01 February 2008

The Trailer

While Meg and I continue to work towards making Future House Farm a present day reality, there are a list of little things we can do in support of our eventual long term goals. One of our projects during the interim is to become a reasonably effective one-vehicle couple.

When we decided to pare down to one vehicle; we had to make sure that we bought one that could meet our transportation, camping, and gardening needs. Since we drive very little, fuel economy naturally took a back seat to our ability to haul things. We did look at possibly buying a pickup, but when it came to maintenance and versatility, we decided to go with a Jeep. The only set back to the Jeep is that it would require a trailer in order to meet our hauling needs.

The set back is no more. Thanks to Craigslist, we got a great deal on a homemade trailer that should last us forever. The axle looks like it came off of a car, it has leaf springs, and the frame is solid and primered. It doesn't have a title yet and we had to install the lights at a Park-n-Ride just off of the highway. After we get a title and install a gate, a lot of projects around here will finally become a reality.


Ali said...

A trailer seems like a great compromise. I should get another 5 years out of my car, and I hope by the time I trade it in, we'll have better choices of hybrid, biodiesel and or just plain highly efficient cars. Practice backing up before you need it!


Anonymous said...

My 5x8 trailer is the best purchase I have made for Big Gardening. It turns my 30mpg Subaru Forester into a workhorse that can haul 1500lbs of anything; it truly excels at mulch/manure/compost loads and does OK on field stone. And when I am done I still have the fuel efficient car vs putting gas in a more dedicated work truck all the time.

Good move and congrats!

Anonymous said...

Wow! think of all the messy compost fodder you can haul home in THAT!

We did the one-car thing as city people; it just made sense. As farm owners, we've been station wagon kinds of people. The hubby has a Volvo wagon and I have my old diesel VW Golf. Both cars are ancient...they're about 15 years old, but wow, they've hauled a lot of stuff for us (including sheep and chickens and dogs). But a trailer: the mind reels. As it is, we rely on a neighbor's truck to do our dirty work for us :) like all that manure I get from down the road... That said, I have no notion of what vehicles will replace the ones we have. Hauling is key, so is driving the kid around. Who knows!

mom said...

Congratulations on the new trailer - it looks great! Good for you! MOM

steven said...

I'm headed in the same direction vehicle-wise. My seven(?) year old Honda CRV is great, but I need something that is sturdier and can tow a decent load. Great trailer, Craigslist is the best.

Anonymous said...

Great acquisition! You'll be suprised by how many different uses you'll find for it. Eric made a homemade one from scraps for us too. We've been really happy with it.

Kelly said...

Ali, So far the decisions we've made on our vehicle have exceeded expectations. You mentioned biodiesel;are you considering making your own? I ask this because it is something we would like to do and it would be great if there was someone out there to share resources with.

I am terrible at backing up a trailer. Tons of practice is certainly in our future.

Rob, We considered Subarus, and still may buy one in the future, but a Wrangler was more cost effective and they can be customized to suit a variety of needs. We are certainly losing out on fuel economy, but hopefully we can convert it to run on biodiesel.

El, The fact that we have reliable public transportation and are currently kidless, a one vehicle existence is quite simple. However, our plans for the future will have us in a more rural setting with little clones in tow. When this happens we will have to get a second ride, probably for family usage, and convert the Jeep to a diesel engine (fuel economy and power).

By the way, have you considered installing a tow package on your VW? Diesel engines have fantastic towing power. Your car could easily haul a smaller single axle trailer.

Hey Laurel, Thanks, the trailer-shower invites will be in the mail soon.

Steven, Craigslist is fantastic. What kind of vehicle are looking to get? Are you going to stay with an SUV or are you looking at a pickup?

The only potential drawback to our Jeep is that if we wanted to tow a larger duel axle trailer, we'd be up a creek. Our Wrangler is pretty heavy duty, but we never thought to investigate things like towing, breaking, and tongue weight. I don't foresee us needing that kind of power, but it is something I would tell anyone looking to consider.

Angie, We're big fans of homemade trailers. They can be customize, like our Jeep, to suit any number of needs. I can see this single axle beauty showing up in many posts in the future.

steven said...

I'm leaning toward a small 4x4 pick-up. I wish I still had my '85 Suburban, I could carry anything in that truck, but I'm glad I'm not paying for the gas anymore.

Kelly said...


There are some great small size 4x4's out there. My brother just purchased a Chevy Colorado and absolutely loves it. He's an industrial welder, so I was surprised that he went with a smaller model, but he has raved about it's versatility. Happy hunting.