When we moved to the micro-farm, we knew that we would need to investment in some tools to keep the work manageable. So what was going to be our first purchase? Well when you go from no grass to lots of grass, it is obvious that a lawnmower of some type was going to be our first purchase.
Ideally, you would not need a lawnmower, instead your animals would be able to keep the lawn under control. Only problem was we were not ready to jump into animals right of way. We have pole fencing which is designed for large animals such as cows and horses. However, our preference was to start with small animals and then work up to large animals.
We did some research and talked to different people about different types of lawn mowers. After walking around the pasture it was clear that mowing almost 2 acre of grass, with a hand or push mower was just not practicable. We were going to have to purchase a riding lawn mower. What brand and model? Well more research lead us to the conclusion we wanted a John Deere. But what model? There were several that we liked and the one I really wanted but was out of our price range. So with a general idea of what we needed we headed to the local John Deere dealer to see what was in stock and what they would recommend..
After what seemed like hours, walking around in the hot sun, looking at several different models and types. We discovered the ZTrak 335E riding lawnmower. True, it is not your traditional tractor riding lawnmower, but it had a zero-degree turn radius, which meant that you could make really tight turns. This would make it easier to mow around trees and garden beds. However, the only downside of the ZTrak was that all attachments must be attached to the rear of the machine. So you could not attach a front blade which could be used to level out dirt. We quickly realized that most attachments that we might use could be attached to the ZTrak.
So with the best interests of our farm in mind, a John Deere ZTrak 335E riding lawnmower with a collection system was purchased. The scheduled day of delivery was full excitement and anticipation. Everyone except me, who had to work to pay for the machine, took part in the fun of learning how to drive it. Yes, it is very different since you don’t have a steering wheel. The next few hours were filled with fun and laughter as everyone took turns attempting to driving the lawnmower around the yard.
After everyone seemed to get the general idea of how to steer, the real work began: the first mowing of the pasture 🙂