AMY KIRK: Who has the better equipment?Mid-range equipment on the Kirk ranch is when my husband thinks he’s going to have to break down and buy newer used equipment and heads to an implement dealer. He takes one look at implement price tags then goes back home to weld some more on what he’s got.
Many a male-dominated conversation has been filled with farm and ranch equipment adjectives. An implement’s header width, hours, four-wheel drive, hydrostatic this or that, average yields, number of rows or sections, etc. are commonly analyzed.
Women have roughly the same conversations: vacuum suction power or wet/dry cleaning capabilities, food processor capacity, attachments, and variable speeds, or tilting kitchen mixer heads and interchangeable attachments. Others may be more interested in programmable sewing machines with several different stitches, available colors of enameled cast iron cookware, or front loading washers that only use a toilet bowl’s worth of water.
Here on the Kirk ranch, our equipment is considered “mid-range,” meaning “used,” or even “well-used,” or even “excessively well-used.” A prime example of the latter would be the auction-bought, first of its kind Bobcat. Nowadays they’re equipped with a little safety feature called a roll cage. Ours inspired the Kirk ranch Bobcat theory: if you don’t think the Bobcat’s doing any good, just grab a shovel for a while and you’ll change your mind.
Mid-range equipment on the Kirk ranch is when my husband thinks he’s going to have to break down and buy newer used equipment and heads to an implement dealer. He takes one look at implement price tags then goes back home to weld some more on what he’s got.
The brand and age of equipment used, tells a lot about an operation. Mostly who borrows their equipment from the bank and who picked up someone else’s aggravation at an auction. Although, putting a coat of wax on our used John Deere baler and 5250 Case IH tractor might be the perfect way to convince people driving by that we operate with high-range equipment.
My machinery/equipment is also mid-range — in price. I am patient enough to wait for a good deal, which is how I scored my brand new New Home sewing machine at half price 20 years ago, $500 2007 Maytag Neptune washer and dryer, and $25 used KitchenAid mixer.
Men talk about equipment brands whether the implements are known for their quality, durability, availability of parts, or their problems. John Deere, Case IH, Vermeer, Hesston, Massey Ferguson, and Caterpillar are a few brands commonly hashed over in your average BS session. Likewise, women know that quality brands are needed for domestic goddess worthiness regarding laundry, vacuuming, sewing and cooking.
Like all products there are variables in price, quality, and preference. The unfortunate women like me who have to clean their own house and frequently do the cooking and washing, know a thing or two about different vacuums, household appliances, cutlery, and cookware.
Any woman who enjoys sewing or does a lot of denim patching likely has a talented sewing machine that can keep up with her creativity or her re-patching projects. Avid sewers know what a Husqvarna Viking (hint: it’s not a chainsaw, guys) Singer, Bernina, or Janome is. Then there are the extreme sewers who own a serger sewing machine. They’re the types who are so talented they sew their own underwear using a serger.
Ladies’ machines may not be considered equipment in the same way men’s machinery is but women’s equipment can be excessively well-used and still won’t have frequent or expensive mechanical problems, require a five-year loan to own, or need a separate building to store them.
Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.