one which comes with field service.

  6. BIL got a Kubota. We got a Yanmar Cub Cadet - which would only be a Yanmar now as Yanmar and Cub Cadet parted ways, of course.

    We got the SC2400. Hubby loves it, but we do wish we had gotten one just a little bigger with a front loader. Hindsight and all. However, he would not part with it, when the BIL offered to buy it for what we paid for it (it's almost 4 years old!), before he bought his Kubota - which is smaller than our Yanmar. He only mows his city lawn.

    We have a post hole digger (hubby didn't think he wanted one, but I talked him into it and he's happy I did) that we have used for post holes, planting trees, and setting the frame of our farmhouse porch.

    We also have a box blade, um.. little pointy things for making small ditches (sorry, I just can't think right now) that we put a new water line in with.
    It came with a finishing mower, we bought a bush hog for it.
    And, we just bought a 'rake' for it.

    We can only get to our property a couple times a year until he retires and it has made a world of difference. And he always tells me how much he loves it!

    While he can do some things, we have taken it to a dealer for a tune up. :-)

    1. Thanks for all the info, Linda. Sounds like once you buy the tractor, you've only just begun. It's amazing how many implements you can get. I hadn't even thought of a post-hole digger.

  7. Second thing we did when getting our place a year ago is buy a tractor. The previous owners were kind enough to come over and take care of anything we needed with their various green paint machines, but the Hub hadn't been stashing bills away in his (boat, motorcycle)tractor fund for nothing. After way too many weekends at dealers and runing down for sale adds, he bought a KYOTI. He says daily that he is very glad he chose that brand. And that he is very glad he opted for the bigger model than he thought he needed. He did get the front loader and had teeth put on it. Has come in very handy. Good luck!

    1. Thanks for the input on tractors. Hopefully we get one the right size the first time. We learned from motorcycles that it doesn't take long to outgrow the one you have, and it takes even less time to outgrow the replacement.

  8. Replies
    1. Thanks for coming by, Clint. I didn't know if you'd still speak to me after I said I was on your wife's side regarding the milk jugs. LOL

  9. Lovely pictures of Key West! Sounds like you're enjoying your staycation. :)

  10. Pole barn going up on Tennessee property this week. The tractor is here in Florida. We'll be moving it up there sometime next month I imagine. We have attachments for the 4wheelers but they're just not the same! Tractor is good! Key West is at the other end of our state. We like Treasure Island for a long weekend getaway here and there. We did rent a house with the daughter, her husband and two other couples 2 yrs ago. Right on the water, with a dock..and took the boats. On Little Torch Key..just S. of Big Pine Key. Was a wonderful, relaxing time! Hope you find your piece of sun!! I remember sunning behind the barn in Indiana in March..bikini, sun, barn for a windbreak..worked just fine..maybe that was May! :o)

  11. Yes! We have a favorite brand of tractor and it's BLUE. New Holland all the way! But we don't have a tractor, but I love em, we have Cubby. Our Cub Cadet, he is the workhorse for our Tiny Ten! He does it all. I would love a little red Ford tractor just to putt around on. I'm with you on the grouper!


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