I Drive A 757 {John Deere That Is}

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One of the things I love the most about living in the South is the green grass.  But what I didn’t take into consideration until we moved here is that the rain that brings the gorgeous green grass also means that it grows… and grows… and grows.  And when you have miles of highway frontage and a mile of roadside through the pasture up to the house and fence lines to maintain, a really good mower is a must.

 

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Let me introduce you to my best friend in the summertime.  This is a John Deere 757 ZTrak.  Isn’t it the craziest looking mower?  Some of you may be familiar with the “Zero Turn” mowers but until we moved here I’d never even seen one before, much less driven one.

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It is very interesting.  There is no steering wheel, no gas pedal, no brake.  Everything is done by holding on to those black bars you see there.   It’s a little hard to explain but basically it is like this:  to go faster you push both bars forward, to slow down and stop you pull them back, to turn to the right you put the left bar forward the right bar back, etc.  Got that?  You have to be very careful as it can turn FAST… like a zero, you know? You can spin donuts like nobody’s business!

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These are my controls.  The yellow knob at the top of the picture changes the mower height.  I like it set really low because it cuts the grass short and looks awesome… BUT, it also scrapes rocks, the ground, and anything else in the way and shortens the life of the blades.  (Trust me, I learned this is the hard way.)   The other knobs are fairly self explanatory.  The little yellow one turns the mower on, the red one is throttle speed.  Very basic.

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My feet rest on this deck and underneath that is where the mower is located.

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It is a wide mower and cuts a five foot path.  Which is really awesome.

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It is powered by a belt and pulley system that is totally crazy.  Good thing there is a diagram right on the mower because when it comes to changing the belt, you’ll want the diagram (trust me on that too!).

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Nice fat tires that help when you get stuck.  I’ve done that.  Many times.

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One of the things it has that I’m really thankful for is the roll bar above the seat.  I’ve not experienced first hand how easy it is to turn one of these over and I really hope I never do.  But there is one section of our highway frontage where it is a very steep bank and I’m always thankful for a seat belt and a roll bar.

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This mower is not really made for the purpose of mowing yards… it is basically a mowing machine for more cross country type jobs and believe me when I tell you it really takes a beating.  We bought it used when we first moved here and my husband does all the maintenance on it.  And it really requires the maintenance.  Blades, belts, and tires.  I’ve ruined them all a time or two.  (Mowing too close to the barb wire fence will ruin a tire real quick.  Can you guess how I figured that out?)

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The above picture is our highway frontage that I mow both sides of the fence as far as you can see and around the bend about a half a mile.  It’s a big job.  Even with a five foot mower, it takes me three and four passes to cover all the ground on the highway side.

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This is part of our gravel drive through our farm up to the house.  I mow on both sides of the road and in some places that is a lot of mowing.

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This is the same spot looking in the opposite direction where I mow on both sides of the road all the way to the highway.  And along the fence line! The tall grass you see is part of our hay pasture.

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Lest you think my husband doesn’t help with any of the mowing, well here is his mowing machine!  He mows all the hills around the farm.  He mows about four times in the summer and it is a week long job each time.  We have a lot of hillsides.

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This is just one of them.

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So, the question is this.  Do I still love green grass?  Do I still love mowing?

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Here is my answer.  I think there is nothing more beautiful than green grass!  I hope I never  get so used to it that I no longer love it.  And yes, I still love to mow.  I get on my mower and I solve all the problems of my world!  So, one day a week all summer long you can find me happily mowing along with (hopefully) a big smile on my face.

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One thing I’ve learned in the four years we’ve been here in the South is that Farmgirls of all ages love to mow.  I’m not unique in this.  So I know there are a lot of you that drive something just as cool as my John Deere 757 and I’d love to hear about it!  Please share!

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Until our gravel road cross again… so long.

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Dori

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P.S.  I’m actually really happy that in Tennessee, summer (and green grass) isn’t over yet!

Leave a comment 26 Comments

  1. Debbie says:

    So fun, Dori! You sure do have a lot of green grass to mow… but what a neat thing that you can do it yourself! Farmgirl Alone Time… Ha!
    Hugs,
    Deb, the beach farmgirl

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Deb,

      Yes… lot of grass to mow. The other day I was thinking that it won’t be too many years and I can hire my grand-girls to do the mowing for me! :-)

      – Dori –

  2. Barb P says:

    What a great read – and the pictures are beautiful! I had always been content to let my late husband mow our measly two acres. Years ago, and prior to getting a riding mower, he bought a couple of used gas-powered push mowers and hooked them together somehow (I’m not ‘mechanically-inclined), and mowed using what he called his ‘gang mower technique’. His life became easier when we bought our first riding mower. After he passed away I was intimidated by the riding mower so I mowed using the gas-powered push mower. I loved doing that, and I can certainly identify with solving all of Life’s problems! Then wonderful son-in-law Jeff mowed for me several times until I finally pulled up my big girl undies, took the riding mower by the steering wheel, and started doing it myself. I wasn’t able to solve as many problems as I could using the push mower, but always enjoyed it, too. Now I have an amazing significant other who pulls up his big boy drawers and solves HIS worldly problems – when we aren’t under restrictions because of wildfire danger! The JD 757 would be overkill for our property, but I envy you, Dori! It would be a blast to have that much mowing to do using that machine!!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hello Barb,

      Thank you – we do love our farm!

      I love the picture in my mind of your late husband’s “gang mower technique”!!! And good for you for taking over your mowing when he was gone. I’m sure that was harder than you let on in your comment though. But how nice you have help again! :-)

      – Dori –

  3. Joan says:

    What a fun time you just gave me – ah yes we farm girls do a lot of problem solving on the mower. I don’t do riding mowers any more – moved to the burbs/small lot and actually where I live real grass is getting to be a thing of the past – the cost of watering is way high – so I have artificial turf – no mowing at all – so to do my problem solving I sit in my swing. Still have plenty of flower gardening to get into God’s earth and that does the ole farm girl good. Thanks for sharing and keep the tires on the ground. God bless.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Joan,

      We have friends in Phoenix that have the turf grass and they love it. It sure is great for water saving places like that isn’t it? I’m glad you still have your flower garden to tend to and solve all the worlds problems while you pull weeds right?! :-)

      – Dori –

  4. Roma Horton says:

    Hi Dori, I am also a mower! Love it. And nothing but a zero turn will do! Here in Estonia we mow about 10 acres and when it rains that is a lot of mowing. Somehow it is relaxing and helps settle the mind and then afterward it is so lovely to look out across there with it it all finished. We also have a Kawasaki Mule…so when the mowing is finished we get in the Mule and just ride around admiring it all!!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hello Roma,

      I want to come visit you in Estonia. That would be a trip of a lifetime. If we never get to come, maybe you can come visit us when you are State-side sometime and tell us all your amazing stories and adventures. And look at pictures! :-)

      We don’t have a Kawasaki Mule but we do have a Polaris Ranger and they are wonderful. I too ride around my farm and admire my mowing! :-) Ha Ha! Farmgirls in the United States and Farmgirls in Estonia… we’re all alike!

      Hugs,

      – Dori –

      P.S. How did the biscuits turn out?

  5. jackie says:

    I love your explanation about green grass and mowing! I have an Allis Chalmers mower and don’t mow as much as you do, but mowing day is the best. We have a 1 acre yard around the house and barn, with lots of things to mow around. Once that is done it’s my favorite place to be-out in the back 40 (really only 10), around the hay field, a picnic area right before the woods, around the pasture. By the time I am done everything is right in the world. Love your posts!!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Jackie,

      I do love mowing day! :-) And with mowing and then string trimming… it IS a day!

      I love the picture in my mind of your place… picnic area near the woods. We have been on our farm for about 4 years and the first 2 were building our home, now finally getting landscaping done and then hopefully more farm improvements. I think I want a picnic area near my woods too! :-)

      – Dori –

  6. Mary Jane Walsh says:

    I have 2 acres in upstate NY to mow.

    Just have a 120 John Deere but what a work horse……

    September has already slowed the grass from growing………PHEW!

    Happy Mowing! MJW

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Mary Jane,

      I can imagine that in upstate NY your mowing would be coming to a stop soon. Our grass is still really growing but the good thing is that we get one more cutting of hay in our hay pasture! Yay! :-) Some years we only get two cuts… this year it is three. So we are thrilled that summer is still hanging on!

      – Dori –

      P.S. I’d LOVE to see upstate NY. Maybe someday.

  7. Denise Ross says:

    Very nice mowing there, Dori. I like to mow too although my grass is on a small suburban block. It’s so calming just pushing and pulling with the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. I’d love a bigger yard, but will have to just enjoy what I have for the time being. Who knows what our Good Lord has for me in the future.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Denise,

      You are so right about the sun in our face and the wind in our hair… could there be anything better? And when I’m lazy and don’t want to mow, I remind myself of that!

      – Dori –

  8. Deanna Taylor says:

    Oh Dori, I’m with you! I love to mow my yard and roadside. It takes me about 3 hours and I love every minute of it. Plenty of time to think undisturbed while I can enjoy the meadow flowers and cloud pictures. Barn swallows come and fly by at breathtaking speed to catch the bugs I kick up. I got my John Deere X534 for a Mother’s Day present. Let those other women have their diamonds! Happy Mowing…Deanna

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hello Deanna,

      I think you and I must mow about the same amount. It takes me about 3 hours also. Then I come home and park the mower and trade it for the string trimmer and the Polaris Ranger and go back and string trim the fences. And that is about 2 hours. It’s a work out. Can’t figure out why I’m not skinny! Ha Ha!

      I’m going to look up the John Deer X534 on internet. I don’t know which one that is! :-) But that would be an awesome Mother’s Day present to me too!!!

      – Dori –

      P.S. I can’t believe you are 71 and still mowing for hours. I think that is so incredibly awesome.

  9. Robin Reichardt says:

    I took over my Dad’s cow/calf operation after his passing 7 years ago. Brush-hogging on the tractor was new to me, after a year or so of hiring some-one to do it I took it on. I had mowed my Dad’s rental properties for years, so to get over my phobia of power tools, I just called brush-hogging with the tractor; mowing. I probably cut the pasture too short that first year, but now have the hang of it. I too have lots of time to solve the world’s problems while circling the pasture!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Robin,

      I have not done any bush-hogging as my husband loves to do it and we have such steep hills I think I’d have heart failure to mow them. But I envy you, because I bet it is very fun! My husband loves it. And it is loud and powerful to hear him out there cutting.

      What an undertaking to take on a cow/calf operation. We have our small cow/calf operation… but mostly it is my husband that does it. I help as needed. I would never be able to do the tricky stuff!

      – Dori –

  10. Deanna Taylor says:

    P.S. I neglected to mention that I am a 71 year old life-long farmgirl who is a “kid” that refuses to grow up completely!

  11. Susana says:

    I mow my lawm which takes any where to two hours once a week and love to see green grass but I am not a FRIEND to mowing. But it has to be done. Its my time to. Cut lose!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Susana,

      I have my days when I would prefer not to mow and there have been a couple times this summer where I put it off for a few days and then really paid for it as the grass was so long it took me twice as long to mow it! Even though I love it… I can sure dread it too! :-)

      And yep… cutting loose is the funnest!

      – Dori –

  12. Vivian Monroe says:

    Ahh, Dori, I have always been a mowing girl myself. I figure my husband works hard everyday so I dont have to, so the least I can do is keep the yard work done.I only have about 2 acres now, but I used to mow 23, part with the zero turn, and part with an old 9N tractor and bushhog. My aunt is 93 and just until this past year when she was unable because of immaculate degenerate??? in her eyes she not only did her own mowing but she is the one all the men bring their tractors to for repair. Now those are some big girl undies to fill. lol. I too like to meditate and pray for everyone while mowing and solving all the problems I can. :) Be Blessed. Neta

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Vivian,

      Oh my word, I love the story of your Aunt. What an awesome lady she must be. I bet you have learned a lot from her.

      It is stories like that that make me realize I know nothing about being tough!

      – Dori –

  13. Winnie Nielsen says:

    We live in town and our lot is small enough that only a push mower is needed. It does look “Farmgirl Romantic” to conquer all that land with a big John Deere beneath you!! What I love are those mountain views in the distance. Oh man, I could look at that for hours! Your farm is just beautiful!!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Winnie,

      Yes… Farmgirl Romantic!!! :-) Sounds good anyway. While the grass is blowing in my sweaty face and the dust is billowing around and the bugs are flying up and stinging me! :-) Ha Ha!!!

      But yes, it is definitely Farmgirl Romance at its best!

      Our view is very special and I try really hard not to forget how lucky we are to have it. There’s a lot of porch sitting going on in the evenings!

      – Dori –

  14. Steve Short says:

    Have one just like it and it is awesome. Comfortable and efficient. Thanks for posting.

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