Saturday, September 12, 2009

meet the newest addition to cold antler

Meet the newest addition to Cold Antler Farm: a 1999 Ford Ranger. She's a beautiful thing to these station-wagon-driving eyes. She's also the first vehicle I ever paid for in full, have a title on, and indisputably own. Since I am still paying off my college education, rent my house, and don't have a square inch of Vermont dirt to my name (yet)—you can understand the pride I feel about finally having a pickup of my own.

Don't worry, not too much pride. Sea Level.

No more sheep in the back seat, chickens in the back hatch, or lambs with their hooves on the dashboard. No more hay in the air conditioning vents or folding down seats to fit feed bags. I now own two beds, and unlike my old one, this one will be seeing a lot of action.

I've been have finally been able to obtain the vehicle for my chosen path in this crazy world. Something I can load up with hay, transport livestock, or park at the feed store with a little more street cred. If you're curious (or worried I blew all my savings) she cost less than a Gibson J-45 True Vintage guitar (Actually, a lot less than a custom one. As great as acoustic guitars are, they can't haul goats...). I am happy I was able to drive her off the garage lot for less than what most people spend on a couch. Also lucky as hell - because she runs just as good as she looks.

She looks good for her age too. The orangey/red color is beautiful, screams fall. It has a roomy cab, CD player, amazing sound system, and ample coffee cup holders. The very instance I pull out of the lot I slid Old Crow Medicine Show's Wagon Wheel in the CD player to ride off into the sunset with. An Old Crow bumper sticker is the lone decoration on this truck.

I will never forget the day driving back to Vermont two winters ago when this adorably-rumbled guy around my age flew by my car on the NY Thruway with his black truck and one OCMS sticker on the back. I decided right then if I couldn't take him home I'd borrow his modest announcement of loyalty to his music. I had my own sticker on the fridge—saved just in case I ever had the bumper with a bed to put it on. Maybe I'll pass that guy's truck again someday? If a border collie hangs out the front passenger-side seat I may have to follow him home*...

She's not perfect by any means. Already she has 115k on her odometer and there are a few cigarette burns in her upholstery, but these are sins I'll forgive. I was able to get a 6-month warranty from the garage I bought her from, so at least I'll have a full New England winter to prove herself with some insurance. (That and heavy snow tires and weight in the back.) I also found out her driving insurance is cheap, less than a gormet pizza and cold beer costs in Manchester every month. For this truck: I'll skip town pizza.

She's a 2WD, and that's okay because (as you can see in her reflection) I still have the Subaru. That dire wolf will continue to be my snow car and dog box, but I find myself taking the truck out whenever I can. I can't help myself. I know it's just a used car, but to me it's a giant step forward in becoming the person I am trying to be and the amount this truck will help around the farm will be amazing. No more 3-bale trips back from Nelson's farm. I can load up the back with all she can carry! Hot Dang!

I always tell myself: Truck, farm, tractor. That's my mantra and path to that magic moment in life when I know I've made it. When I'm sitting on the back of that green tractor in my own sheep fields and can look down the hill at my beat pickup in the driveway—that's my Carolina Herrerra wedding dress. For the honeymoon, maybe someday I'll go inside and play my J-45. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. One dream at a time, people. I'm just happy to announce I've come this far.

*I kid


Blogger Judy said...

Way cool. Congratulations. I'm so happy for you. You are on track to meet your goals.

September 12, 2009 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger beansprout said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 12, 2009 at 8:00 AM  
Blogger beansprout said...

One step at a time! That's how we do it. Life wouldn't be any fun if we had it all to begin with. You've used what you had to make do and now look at the reward! I can appreciate the need for a 'heftier' vehicle though; I packed my VW beetle to the hilt with rocks this summer to build my mom a new fire pit. Then last weekend...topped it off with burnables and drove it out the the back pasture! Life's an adventure!

September 12, 2009 at 8:02 AM  
Blogger Patsy said...

Woohoo Jenna! You go girl. My dad had a 1969 Ford Ranger that we sold when it was almost 30 years old and still ran great. Good for you.

September 12, 2009 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

Congrats! She's a Beaut!

September 12, 2009 at 8:18 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Wonderful news! I am so happy for you! A car/truck that you"own" is a beautiful thing! You are right on track with your plan.

September 12, 2009 at 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for you Jenna! I always tell myself, baby steps are good to get you th where ya need to be. Congrats on the purchase of your "New to you" truck!

September 12, 2009 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Karen Sue said...

I'm lovin' the truck! I had a used red car once, and I just liked the feel of red! Many happy miles. DD was lookin' for a vehicle for a while and it was kind of fun to cruise the lots with her, just checking out what was out there. Lots of trucks with way more miles than that and still going strong. Nice keychain, too.

September 12, 2009 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger granny said...

Good one Jenna! Im lovin' the nice red ute!!

September 12, 2009 at 9:04 AM  
Blogger USMCmom said...

Jenna, she's beautiful. I suspected this was your news. This will make certain aspects of your life so much easier (and fun). I applaude you for choosing used since depreciation on a new vehicle is outrageous. What will you name her?

September 12, 2009 at 9:07 AM  
Blogger Meredith said...

Congratulations Jenna! Trucks are great - I don;t know what I would do without mine! Think of it as kind of your oasis, your retreat, your special place. It's all your and you deserve it!
Next step - farm!

September 12, 2009 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Clare said...

Very Cool, Jenna. I covet the truck on your key ring. I asked a guy who was driving one of the 1950's classics recently how much he would sell it for: 12-15K - wowser, out of my budget! I'm glad you have your own "classic" now. How many bales of hay do you expect to beable haul now? Won't that be a time savings!!

September 12, 2009 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger Darcie said...

Congratulations Jenna! To do it without debt is fantastic! Post us a picture of it all loaded with hay. I can pile a full ton in the back of my full-size pickup, I bet you can get at least 20 bales on yours!

September 12, 2009 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

danforth pewter, a local vermont pewter shop, made the keychain. It was 12 bucks, more than anyone should spend on a keychain, but it meant VT, local business, and the truck all in one. I picked it up at the Northshire bookstore last night.

no name yet!

She was certainly NOT 12 K! i could've bought 4 of her for that...

September 12, 2009 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger kandy Gray said...

what is her name? she needs a name. i have told Oliver (my black 2000 Neon who, tho we have been told by all around us is a crappy car, had treated us well and only brakes down in non important times) all about her.

September 12, 2009 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

Sweet ride! And a step-side to boot. Style and function come together. And the OCMS bumper sticker projects it into the stratosphere of coolness.

I've been having that nagging feeling I should trade my car for a newer more reliable version, which would mean a car payment, and you've brought me back down to earth. Much gratitude for the inspiration.

September 12, 2009 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Congratulations Jenna! I'm so proud of you! You should be elated, this is a huge step!

September 12, 2009 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger ulla said...

congrats!!! This must feel so outstanding, especially when you think of all that you can haul in that beauty, also love the key chain..keep on truckin'

September 12, 2009 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

Congrats! Red trucks are the coolest. You are definitely on the road to making your dreams come true.

September 12, 2009 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Dom said...

ConGratulations! I went with a 1997 ranger two years ago, good price and good performer: I haven't been disappointed by the choice yet and I made it for exactly the same reasons you did. And yes, there is also still a Subaru in the driveway too.

September 12, 2009 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

I love trucks. When I'm done hauling children around, then I am buying a little truck all for me. Congrats! You will love it!


September 12, 2009 at 12:00 PM  
Blogger Jocele said...

Congrats on the new addition. I used to have a Ford Ranger. I loved that truck. Enjoy it!

September 12, 2009 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger j.c. said...

Good lookin' truck there! I'm sure she will serve you well!

September 12, 2009 at 12:07 PM  
Blogger Penny said...

Fabulous news!
I drove a 77 Ford Ranger for many years and miss her dreadfully. I recently commented I want another truck and two days later my car died on the highway. I know it was because she heard saying how very much I want to drive a truck again. My vehicles know the family motto, and take it to heart as it were .. "We come from a loooong line of grudge holders" LOL

September 12, 2009 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger E said...

What a great step forward for farming. It will certainly make your life easier.

Couldn't help but laugh when you describe the truck "The orangey/red color is beautiful, screams fall. It has a roomy cab, CD player, amazing sound system, and ample coffee cup holders."
Color, music, cup holders! Odometer, general condition, rust, mechanical specs all seem hardly worth mentioning!

I hope you used more that feelings for this investment.

Also think about this when looking for a farm. It's great to find a place that feels like home but don't forget to look a hard facts (soil, slope, house & barn quality, water), not just things like view, creekside etc.

September 12, 2009 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

So sad news. I took the truck in for it's state inspection and it turns out it needs a new ball joint, tire rod, and wheel bearing. It would not pass. I am taking it back to the garage, which better repair it free of charge. The mechanic said it was dangerous, but I would have no idea unless when I bought the truck I propped it up and had the tools to inspect the insides of tires....


September 12, 2009 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

And E, I of course would not even consider buying a truck if i felt the odometer was unreasonable, the rust too eaten-away, body condition etc. Those things go without saying, I was just excited about the perks at that price!

September 12, 2009 at 1:34 PM  
Blogger René said...

Congratulations! She's a beauty. The nice thing about used cars is you don't worry so much about a little ding here or a bit of dirt there. Ford Rangers are good, reliable vehicle with low maintenance and cheap repair bills. You done good!

I wanted to remind you, though, that you have already been making it. I know how much having land of your own is important, but you haven't let the lack hold you back. You've been living your dream these last few years in a way that's inspiring to me. I'm afraid to strike out without a solid plan and good odds of success. You're not waiting for the stars to align, you're making it happen right now. I'll be looking forward to the farm post, and the tractor post to follow.

September 12, 2009 at 1:37 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

YAY! Congrats! There is absolutely nothing wrong with a used car. I think they're way better deals! It's a wonderful feeling to completely own something that beautiful and useful. Good job!

September 12, 2009 at 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


September 12, 2009 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

I love everything about this post and am very excited for you. Rock on my friend.

September 12, 2009 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger hlbrack said...

Congrats! Great truck. I'm sure she'll serve you well.

September 12, 2009 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

You go, girl! I'll bet it looks good on you, too!
Just peeking - it looks like there's a bed liner?? Excellent. You can tower that thing high with bales and tie 'em down with twine. You'll cut down on your trips considerably.
My Ranger had 185,000 miles on her when I traded her in for a "city" car. Some fellow is still driving her today. (sigh)
Don't fret about the repairs, they're few and far between. AND - you have no car payment!

September 12, 2009 at 3:19 PM  
Blogger karental said...

Wow, sorry about the bad news, but at least you know and they've got to fix it. Frustrating, though.

September 12, 2009 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger kate said...


Seems odd -- be careful -- that the dealer did not prepare it for the state inspection. ALL these car places know how it works, and know all the basic requirements.

But mistakes do happen.


P.S. After I check the map, I might ask if you're interested in renting it out for a SW Vermont to upstate NY round trip. (To help you raise money to buy the farm, and take care of something I put off.)

September 12, 2009 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger ammamcp said...

You continue to inspire me w/ your enthusiasm and joy in the process. Red trucks rock!

September 12, 2009 at 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! She's a beauty.

September 12, 2009 at 4:07 PM  
Blogger littlegreengardengal said...

Good for you! It is always great to be able to cross a big goal off your list.
Hope the mechanic work goes ok. I think there is just always something to fix with used vehicles (which is what I always buy), but once you get that fixed I am sure you will get to enjoy putting a ton of miles on that pickup over the years.

September 12, 2009 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger Melonie said...

So excited for you! Sorry to hear about the bad news - but I'm sure they'll get her fixed up and you'll be good to go. :-)

We have a Subaru back in the States that we traded 2 Fords in for (thinking the military would ship one Japanese-made car here for us, since they told us we couldn't ship American cars - oops). When we get back there will be a Ford F-250 joining the 'Ru.

As for following that fellow home - I say go for it. When we met, my hubby had an '05 Ranger and I had an '05 F-150. Yes, there were plenty of Napoleon complex jokes about my truck... but 3+ years of marriage later...well, if it hadn't been for our trucks, who knows. HAHAHA

September 12, 2009 at 7:51 PM  
Blogger Sparkless said...

Congrats on the truck! I hope she's fixed up and passes inspection pronto.

September 12, 2009 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger Dawn Dutton said...

Jenna, We own the duplicate to your truck. Same year and color! We bought it new. It has never given us one bit of trouble. We have over 150,000 miles on her. In the winter here in Wisconsin I use feed or bagged salt to weigh it down so it doesn't slip and slide. We have lots of hills and lots of snow and I have never went in the ditch once. You just have to use common sense. Good luck with your new truck. I am very proud and happy for you.

September 12, 2009 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Brown Thumb Mama said...

Congrats! Owing your own truck free and clear is a great feeling. Owning your own square of dirt is next!

September 12, 2009 at 9:25 PM  
Blogger Tony C. said...

Congrats Jenna!

One of three down already!

Farm and tractor will follow, fear not.

Tony in Asheville

September 12, 2009 at 9:44 PM  
Blogger beccaWA said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 12, 2009 at 9:59 PM  
Blogger beccaWA said...

Wow, so sorry about the truck.

I've had some great vehicles, and some real stinkers, and one thing I've learned over the years is to get the vehicle inspected by a shop BEFORE you buy it. Get a bumper-to-bumper look-see - cost about $85, but on this last vehicle I bought, the shop uncovered about $1200 in needed repairs. I took the report to the dealer, and had a TON of leverage! They fixed everything to get the sale price they wanted.

Live & learn........

Maybe you can negotiate with the shop, or get your money back. Also, don't forget there's a law that says you have 72 hours to legally reneg on a deal, too(buyer's remorse).

Best wishes, and good luck!

September 12, 2009 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger sacred slut said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 12, 2009 at 11:10 PM  
Blogger Dirt Worshipper said...

Congrats! I have a 96 Ford Ranger and have never had to do anything but routine maintenance until last year when I had a hose leak. And now the brake pads need to be replaced. I've driven this truck literally all over the country. A little slow over the Rockies but she always gets me there. :)

September 12, 2009 at 11:25 PM  
Blogger Turtle said...

congrats! She's purty!

September 13, 2009 at 1:18 AM  
Blogger girlandcat5 said...

Congrats Jenna! It is a big step toward the dream. I sold my truck when I moved to the city and miss it more than a person should miss a vehicle. It is the first thing I plan to buy when I move back home:)

September 13, 2009 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

the dealer i bought it from hasn't repsonded to my email yet, clarifying that this will be repaired free of charge... when i called he said "I could buy the parts and he'd fix it for free" which i think is wrong. It shouldn't cost me a thing, right? Is it legal to sell a person a car that could kill them on the highway if a wheel falls off?!?!

i hope he gets back to me soon...

September 13, 2009 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Peacemom said...


A truck free and clear with no debt, you rock! That's the way to keep your future your own, pay cash for everything you possibly can. As far as garage fixing the car...yep, seems to me that they should be fixing it at their expense. This truck has these issues (and likely they knew it from the dealers response) and since it's warranty should cover it (though you may want to read the fine print on that one), they should fix it for free.

You know you could always remind him that you write for Mother Earth News, have this blog with it's huge readership and know journalists in your local area that might be so interested in just such a story. Sometimes, the squeeky wheel really does get the grease (and tie rod and wheel bearing!) Good luck and keep us posted on what happens!

September 13, 2009 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

peacemon, don't think i didn't think about it. but i worry it'll sound like a threat. I also conisdered cancelling the check and telling them i'll happily write it again when it's fixed, but they already cashed it.

i'll get her running and safe. I'm already in love.

September 13, 2009 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger beccaWA said...

Darn, after some research, I found I was wrong about the 72 hour return thing. That law does not cover cars.

But you mentioned you got a warranty, right? Check the language and see if it's covered.

Hope it all works out.

September 13, 2009 at 11:21 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Very awesome!!!

September 13, 2009 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

I clicked on your truck picture and super-sized it. Being a city slicker I don't know what I liked better your beautiful new truck or those cute chickens! Is that a chicken by the front truck bumper? I will miss your car full of critter pictures but I am truly
happy for you on your new purchase.

September 13, 2009 at 11:54 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE my ford ranger - adn I id it in your order too - a truck then 3 years later a farm to go with it ;)

September 13, 2009 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE my ford ranger - and I did it in your order too - a truck then 3 years later a farm to go with it ;)

( I really should learn to proof read before hitting publish- I was just so excited for you:))

September 13, 2009 at 12:54 PM  
Blogger Fallen Oak said...

Man, laws, loopholes, smiles, handshakes, dollar bills, what can you say? Push through; hope you can trust another salesman; remember how they got you; Praise whatever god you worship when the truck finally gets its final mileage; when its old and rusted. Laugh one day at the vain stress caused by little men. I'd drive the thing right through the doors and blame it on the problem they won't fess up to. Just kidding!

September 13, 2009 at 6:36 PM  
Blogger Kirsten Smith said...

Does Vermont have a lemon law for used cars? I'd think the garage that sold it to you know that it probably would not pass inspection. Unfortunately, you might have to tell them that your lawyer will be contacting them. That might make them fix the truck.
Good luck!

September 13, 2009 at 6:51 PM  
Blogger Little Terraced House said...

Jenna, you are doing wonderfully ! Keep going girl !

Love and hugs as always from the UK


September 14, 2009 at 2:41 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Congrats Jenna!

September 14, 2009 at 5:18 PM  
Blogger Kristina said...

Congratulations! That's awesome :-)

September 15, 2009 at 5:00 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

Congrats on the new ride! Looks like Finn likes it too. :)

September 17, 2009 at 10:49 PM  
Blogger Mud Mama said...

Damn it Jenna! I just convinced my man Papa Pan that the Subaru and the trailer were PLENTY. He wants me in a pickup and I'm TERRIFIED of driving one (give me a horse any day though)

November 16, 2009 at 12:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, use GSM blocker to jam all spy transmitters in your room or at work.

January 21, 2010 at 10:46 AM  
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