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Early Fall HOWA 2012

A sight to be seen

A picture-perfect backdrop of mountains, colorful leaves and wildlife creates a wonderful living environment for a couple in rural Pennsylvania.

Merrill and Lois
Chambers, Milesburg,
Pa., purchased
their Bobcat CT225
compact tractor from
Best Line Equipment.

Merrill and Lois Chambers, Milesburg, Pa., purchased their Bobcat CT225 compact tractor from Best Line Equipment.

Imagine October in central Pennsylvania, with the Alleghany Mountain Range in the background. Bright orange, yellow and red leaves highlight the mountains for a picturesque scene. Farms dot the countryside — corn and soybeans at their maturity — and farmers are eager to claim their harvest.

Images like these are reasons why Merrill and Lois Chambers chose to build a home in 2006 just outside of Milesburg, Pa. (pop. 1,187). Milesburg is a small borough in Centre County, and is part of the State College, Pa., metropolitan area — home to Penn State University and “Happy Valley.”

Tucked away off the main road is where the Chambers purchased 100 acres. They built their country home to get away from the city and enjoy all that living in the country has to offer.

Overcoming outdoor projects

Merrill Chambers and his CT225 compact tractor

Merrill Chambers and his CT225 compact tractor

Moving to the country was not without its challenges, namely clearing part of the property to build a home, install a yard and plow for a new garden. The couple brought with them a small, older tractor that they realized, over time, would not be able to handle the work ahead of it.

In April 2010, the Chambers purchased a Bobcat® CT225 compact tractor with front-end loader. The couple chose the CT225 for year-round projects such as snow removal, land-clearing, plowing and mowing. They purchased the 27-horsepower compact tractor, finish mower, rotary cutter and snow blade from Best Line Equipment in Centre Hall, Pa., just outside of State College.

Merrill Chambers spent most of his career working in construction as an electrician, performing underground utility installations. A familiar brand on most of the jobsites where he worked was Bobcat. “I’ve known my Bobcat salesman for more than 20 years,” Merrill says, “because we worked for the same construction company before he went to work at the Bobcat dealership — Best Line Equipment. He takes good care of us.

“I had heard good things about Bobcat tractors from what I read about them. Our CT225 is a strong, durable tractor. The controls are easy to operate and we don’t have to reach like we did with our older tractor. And it has a hydrostatic transmission, which makes it simple to drive.”

Comfort is king for many homeowners with acreage, and the Chambers are no different. “The Bobcat tractor is 10 times as comfortable as my previous tractor,” Merrill says. “It’s a smoother ride; it’s heavier and it does what I want it to do. You can see that it’s built heavier by looking at the loader lift arms.”

Merrill and Lois keep their Bobcat compact tractor busy, using it for just about everything on their property. “The tractor is the most versatile piece of equipment for us,” he says. “I have pushed down locust trees, and then dug out the stumps with the bucket.”

Easy-to-use controls

Lois Chambers find many uses for her Bobcat CT225 compact
tractor. The front-end loader and bucket are particularly
helpful when she needs to lift, carry and dump materials.

Lois Chambers find many uses for her Bobcat CT225 compact tractor. The front-end loader and bucket are particularly helpful when she needs to lift, carry and dump materials.

On Bobcat compact tractors, the joystick control is located next to the seat, rather than positioned on the loader.

“On the Bobcat tractor, I like the fact that to raise and lower the bucket, all I have to do is reach down here, whereas with our older tractor, I had to reach farther,” Lois Chambers says. “I like how the Bobcat tractor has the loader arm control built into the chassis.”

Lois jokes about the first time she operated the CT225.

“I was clearing an area of locust trees behind the house,” she recalls. “I worked at it slowly to clear it. Once I got going, the first thing I did was get it stuck. I thought, ‘this can’t be stuck.’ So, I got out the manual, which is conveniently located behind the seat, and looked up how to engage the four-wheel drive. Then I pulled right out, so I wasn’t really stuck.”

Another big difference between the Chambers’ previous tractor and their new one: changing implements. “Changing the three-point hitch implements is so simple,” Lois says. “You just slide out the links, lock it in and go. I can connect an implement in only two or three minutes.”

Getting to routine service items and lifting the tractor’s hood is much easier for Merrill and Lois. “That makes it a lot nicer,” Merrill says. “With my previous tractor, I had to unlock the brush guard, make sure the bucket was flat (on the ground) and then open the hood. With my CT225, I just pop the pin, the hood opens right up, and everything’s right there, including filters.”

Importance of cleaning screens

Easy screen maintenance

Easy screen maintenance

For anyone who owns a compact tractor and uses it with a mower or rotary cutter, cleaning the radiator and hydraulic cooling screens is a must, especially in hot and dusty conditions. It’s simple to clean the screens. Just lift the hood, slide them out and remove the dirt and debris. No tools are necessary. This easy process will ensure your cooling system operates properly, and you can keep working.