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Early Spring HOWA 2012

A bigger and better life in the country

Homeowner relies on Toolcat 5600 utility work machine to keep up with workload around estate

Jim Behrle

Jim Behrle and his Toolcat 5600

When Jim Behrle purchased 226 acres of undeveloped wooded property in Raccoon Township near Aliquippa, Pa. (pop. 11,734), he set out to build his dream home and enjoy the quiet life in the country, outside of the busy Pittsburgh metropolitan area. It turns out the project became a little bigger than he imagined — and so did the work.

“Nevertheless,” he says, after spending an entire day just cutting the grass, “it’s a great place to live.”

It was about a dozen years ago that Behrle first showed an architect a design for a house he had in mind. He wanted a large, log-cabin-type structure with plenty of stonework, patterned after a hunting or fishing lodge.

In his construction business, Behrle built new homes and commercial buildings, so he was up to the challenge of building his own home, a 10,000-square-foot, seven-bedroom structure. After three years, the Behrle family moved in, and a year later the project was finished.

“The house looked smaller on paper,” he says. “I never thought it would turn out to be this big.”

Farms are gone
While the area has transitioned from a rural farming community into a rural bedroom community, the size of Behrle’s property allows him to maintain the feeling of living in the country.

From the comfort of the Toolcat 5600 utility work machine’s enclosed cab, Jim Behrle easily transports fire wood with a Bobcat pallet fork attachment.

From the comfort of the Toolcat 5600 utility work machine’s enclosed cab, Jim Behrle easily transports fire wood with a Bobcat pallet fork attachment.

The house sits in the middle of a couple of acres that have been cleared of trees. The winding driveway off the main road is a mile long and lined with trees on both sides. Behind the house is a swimming pool enclosed in a separate building. Other buildings are used to store construction equipment.

Most of the acreage remains heavily wooded and home to deer and several species of birds, including wild turkeys. Behrle has constructed a series of trails through the woods and has installed three food plots for the deer.

Managing the work
For Behrle and his wife, Lynn, there is no shortage of work around the property. However, he says, it would be much more difficult and time-consuming if not for a very helpful and unique machine from Bobcat Company.

“About two years ago I began looking at equipment that would allow me to keep up with the maintenance on this place and also help handle new projects,” he recalls. “Nothing really stood out until I tried a Toolcat utility work machine from Bobcat of Pittsburgh. By combining features of a skid-steer loader, pickup truck, compact tractor and utility vehicle, Bobcat had exactly what I needed.”

Jim Behrle’s Toolcat 5600 and Bobcat tiller attachment make quick work of preparing the ground for new landscaping.

Jim Behrle’s Toolcat 5600 and Bobcat tiller attachment make quick work of preparing the ground for new landscaping.

Among the reasons Behrle was sold on the Toolcat 5600:

Attachment options
“Since I already owned a Bobcat® skid-steer loader for my construction business, I had many attachments that were compatible with the utility work machine,” he says. “My Toolcat 5600 attachments include an angle broom, grapple, mower, pallet forks, rotary cutter, snow blade, tiller, trencher and two buckets. These are the tools that help make it easier to maintain the property. I know if I need another attachment, I can rent it from my Bobcat dealer.”

total, more than 40 easy-to-use attachments are available to expand the versatility of the Toolcat machines — both the 5600 and 5610.

Enclosed, comfortable cab
“Without the cab, pollen from cutting tall and dry grass would play havoc with my allergies,” he says. “The cab is also a big benefit in the winter when clearing snow from the long driveway.

“Jobs such as snow removal, mowing and maintaining trails through the woods require me to operate the machine for hours at a time. The four-wheel independent suspension system produces a smooth ride, even as the terrain changes. It’s a comfortable machine regardless of where or what I am doing.”

Hauling capability
“The ability to haul materials, supplies and tools in the machine’s cargo box around the property makes the Toolcat 5600 extremely valuable,” Behrle says. “There is probably not a day that goes by that I don’t use it to transport something.”

The utility work machine can haul 2,000 pounds in the hydraulic dump cargo box, which can be unloaded easily without the operator leaving the cab. In addition, the Toolcat 5600 can tow 4,000 pounds with the 2-inch standard receiver hitch.

Growing up in Aliquippa, Behrle never imagined he would have an opportunity to live in a place where cattle were raised and crops grown. Only a handful of farms still remain in Raccoon Township, but with one of the largest properties in the area, Behrle is enjoying the country life — and all of the work that goes with it.

“It’s never boring out here,” he says. “There is no shortage of things to do. And since the Toolcat 5600 arrived, work has become more manageable and life in the country more enjoyable.”