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Theft. I am heartsick  RSS feed

 
garden master
Posts: 872
Location: SW Missouri
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I am heartsick.
Last Friday night someone (police think some of the local meth heads) pried my barn door open, and towed out my tractor.
They stole my tractor!!  :( 
They also took a stack of tools (that I need badly) and there are more tools in there, and I’m terrified they will return. I’m looking for helpful suggestions about how to deal with this.

Background: me (54 year old female with serious health issues) and my mother (79, healthier than me, but not strong) bought 4 acres of land in a small town in southern Missouri, we have enough money to build the house we want, that will work for us, provided we are VERY careful with that money. Until the house is built and I have work space/time, the things I am healthy enough to do for money are pretty much not doable, so money is currently a non-renewable resource.
Trying to build has been a nightmare, started with contractor problems, at this point I’m the general contractor on this (whole ‘nother can of worms there, as finding people willing to work with someone who isn’t a real contractor is hard.) and codes problems (well over a year before I got approval for the type of construction I’m doing.) I have clearance now, and am trying to get the last of the hoops jumped through, and find people who can do what needs to be done. The tractor is how I was going to do a lot of it, it was a major part of construction, as well as setting up my permanent garden system. Being in the city limits where the codes are was the only thing we didn’t like about the property when we bought it. Everything else about it was within my parameters, or better than what I had hoped to get. Due to reality, pretty much we had to buy when we did, or I don’t know what we would have done. Best of our options, with codes being the only really bad part. I tried to get the property un-annexed from the city before we bought, but you are required to live on the property for 3 years before you can request it, and the guy I bought from hadn't lived there.

Codes in town don’t allow for things like living in an RV on the lot while you build, so our possessions are mostly stored on the property in an old basement and the barn, and we live in a rental a mile away. When we got here (before it all got unwieldy) we expected to be living in our new home there soon. This has not been the case.

Parameters of the problem, with my current ideas in green text:
The barn is easy to break into. It’s an old beast, was there when we got there. My schedule for the day today involves lumber and sheet metal and see what I can do for it. In the end, if someone wants to bad enough, anything can be gotten into.

Codes says it’s illegal to live in a trailer when there’s no house on the lot. On my list for the day is find out what the punishment is for that, and see if it’s something I’m willing to take. If so, I’m thinking find someone who lives in a trailer and wants free or cheap rent to live there and hopefully be pissy at any intruders. Call it a security guard? Lots of veterans in this area, or maybe a permie looking for a place for the winter. If I moved out there in an RV, I expect it would make a lot of the logistics of everything I’m doing worse, as well as I’m currently scared, and a trailer doesn't feel safe, not sure I’m a good choice for this. Plus I’d have to buy one.

The area is spread out houses, my 4 acres is one of the small lots. Most of the places are bigger, so it’s hard for neighbors (who mostly work on or off the property) to keep tabs on each other. The main roads are the only easy way in or out, so we all drive them. I’m thinking we all drive around a lot, and getting some kind of a neighborhood watch type thing going. My current idea, that I have talked to my 2 closest neighbors about, is we mostly all carry cell phones. So find someone who likes to be social, who doesn’t do much (older or disabled person) and we all get their phone number. If you are driving and see something “someone at that house, doing something odd” you call them, they know how to get in touch with the residents, and can call you and say “hey, someone driving by says this is going on, do you know this?” so we can react if needed. Could also do things like call them and say “I’m out of town for three days, if anyone is on the property, call the police immediately.”

We can’t get insurance on the place yet. We expected to be building right away, which hasn’t happened. So we can’t get a homeowner’s policy because there’s no home. We can’t get a farm policy because it’s not a farm. Builder’s risk policy is only good for a year, so we are holding getting that till we are sure we are actually breaking ground this time. Not sure what exactly builder’s risk covers as far as stuff on the property. So all of this is uninsured. And if it was insured, it’s old tools, not cool antiques, just useable, old, beat up tools. If we try to file a claim, I have no idea what they’d consider replacement. I can’t afford to buy all new tools, or even more used ones. Gets back to “money is currently a non-renewable resource.” No plan here yet. Best I have is the idea of someone living there.

Suggestions for how to deal with any or all of this?
I’m heartsick, and scared.
I fear this may make our home unaffordable, then what? I don’t like looking down the road of “we moved, and made a horrible mistake, and now have no other options.”
A lot of the house/property design is made to work with my health issues, that’s why part of why building with non-standard materials etc, to actually be what we need when it’s done. So “buy a house that’s already built” is not a valid solution to the problem, as we will be right back at square one, in a house like this rental (which is very nice, normal, place) which I fight with the mold, the small steps through it all, the design being “normal” so the air flow is bad, the heating must be done expensively, etc etc etc. The design will fit our parameters for what we want/need, and we can afford it, IF I have tools and can do a lot of the work myself. Tools including my tractor. And, looking at the list of stolen tools I’m giving the police this morning, my wheelbarrow, all my pruning shears of various types (I had been cleaning the barn, they were all together, the entire stack is gone,) the pruning saws, the bolt cutters, pipe wrenches, crowbar, jack stands. The list fills a page.
I’m heartsick. And scared. Advice is appreciated.
 
Pearl Sutton
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From another thread, a suggestion about a dog. Problem there is I don't live there. Dog barking won't wake me. Plus dog would be there by himself, which is not a good life for a dog. I'm not seeing that as a currently viable option. I think that might just get a dog killed if someone was serious about wanting to steal things. Which is NOT a good option in my world. Dogs are excellent, and I will end up with one as soon as we live there, but they need to not be doing it alone. I'll add "and has a dog" to the list of parameters for someone who might put a trailer on the place.
 
pollinator
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

Codes says it’s illegal to live in a trailer when there’s no house on the lot. On my list for the day is find out what the punishment is for that, and see if it’s something I’m willing to take. If so, I’m thinking find someone who lives in a trailer and wants free or cheap rent to live there and hopefully be pissy at any intruders. Call it a security guard? Lots of veterans in this area, or maybe a permie looking for a place for the winter.



I'm very sorry to hear what you are going thru.  It's horrible, and I feel for you.

If it were me in your situation, I would pursue this after locking everything up as well as I could.  I think you could argue the person isn't living there, they are staying there at night temporarily to watch the place for you after the theft.  Codes like that aren't usually enforced unless someone complains and in an isolated area like you are, I don't think people would complain.  If the police visit, you may even suggest that you have to do it because you know they don't have the resources to watch every house, you understand they don't have the money to patrol constantly, and you are trying to do your part to keep yourself and your property safe.  Make sure it's plain that you aren't trying to be a vigilante, and the person is just there as a deterrent and will call the police at the first sign of trouble.  The police want to catch these people as much as you want them to.  If the person you get to stay there has a dog, so much the better.

I don't know what the layout of the place is like, but if there is a way to put a big sturdy gate across your entrance road, so much the better.  You can at least limit thieves to what they can carry out.  Your neighborhood watch idea is really good to if there are people there that are willing.
 
gardener
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Gosh, Pearl. That makes me sad :(

Did you give the serial number on the tractor to the police when you reported the theft? That can be a good way to get it back when the hoodlums attempt to sell it as having it filed with the authorities is your proof of ownership. Does farm equipment have titles like automobiles? Also, perhaps keep your eyes peeled on craigslist as they may try to sell your tractor & tools. A farmer who would actually use this tractor wouldn't steal one. That kind of behavior isn't in them. Desperate people steal tractors, and they're usually not the brightest folks and often don't think and will make mistakes like selling stolen goods on craigslist. If there is some way to show proof of ownership of your tools, check local pawn shops in the next week. They have to hold things for 30 days, and take down pawners information like photocopying their drivers license. If you could locate your hand tools at a pawn shop and go back there with the police and possibly a picture of your tools or very detailed descriptions of your tools that only you would know may be enough proof to redeem them, and the police will follow up on who pawned them, which may lead to the tractor if you haven't found that first.

It's heartbreaking I know, but don't despair. Just because the items were stolen doesn't always mean they're gone. This just happened, it's fresh, and there are avenues to pursue which may lead to the recovery of your stolen goods. Take a picture of your tractor to any place nearby like a used farm equipment store so they know ahead of time if someone brings it in to sell. Email a photo to used equipment stores that are too far away to go to, but the crooks may drive to thinking they're far enough out of town to be safe.

I'd say go park a trailer on the property and live there, or someone live there. I'll share something with you my father taught me when I was too young to know: It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is permission. You may be there 9 months before the city finds out or says something, then you can work it out. They may never find out. Codes, schmodes. Go do it. If they fine you, it's not the end of the world. Dispute it, Judges are often sympathetic especially to a unique situation.

My heart goes out to you, and best of luck! Keep your chin up! :)

 
James Freyr
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Something I just thought of. Trail cams. Perhaps set up a trail cam or two near the entrance to the barn and/or viewing the driveway to catch the license plate number of anyone who thought stealing that tractor was too easy and wants to go back for a second helping. Like I mentioned in my other post, thieves are desperate, and if it was easy, they'll get greedy and possibly go back for more. I don't say that to scare you, but it is certainly a possibility, and also an opportunity for you to get a picture of them in action. Police, courts, Judges, they all love proof.
 
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Keep an eye on craigslist and machinery trader and what ever else.  Whoever stole it is in the area enough to know that you have assets at your place and they know you aren't living there.  Can you track the tractor?..did they drive it off or did they load it on a trailer..??  If they drove it off, and you have dirt roads, you may be able to find where the person lives.

Cameras.  If you aren't living there...more than likely, the thief(s) will be back if there are more things they want.

Trail cams - hide them, and aim them at license plates and faces.  Many people only have rear plates.  Although, often they are driving stolen vehicles.

Wi-fi cams - these are live, you can get online and see what is going on, and you can set up an alarm to notify you if the cameras are picking up movement.  In my neck of the desert, someone that had been ripping people off for over a year was caught because of these cameras and neighbors.  The person was caught at one of the same places that they ripped off a couple months earlier....hence the reason the owner purchased wi-fi cameras.

Get the specific codes that say you can't live in a trailer/rv.  Often it's simple wording.  You can't do it in town in my area, but there is a legal loophole and I know people doing it...something about it being a temporary camp for less than x months or something like that, and after x months all you need to do is relocate the trailer to a different spot.  But you need to get the code book and look for yourself otherwise the pencil pushers will try to force you into their desires and beliefs....and sometimes you need to read the code back to them so they don't harass you.
 
pollinator
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In the United States you have the right to defend your property, and the police know they cannot do that for you. If you use that angle, I am sure you could find a way to stay on the property until other arrangements can be made.

You can also fudge the definition of a farm too, which gives you a little latitude sometimes. Right now it is political suicide for any elected official to go against small farmers...and they know it.

I might do a little letter campaign, email or phone calling to try to drum up some support for finding the tractor. A car almost always has insurance, but a lot of tractors are out there that do not, and police and politicians know this, and might be more sympathetic to your cause because of it. Neighbors, not just farmers stick together because the idea that it "could happen to them" is a reality since so many non-insured tractors exist out there; all mine included.

I do apologize for the dog suggestion, that was me, but I did not understand fully the situation you were in, and I agree, it is not a viable option unless you can stay there.

The good news is, they might not come back if they had ample time to look around and took the best of what you had. There is no guarantee of that of course and while I am sympathetic to your cause, I have to be honest in saying my home has never been broken into so I cannot relate fully, though a scum did steel my wife's purse and $1200! I hate a thief because they prey upon people who worked for what they got, and I hate people who take advantage of others. Hate is a strong word, but in this case it works because myself I try to be compassionate.

I am sorry your tractor got stolen; I have never had it happen to me, but I know how I would feel if someone stole my bulldozer. If it makes you feel any better, you can picture how they would look with my bulldozer driving over them. (Just trying to make you smile in the midst of a bad moment, that is all.)
 
pollinator
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I am surprised that the police state that meth heads stole your stuff .
A tractor is not like a car . In my experience such folks like stuff they can sell fast to buy drugs quick .

David
 
pollinator
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[EDIT: removed some very poor suggestions regarding deadly force - Mark]

Check local junkyards to see if they sold anything as scrap. Some yards require the seller provide their drivers license to sell. You file the stolen property report, and then go to the yard and if they find a match, they have the suspect's info.
 
Todd Parr
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Mark Tudor wrote:You could also shoot them dead and the law will protect you from any legal retaliation.



That isn't true and is very likely to land you with a life sentence.  A barn is not designed for people to be living in.  Castle doctrine is to protect you in your home and vehicle.  It does not extend you the right, in any way, to shoot someone stealing from you outside your residence.  Shooting the windows out of a fleeing car is illegal in every state.  "If asked, it's just there for storage." removes your right to shoot someone even coming into your trailer and is exactly the wrong thing to say.  "Bird shot from a distance" is attempted murder if the person isn't breaking into your residence or car.  Advising a woman that is 54 with health issues and another that is 79 to have an armed confrontation against a group of meth addicts is very bad advice in my opinion.
 
James Freyr
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Mark Tudor wrote: I would keep it loaded though, and bird shot from a distance probably wouldn't kill if that's a concern. You could also shoot them dead and the law will protect you from any legal retaliation.



I agree with Todd. I think this is terrible advice. Any home defense or firearms instructor worth any salt will advise that shooting another person is the absolute last resort, after you've warned them, after you've tried to talk them into turning around and leaving, after you've fired a warning shot.

I understand Pearl started this thread clearly asking for advice and suggestions, but I think this could really complicate matters far worse for her than they already are.
 
Mark Tudor
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After reading my previous post again I totally agree. What my dad and adjacent relatives have done to protect their land in the same situations is not good advice. I've removed the related text.

Other than looking at junkyards and on Craigslist for the stolen property after filing a police report, I would suggest removing everything else from the property and putting it into a storage rental place to protect it, or somewhere that is watched 24/7. Otherwise everything else will likely be stolen as well if nobody is present to protect the property.
 
pollinator
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If you haven't already, say everything you've said in your post, including all your feelings, to the local community who live on acreages around you.

A local woman bought a really rundown bar in the town over 5 years ago. The place has flooded, the roof partly collapsed, it gets broken into about 4 times a year and the woman has been dealing with cancer for awhile. Upon finding out, the community came out to help clean up after the flood, donated time and lumber to fix the roof and always tries to support this woman's efforts in their town.

Reach out and I guarantee you will get at least some kind of help with all these issues you are facing. I'm sure there are neighbours around who would gladly let you use their tractors and tools to help you finish up your projects.

---

I agree with many others in saying to hell with the codes. A camper as a temporary house is not hurting anyone and so the probability of someone using the law against you for this is very low.

---

Is the basement of the barn the only safe place to keep your things? You mention about a community watch, but is it possible that someone nearby with a security system could let you keep your most expensive remaining tools at their place for now?

Other than that, I'd agree with Mark's suggestion:

Mark Tudor wrote:I would set up residence inside the barn, a small camper inside that you can stay in. If asked, it's just there for storage.



(Unless there is some health reason connected with staying in the barn. )

I know you said this thought of staying in the barn is frightening, but the likelihood of the thieves coming back is minimal and if you create a network like the community-watch you talked about, it's not like you are really all alone even if it may feel like it right now.

People have used their remote starts for their cars as a sort of pseudo-alarm system. You hear something, hit the panic/alarm button and your car starts honking. It reminds me of when I owned one of those personal attack alarms and they are about 3 times louder than a car alarm as it's very high pitched. I used to set it up on top of my front door before I went to bed, and if anyone opened the door, the pin would pull out and it'd go off. (I put it high enough that you needed an 8ft ladder to turn it off)
It'd likely deter thieves from sticking around for more than a minute, as they'd think it was a real security system contacting the police. This would also alert a few of the neighbours to check in.

Aside from that, everyone here puts up fake security signs around their house. It'd be natural for people to think you bought a security system after being robbed.

Anyways, I just tried to keep in mind your "money is a non-renewable resource" comment. Let us know how things develop, we're here for you
 
pollinator
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Hi Pearl,

So sorry for you having to put up with this.  I've had similar things stolen, although nothing as large as a tractor. 

First, the bad news, if the tools you have left are of the same value as the ones that were stolen, they're probably going to be back and sooner rather than later.  You wouldn't really think that they would return to the seen of the crime, but yes, they are that stupid.  If they think there's more to steal, they'll be back for it.  They know the police rarely patrol like they did in the old days, and an out of the way bar is last on the list to check on.  It's getting worse and worse because of the general economic and addiction situation.  And again, police are just to busy with traffic patrols to really try and find who did it.  (At least that's been my experience)
A motion activated siren is very good for disrupting them.  Make sure the siren speaker is high enough that they can't easily knock it down.  Find one that has reviews that say "Deafening!" This will make them nervous because they don't know if it's attached to an alarm that's calling the police and they will be uncomfortable the whole time and rush it.  If you have electricity at the barn, you that, battery operated ones are sometimes unreliable.  They also have driveway motion activated sensors that can tell you if someone pulled in the drive, or it can be put inside the barn so that it alerts you if they come inside.  Now, I haven't asked him yet, but I believe my brother-in-law has one that reaches a mile.  I give these suggestions because I know how hard it can be to make an old barn "impregnable".

Although I don't think it's an option for you, my father-in-law once had thieves stealing from his trailers and job-site, so he started sleeping in the back of his work truck.  Three days of this and the thieves showed back up, at which point he held them at gun-point, face down until the cops got there.  Again, I know that's probably not an option for you, but it highlights the "coming back" phenomenon.

I've had my shed broken into twice and the second time I had the siren installed and heard it go off, and I was able to block the drive out at which point they abandoned their car and ran.    The alarm I have is no longer made, but they have many, many choices on the internet.    Some are cheap and simple and will just make noise and others will let you know if it's been tripped.  You can get as fancy as you want.

I usually try to keep my karma clean of such thoughts, but I hope the jerks that stole from you choke on their next meal.



 
Travis Johnson
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I think this can be a troubling subject because once a person has been robbed, they realize just how vulnerable they are. My heart goes out to Pearl because she is new to the area, now realizes scary meth addicts live in close proximity, and that the newness of her new place has just been broken of its newness spell. That is a lot to take in, not to mention having someone take the stuff that they have worked hard for, and yes including an expensive Kubota tractor.

It is normal to think of retribution, and of vengeance, but bitterness like that is really just drinking poison and expecting the other person to die; it really does no good and ultimately harms the person dreaming of badthings happening o the other person, though I admit I joked about it myself when I should not have. But I think if this thread was to go in the direction of retribution and violence, we would be doing Pearl an injustice.

My home and farm have never been robbed, but Katie did have her purse stolen one time in Bangor and we lost $1200 in cash. The police did not care too much about catching the guy though they easily could have in my opinion. (They said the Walmart camera had pigeon poop on them, when every streetlight in town has a camera and they could have taken the license plate from the car from those). I am not sure how many times I had to try and let it go and not get upset at the person for what they did,and it was only $1200. I cannot imagine a tractor, so that is even harder to let go.

I guess my only only suggestion would be is to go back to the dealership where you got your tractor and get copies of all the records you have on it, especially the model number. If you have the time then try to do your own investigation on how they would sell the tractor for cash. Tractors are not really easy to sell like cars, so let tractor dealers know they might be trading it in for a new one, pawning it off, scraping it, etc. Kubota's are everywhere so you will see many that look like yours, but you might get lucky and find it. Or the police might. They often do something if several people get robbed. Ultimately that is the thing that is the hardest to get used to when robbed; there is so little you can do.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Hi all, just came in from a very long exhausting day, I did read all of this, and I will comment more later. Too tired to think. Talked to a bunch of people, did some other work not related to this (trying to run a wire to an old lady's bathroom so she can run a heater in there, not going well at all) then spent a good 3 hours shoring up the easiest places in the barn, and will be doing more tomorrow. Brought my ladders back to the rental, because I was too tired to load anything else.

Trying to see if I can get someone to live there in a camper, I have fingers going into the veterans, and into a church. There has to be some guy who wants free rent until my house is done.

Someone (too tired to look back) said tractors are hard to sell. No. In MO, they are classed as tools, not vehicles. No titles, all cash sales, no dealers, they get sold around a LOT. I bought this off CL, and have a "Stolen!" ad running on there right now. Someone said scrap, running tractors are easy cash, you get more for them than if you scrapped them, scrap is running cheap right now.

Someone said something about how it was done: pulled in, tore my hasp off with a crowbar, put a winch on the tractor, dragged it out (loader scrapes on the floor as it dragged) onto a trailer, scooped up the tools that were right in easy sight, and left. Elapsed time, under 20 mins. Maybe under 10 if they are good at this.

And my dinner is ready, and I'm about to pass out from exhaustion. Keep it coming, I am reading it all. THANK YOU for all the kind words. And trust me, I have enough bad revenge ideas (that I won't do) in my head to float a very big boat. :D
 
Pearl Sutton
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Forgot: and will be bringing my tools to the rental until further notice. Where I will put them, I have no clue, there's not room for them. But I can't leave them all there. I'll leave the less interesting stuff there, but the base tools are coming home.

Love the idea of a scream alarm.

Talked to a neighbor, told him about this, said he needs to figure out how to lock his trailer well, Saw him later, he took the wheels off it! Awesome! He wins :)

Looking up lights, cameras, and alarms. In my copious spare time. Flea market tomorrow, I'm going to go walk it and check for my tools. If they are there, it WILL be interesting. 
 
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Hi Pearl,

Just wanted to chime in and say you're not alone. We were robbed this past winter. It was the first time I had anything taken from me. I lived in NYC for 10 years, and not a dime taken. Moved to the country and I got cleaned out. At any rate, we don't live on the land yet, but have been building for the last year. They took 2 chainsaws and a bunch of hand tools which I loved dearly. However, it's not so much the gear as the feeling of being violated. And the anger it created in me was palpable. We've since put up a couple of game cameras and spread the word that we won't be calling the police if we catch any one attempting to repeat their previous endeavour.

I do hope you get things worked out, and yes, community can be so lovely sometimes.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Hi all, thank you for kind words, things have been done, more will be done, I'm over stress puking from it all, etc.
Still sucks, I still get this scared pit in my stomach as I get within sight of the barn, oh god, is it going to be ripped open again?
Only one police type has seemed interested that I can see, a state trooper Ag Crimes guy, who asked for pictures etc. The rest may be doing something, I have no idea, they haven't talked to me if they are.

The most useless advice I have gotten was the other day, talking to a guy in town here. He suggested I put up No Trespassing signs. Um. People who come in the dark with the tools to rip the door off and a winch to steal a tractor aren't going to be deterred by signs...
I was good, I didn't laugh in his face. It was difficult.
 
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The most useless advice I have gotten was the other day, talking to a guy in town here. He suggested I put up No Trespassing signs. Um. People who come in the dark with the tools to rip the door off and a winch to steal a tractor aren't going to be deterred by signs...



Likely that would be useless to prevent a theft but maybe would help with legal action?

Here, your land needs to be 'posted' no trespassing so that during hunting season you have a legal leg to stand on against trespassing hunters and dogs.  I think it includes a notice in the local newspaper and signs posted on the property.....not sure of the details and if it would have any bearing on thefts but might be worth asking the sheriffs dept.?  Not a preventative necessarily, just a clearer statement.

Fences and signs...and a locked door so it's 'breaking and entering'.

So sorry you're going through this.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Judith: Hm. It may be useful for any further, non-theft problems. The people who have been on the property that I have seen are not a problem, tends to be thing like the cable company guys taking their lunch break looking at my lovely view, or the neighbors, looking for strayed calves. Might be nice to have legal help if there is other issues.
And purple means the same thing here, AND it's one of my favorite colors. Double win.

I may have to buy another tractor if mine doesn't show up soon, I can't do my work without one. Either way, I'll put a GPS on it, and probably paint it screaming bright purple :D I'm like that. Just hadn't had time when I wasn't working my tail off to paint my Lady of Steel. I had put eyes on her, so she could see where she was going, but they were just printed and taped on. (If she can't see where she's going, how could she tell me if I needed to know there was a problem? Don't know if she would, but definitely wouldn't if she can't see!) (Makes sense in my head.) When I had any spare time around her, I had small repairs to do, clutch to adjust so it didn't hurt my knee so bad, etc.

 
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My sister lives up in Alaska and her dead beat friends of her husband kept borrowing her snowmobile to go ride with and either left her behind, or left it without gas. So she painted the think Breast-Cancer Awareness Pink and called it good. It was better than good, her husband's dead beat friends might be dead-beats but they don't want to be caught dead riding a pink snowmobile so I guess she won!

And a neighbor of mine painted his gravel trucks pink and purple. The guy is the biggest redneck I ever saw. The man does not even use the word yes, he says "Oh big 10-4 on that" in even everyday conversation, so he is a mans' man for sure. But as he said, people know whose truck it is on a job without seeing his name on the side.

Your tractor would be the same way painted as such. People would see you driving it about, and would definitely remember it going by on a flatbed if it was ever stolen. "What are you doing with Pearl's tractor" would be a huge deterrent to a thief. The last thing a thief wants is to draw attention to themselves.

Myself, I would be lost without my tractors. I have 3, but all are so different. I could not imagine losing even one of them as it would make my work about my farm so hard! It seems you have limited mobility if I am reading between the lines just right, and cannot imagine trying to work without full physical function. I had a thyroid issue lately that caused me so much lack of energy that I nearly could not function. My heart goes out to you for sure.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Personally, I just like a good excuse to paint things!
But yes, to make it noticeable as mine would be a major reason. And, knowing me, it's doubtful it would be just a solid color without any added weirdness. If I get to paint the tractor, it will be "interesting and memorable" ("What the hell did she DO to that poor tractor?!")

And yes, my mobility is an issue. Some days much worse than others, the property design accommodates that, paths that can have wheeled things on them, steps with seriously sturdy rails for hauling myself up them, house is wheelchair accessible etc. And yeah, lack of tractor is already being annoying, not up to critical yet. I'm giving it a bit longer before I start shopping for a new one. But the other day I looked at the season change, oh cool, the grass died back, I can see the ground levels easy right now, I should fill that hole while I know where it is... Oops. Not only no tractor, not even a wheelbarrow right now. Haven't dealt with that either. I have parts to build wheelbarrows, just need to get my act together and do it. Been doing other things, giving the police time. Maybe it will all come back. Maybe a UFO will land and do my earth works for me :) Ya just never know...

Although realistically, if the UFO did offer to do my earthworks, it gets back to why I need to do them myself, slow paced, so I have time to deal with planting sections at a time, not have it all torn up and no time/money to plant it decently. This area has an erosion problem. Part of why I bought a tractor, can't afford to pay for one to come in as often as I need it to be able to work at a pace my health and finances can tolerate. I need to be able to work small sections as I am able to, and I often don't know until 20 mins before I start working what I'll be able to do on a given day. Scheduling with other people is often difficult. I have lived with this for many years though, and am good at working with my limitations, I'm great at process flow, time management, leverage, creative tool useage etc. But yes, the tractor was bought to fill a definite niche in my world, and I do miss her, she's an awesome asset to my world.

I will end up with a tractor soon, just a matter of how. I have money, but it's tightly budgeted for other things. I hope I don't have to spend it on this. Pray for my Lady of Steel to be rescued from her kidnappers. (Visual of my little Kubota tied up in front of a dragon's lair, looking all damsel in distress-ish) (Wait! I don't want to offer half my kingdom and her hand in marriage to some prince! I hear that's the going rate for damsel in distress rescuing.)

At least I'm back to laughing about things :D
 
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I do admire you for laughing at things, I am not really sure what I would do. I am glad you said that last line however as I can post this which is about as opposite as your situation as you can get, that is my Painted Lady of Steel being the aggressor and the Damsel in Distress being tied to the tree!

I really wish my bulldozer was there for you, it does pretty good at moving earth, erosion control is its forte, and there is no thieves alive that are going to drag this 60,000 behemoth onto a trailer and steal it. Now with that being said, if you would like to envision you driving this thing while duly rolling over those that stole your Lady of Steel, go right ahead. It takes a lot to stall the ole girl out, thieves included.

All kidding aside, I have a heart for people (but not thieves) and in a different time or place I would love to be free of the time and financial constraints of my own farm, and use my skills, knowledge and abilities to help Permie people out everywhere. I know people are capable, but to help people that have been kicked in the gut by dregs of society that steal, or people who just physically cannot do all that needs to be done, or people that just need a boost with an extra hand for a few weeks. I could image the camaraderie would be amazing, and friendships made that lasted a long time. I am not able to do this at this time, but if others could, I would encourage them. A person can never go wrong helping another person. You never know when the person you have helped, will end up helping you.



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Pearl Sutton
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Travis Johnson wrote:I do admire you for laughing at things, I am not really sure what I would do. I am glad you said that last line however as I can post this which is about as opposite as your situation as you can get, that is my Painted Lady of Steel being the aggressor and the Damsel in Distress being tied to the tree!


Bahah! YOU WIN, Sir! That is excellent! Maybe I need to visualize my Lady Tractor menacing the thieves!! "Grrr.... I blow diesel smoke at you and wave my bucket menacingly! Don't make me use my 1946 cultivator attachment!"

And I laugh, because it's my nature, I'm one of god's gigglers, and because if I didn't, with all the crap in my life, I'd never stop crying. So I laugh at things. You'd be amazed at what I can find to laugh at. I'm on the floor in a store, because I can't get back up? I inspect the underside of the shelving for cleanliness! Someone has to My best friend's going in for surgery, and it's been delayed several hours, hey look, you have a wristband and an empty space for allergies, I have a sharpie. "Be sure to note his allergies! Bad rap music. Nurses who don't smile. The color orange." We could sit and stress about the surgery, or we can get out the sharpies... I cope with my problems by doing something useful, or by laughing. or better yet, both. Laugh as I design a system to make it work correctly in the future. "The problem is not that I fell and was stuck, the problem is they don't pay me enough to inspect their grubby shelving!"

And bulldozer would rock, yes. Not for my day to day work, but for big stuff. I have had someone do skidsteer work for me, we didn't have time, he said he'd teach me to drive it, it's easy. Need to call him, see if he has time. For day to day small stuff the little tractor is little me sized, and if I have to work on it, it doesn't take a ladder to look at it's engine. I belong to the school of thought "never buy a car you cannot push" and I don't know if I could push the Kubota, but I KNOW I can't push your bulldozer!!

Your dream of helping permies remind me of another thread (  https://permies.com/t/71419/Bizarre-tractor-idea-day#599684 ) where you and I talked of spider excavators, and I said I'd LOVE to see one traveling around the country, stopping at any of us Permies who wanted it, to do our weird work we couldn't do otherwise. I still love that idea. Maybe if we keep mentioning it, someone will do it   (If someone does, tell me, I want to be on the list!)
 
Travis Johnson
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We are not that far apart you and I. I have three tractors granted, but one is a small Kubota that has served me faithfully ever since 1999. That is much more than I can say for my first wife who was...oh lets say...social. Yes social is a good word. Perhaps understated considering...and there was a time I could not laugh about it ,and someday I want to explain to all Permie's on here why that caused me to really appreciate people and the hard-aches they have gone through. Looking back it was the toughest thing I endured, but also what shaped me into the caring person that I am today, and yes why my heart goes out to the loss of your tractor through thieves.

I grew up with bulldozers which is why I love them, but a skid steer is probably a more capable machine considering the attachments they can have. I would not personally buy one without tracks, but even wheeled machines are great. My next purchase will be an excavator, but it is out of my budget and the cards for right now. I say this because I clear land, both on my farm, and occasionally for other people. At this time last year I was doing a 18 acre pasture on the side of a freaking mountain, and I say freaking, because I was freaking out. It was so steep I had to jam my bucket in a stump and drag the excavator up the mountainside; the rock was such that the tracks would not get a grip. That is steep! For now I can rent what I need anyway, but the transportation back and forth kills me on costs. Besides if you own a machine, it is always there to use. Last Spring I got in a jam and ended up using my skidder (a 100% forestry machine) to grade a field I was crop-rotating, which is something I could not do if I had not had it.

Our pastor is working through a sermon series on hot topics, and yet last week after finding out I had cancer took a break from that, to talk about accepting help. It was for me, I know it because we talked afterwards. The premise was simple, sometimes everything within us says to saddle up and ride through the gun fire, but it did not work well in the Charge of the Light Brigade, and it may not end well for me either. Accepting help and kindness is okay. Obviously there is a limit, but deep down I hope you really do approach your kindhearted neighbor with the skidsteer, tell him of the theft and ask for help if things are needed before freeze up. It is too late here, winter has set in, but maybe where you live there is some time.

This is a VERY difficult time of year, lots to be done before winter and I am never ready. My barn told me that yesterday; the water froze going out to the sheep barns. @#$%^&** can't anything go right for just a few days? Why do I always have to struggle? I never can get the answer for that accept that it makes me compassionate to others who must endure hardships too.

We are all in this together...

 
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My father owned the quarter-section that I have now and when he died, some unknown person came in
and grabbed 3 bundles of fence posts and and about $1200 dollars of metal roofing that was stored out
side.  My theory on  why no locks or windows were broken on either the house  or the shed is that the
person would have to admit,at least to himself, that he was "breaking in".  In this case, I think
he believed he was only taking something that my father, being dead, "no longer needed".

Police couldn't do much, so I asked a locksmith what he could suggest to prevent further thefts.  He
asked me "How long is your driveway into your place" and I replied that it was over 200 feet long.
He said to put in a gate at the driveway entrance visible from the road---and lock it.

He said most people,if they can't drive in, are too lazy to walk in and carry stuff out.  Plus the time
needed to cut the lock resistant to bolt cutters or hacksaws while visible to anybody passing by
would be an additional deterrent.

I did this and never had an another problem while the property was vacant.  When my son moved
onto the property several years later there was one instance of a nighttime creepy-crawler who walked
in and told my son's dog to "Shut up".  My son,who looked out to find out why the dog was barking and
heard  this--so he yelled out "You want to tell my shotgun to shut up?"  Creepy-crawler transformed into
"energizer bunny" and left.

 
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Pearl, forgive me if someone else mentioned this.

Talk with your insurance agent.  If you have renters insurance you have coverage for a certain amount of items off premise.  If that amount is not sufficient you can increase it.

You also may be able to purchase a policy for a tractor.  You might have to go with a specialty company like Foremost to insure the tractor.

You can also purchase a personal article policy where you list the items and the amount they are valued for or the amount they are insured for.
 
Pearl Sutton
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R Jay: Gate of some sort needs to be installed. There's no good choke point for it right now, I have some thorny fruit bushes I will plant along the edge to make a choke point. The best place currently would require us to stop in the road to open it, which is not a good option on this road. I have also been considering the laziness factor, as well as the easy to pull up with a car factor. Ideal would be some kind of electric gate (the electric meter post is right there, it's part of the best choke point) but that's currently not affordable, I'm watching for parts for one at the second hand stores I haunt. There is a secondary driveway that is even easier to access, and it may be more of an issue, so I need to figure out how to close it off too. Oh, and in the list of tools they stole with the tractor was my bolt cutters, the thieves can cut locks now, they have my good cutters. Whee. And my best prybar. I HATE that I have enabled them to be more effective. I'm all about building effective systems for myself, but, dammit, not for criminals.

Anne Miller: There was no insurance. Long story, involving building codes problems, so no home insurance yet, no builder's risk yet, no farm ins yet. So no, no insurance. I had spent the week this happened talking to insurance agents, getting prices, since we were finally getting codes clearance to build. My lord, that's a racket and half. I'm NOT pleased with their options. If you know of any good cheap companies that offer more flexible policies, I'd LOVE to know who they are, I'm not thrilled with anything I have heard. What they charge, for what they will insure is too much money and won't pay for what I actually want insured.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:R Jay: Gate of some sort needs to be installed. There's no good choke point for it right now,



Gate that we use is painted metal gate with 3 8-foot railroad ties on each side of gate set 4 feet down as fence posts--sometimes
you got to make your own choke point.

Then we use a wire rope sling wrapped around both ends of the fence, then arrange so the lock is on the inner side of
the fence.  Wire rope is hard to cut and if you use a high quality lock that is not visible from the road.....but really,
all any theft prevention measure does is just slow the professional down.  What you are trying to do is making the
average thief--"Joe Low"--feel that it is too much effort and go somewhere else where it might be easier to break in.

Slings can be bought at retail industrial supply outlets-- eg: Acklands Granger [Granger in the States}

Edited to add picture of sling....
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I park my old truck in front of the doors. Locked and battery out if I am gone for a spell. I have lost thousands to theft. Actually, odds are it is someone you know. I still think these career criminals need to be delt with.

Anyway maybe it is time to rethink all of this. Good luck.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote: Anne Miller: There was no insurance. Long story, involving building codes problems, so no home insurance yet, no builder's risk yet, no farm ins yet. So no, no insurance. I had spent the week this happened talking to insurance agents, getting prices, since we were finally getting codes clearance to build. My lord, that's a racket and half. I'm NOT pleased with their options. If you know of any good cheap companies that offer more flexible policies, I'd LOVE to know who they are, I'm not thrilled with anything I have heard. What they charge, for what they will insure is too much money and won't pay for what I actually want insured.



Pearl, please understand that I was replying to this, because I feel there are options.  I feel there are options to getting your items insured.

  We can’t get insurance on the place yet. We expected to be building right away, which hasn’t happened. So we can’t get a homeowner’s policy because there’s no home. We can’t get a farm policy because it’s not a farm. Builder’s risk policy is only good for a year, so we are holding getting that till we are sure we are actually breaking ground this time. Not sure what exactly builder’s risk covers as far as stuff on the property. So all of this is uninsured. And if it was insured, it’s old tools, not cool antiques, just useable, old, beat up tools. If we try to file a claim, I have no idea what they’d consider replacement. I can’t afford to buy all new tools, or even more used ones.



You rent a house or an apartment, don't you?  You can get renters insurance and have the 10% off premise coverage for a future event.

I am sure that the Personal Article policy is not cheap, but it might be an option.

You plan to buy another tractor?  Try talking with Foremost Insurance company or another specialty type insurance co.

I have a golf cart and the trailer that we haul it with insured with Foremost Ins for $102.00 a year.

As to the value of the "old tools, not cool antiques"  get a receipt when you buy them, even if you buy at a garage sale or craigs list; then you have something for the claims adjustor to use as the value.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Anne: Ah, apologies for the confusion. I wrote this thread when it happened in Oct, and I'm finally not stress puking any more, but I find it hard to reread what I had written then, as it stirs it all up again in my head. I had forgotten I had said anything about insurance. I will look up Foremost for tractor coverage, thank you.

I'd love to end up with homeowner's insurance that covers the things I consider relevant, that was what I meant when I asked about "good cheap companies that offer more flexible policies." Most of the companies I have talked to have said things like "to get this rate your car insurance must be with us too, and it's not cheap, and we only offer full coverage." I am SO not a fan of insurance companies at this point. I can understand why they do what they do, but I just don't have the money for this. I wish I could find a balance between feeling like I have help if I need it and paying lots of money (that I don't have) for someone else's idea of what should be covered. Wonder if anyone does "poor folks homestead" insurance :) There's a market for it!!
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:
Codes in town don’t allow for things like living in an RV on the lot while you build, so our possessions are mostly stored on the property in an old basement and the barn, and we live in a rental a mile away. When we got here (before it all got unwieldy) we expected to be living in our new home there soon. This has not been the case.

Codes says it’s illegal to live in a trailer when there’s no house on the lot. On my list for the day is find out what the punishment is for that, and see if it’s something I’m willing to take. If so, I’m thinking find someone who lives in a trailer and wants free or cheap rent to live there and hopefully be pissy at any intruders. Call it a security guard? Lots of veterans in this area, or maybe a permie looking for a place for the winter. If I moved out there in an RV, I expect it would make a lot of the logistics of everything I’m doing worse, as well as I’m currently scared, and a trailer doesn't feel safe, not sure I’m a good choice for this. Plus I’d have to buy one.

We can’t get insurance on the place yet. We expected to be building right away, which hasn’t happened. So we can’t get a homeowner’s policy because there’s no home. We can’t get a farm policy because it’s not a farm. Builder’s risk policy is only good for a year, so we are holding getting that till we are sure we are actually breaking ground this time. Not sure what exactly builder’s risk covers as far as stuff on the property. So all of this is uninsured. And if it was insured, it’s old tools, not cool antiques, just useable, old, beat up tools. If we try to file a claim, I have no idea what they’d consider replacement. I can’t afford to buy all new tools, or even more used ones. Gets back to “money is currently a non-renewable resource.” No plan here yet. Best I have is the idea of someone living there.

Suggestions for how to deal with any or all of this?



First of all, I am so sorry for what has happened to you! Thugs who steal from poor people are the scum of the earth!

As for the thieves ... chances are whoever stole your stuff is local because they probably watched the place and knew that you and your mom were the only ones there and weren't there a good portion of the time. That is why they picked that spot to break into. Thieves are opportunists, so if they get another opportunity, they may try again IF they think there is something there worth bothering with. My advice on that score is to not leave anything there that they will bother with. Anything you can toss in your car and take home with you at the end of a workday, DO take home. If you get another tractor or have any other piece of equipment too large to haul off at days end, ask a neighbor (one who actually lives on site) if you can park it at their place (maybe you could pay them a small amount if they seem hesitant). If possible, rent a nearby storage space just to keep your tools in so you can keep them safe until you need them. It may be inconvenient, but that's better than not having them at all.

You could also make stealing your stuff very difficult by putting really huge chains connected to hard-to-remove objects (like boulders or big trees) around them and using a hardened combination padlock to safeguard the chain. (I know on some construction sites, all the tools go into a huge metal box at the end of the day and the box is hauled up to the top of a crane out of reach. You aren't going to do that, of course, but my point is, there must be ways to make it harder for them than sticking it in a rickety old barn.) The longer they have to mess with getting something, the less likely they will try. Then if you have some wifi cams focused on the stuff, you can buy more time to catch them in the act. That's where the loud alarms someone mentioned will also come in handy. If the thieves are having a hard time getting the stuff unlocked and an alarm starts blaring incessantly, they will probably be scared off before they steal it.

Another possibility is to hire someone to come out and camp on the spot. Maybe it could even be an exchange of camping permission for guard duty sort of thing. Someone who doesn't have a home to go to might like having a free spot to camp. They wouldn't have to actually do anything other than be there because my sense is that these thieves were taking advantage of the fact that the land was not occupied. If they find someone there, they will probably go elsewhere.

Meanwhile ... I think if you look closer at the statuettes you may find that you can stay on site while you build. You have 4 acres so I believe you may qualify for a farm number. (In some areas the amount of acreage is 5 acres, but I'm pretty sure I have heard that 3 acres qualify in others. You should check with your local USDA representative. If you send me a pm with your city and county, I can help you check some of this stuff.) Even if you can't get a farm number, I really don't see the authorities giving you a hard time for putting up a tent or staying in an RV (if the wheels are aired up, it technically counts as a vehicle rather than a home, so you can claim you're just "visiting". Move it once in awhile and no one will be able to claim it is permanently parked there. Gotta love technicalities!)

As for insurance ... contact State Farm about land insurance. We needed to get insurance on part of our land that has nothing on it because we were worried about people trespassing across our power cut to get to the national forest adjacent to us. They not only insured the raw land but gave us coverage for the rest of it too--including the area with our house, well and electric pole. All for only $54 per year!!! (We have 75 acres and a farm number, however, so that might make a difference. I don't know, but it is certainly worth checking into.)

Last of all, as someone else mentioned, keep checking Craigslist (not just locally, but statewide and across the border in Arkansas too). I would also watch for the posting of items for sale on bulletin boards in area businesses like laundromats, grocery and feed stores, etc. They may be keeping a low profile to sell. Check out local auctions as well and talk to people who may have reason to notice a cheap tractor for sale somewhere (local farmers and homesteader types). There are lots of ways to sell something without making it too obvious.

Good luck!



 
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Pearl,
Hope you came through the winter in good shape.

I had the loader stolen off my tractor last year. It was the most valuable part of the machine.

Theft forces us to be different from what we would like to be, like putting up gates and fences and trail cameras   but we are being forced.

Having land without a home on it is the challenge that inhibits alot of people, especially would-be homesteaders.

It isn't universal, but land is not usually considered collateral on its own , only with improvements, unless its in a highly desireable area of course.

I have been dealing with some of these issues for years.

I have been forced to survey and cut up and carve out of our 100 acres , just to both protect it and to finance some of it ( housing).

If you have 30 acres , and can raise $1000. , have 1-2 acres where your barn and proposed house site surveyed off,this will then allow you to finance your build more easily and keep the rest of the land safe( don't offer it as collateral) from unforseen financial challenges.

Doing this will not change the way you use your land , just change the way it is organized. It has worked well for me and my family. In a way it helps  focus efforts .

I bring this up because I sense the most important challenge is housing . Once you can live on that land the security issues will subside. My loader got stolen when it was away from my house at a quarry site. They will always target unwatched sites. I won't leave things out of sight as a result.

Good luck with it all and hope this will be a better year for you and every one of us working hard to live a good life on the land !



 
Pearl Sutton
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Edited to add: Feel free to share the picture with the feathers, DO NOT link back to me or credit me. Please read my post farther down the thread about it before you do.

Email I sent to family and friends:
Hi all!
Mass emailing to formally announce the purchase of a new tractor to replace my Kubota that got stolen (which has not shown up.) The way that one was stolen was the barn door was pried open, and they put a winch on her, and dragged her onto a trailer. This one isn't going to drag anywhere easily. It's a 47 hp International Harvester, from about 1969, used by the highway maintenance crews in the early 1970's. Axle weight is a bit over 2 tons, I had to rent an equipment hauling trailer to get it home. Papa's truck is amazing, it geared down and pulled it, I knew it could!


My tractors are all female in my world, "If it has tires or testicles, you'll have trouble with it!" They already have tires, ain't having testicles. I named this one after a character in a book I like, Lady Sybil Ramkin. She's a big lady, a duchess with an intimidating bosom, who prefers to spend her time out in the pens where she raises dragons, in mud boots. She's very sweet, but when she decides she has to put her foot down, there is no stopping her. I painted this on the front of the tractor.



I wanted to put distinctive paint on her, so anyone who sees this tractor KNOWS it's mine. Part of the problem with the Kubota theft is all Kubotas look alike. People remember artwork if it hits their emotions, either so lovely they can't forget it, or so horrifying they are appalled. Beauty is very subjective (I personally am not a fan of the Mona Lisa) but appalling is pretty widespread. The name of the paint job is "My Lord, What Did She DO To That Poor Tractor?!?" 

I give you Lady Sybil Ramkin, and her paint job....



I do not think it will be easy to mistake. And it will take a sandblaster to get that off. Theft resistant due to excess weirdness. I am also doing other things to make her hard to steal, parking her someplace difficult, wedging the loader so she can't be pulled out, chaining her, and removing important bits of the engine. But the paint... that can ONLY help!  I find it difficult to think anyone will steal something like that.
 
Mark Deichmann
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Well done Pearl!!

Love the paint job   " she's beautiful" !  Right you are about how you park it.  It s all a person can do. You have a great new helper  now !

Have a great season-
 
James Freyr
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Congrats Pearl! I'm happy for you and glad you have a tractor again. I like the pain job and think she's beautiful.
 
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Faboo paint job.  Great inspiration as well.

Nice way to bounce back from a rotten situation, with determined panache.
 
pollinator
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

I wanted to put distinctive paint on her, so anyone who sees this tractor KNOWS it's mine. ......
I do not think it will be easy to mistake. And it will take a sandblaster to get that off. Theft resistant due to excess weirdness. I am also doing other things to make her hard to steal, parking her someplace difficult, wedging the loader so she can't be pulled out, chaining her, and removing important bits of the engine. But the paint... that can ONLY help!  I find it difficult to think anyone will steal something like that.



Very lovely ... and unforgettable!

Sorry to read that the Kubota was never recovered!  This is a great idea... to paint large equipment so distinctively and curiously that it will make even meth heads have second thoughts!!!

I may borrow this idea and make a post about it on Steemit.com/@em3

Would you mind, Pearl, if I use images of your lovely new tractor? I will certainly link to your post here.

Peace
 
The moth suit and wings road is much more exciting than taxes. Or this tiny ad:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
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