20-Year-Old Machine Still Solid as a Rock for Natural Landscape Company

Published on December 7, 2016

For 40 years, WorkSaver® magazine has told the stories of Bobcat® equipment owners and operators. Thousands of people have been featured in the magazine, describing how Bobcat machines helped them work more efficiently and provided a path for new career opportunities or business ownership. We caught up with a few Bobcat equipment owners, including Laddie and Mary Flock, to see what’s happened since they were in the magazine.

For more than 25 years, Laddie Flock has taken several trips a year searching for the perfect rock for his clients to create unique landscaping features.

Finding the perfect skid-steer loader for his business was much easier. In fact, it took only one trip to his local Bobcat compact equipment dealer to decide to replace a forklift with a skid-steer loader. When his company was featured in WorkSaver magazine in 1997, a year-old 873, purchased from Bobcat Central, had become a valuable asset for Flock.

“The maneuverability, size and digging ability instantly made our job easier,” he recalls. “I can maneuver rocks just an inch or two one way or another to place them in just the right position. That inch or two can make a huge difference in the aesthetic value of the rock. I never had that capability before. The 873 is one outrageously beautiful machine. I wouldn’t have anything else.”

Nineteen years later, he still relies on the 873 to prepare ground, transport rock and place boulders. After 5,600 hours, Flock says the machine “continues to operate magnificently.”

Natural Rock Formations in Mokelumne Hill, California, which Flock owns with his wife, Mary, is the go-to company for artists, architects, landscapers and others who want to create an earthy landscape featuring rocks and boulders.

About a decade ago, the Flocks started another company, Floating Islands West.

“We discovered floating islands by chance when a client inquired about having one in his koi pond,” says Flock. “In checking out the concept we found the inventor in Montana, and after visiting him we were sold on the idea of finding a natural solution to the environmental challenges of today. A floating island seemed like a perfect fit for our clients—an island fish can swim under while at the same time providing a beautiful floating garden and habitat. And it cleans the water.”

The Flocks now manufacture BioHaven® floating islands, which are constructed of durable, nontoxic postconsumer plastics and vegetated with native plants. These floating mats are used primarily to improve water quality and habitat enhancement. To help place the modules and bring in the plant material that makes up an island, a V723 VersaHANDLER® telescopic tool carrier does an excellent job, according to Flock.

“After two decades of experience with Bobcat equipment, I give a lot of credit to the contribution these machines have made to the success of our company,” he says. “They have given us the ability to work efficiently and professionally.”

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