The New June Bug

We purchased our first side by side vehicle, six years and 20,000 km’s ago. At the time I thought we were paying for an extravagant toy.  The first day home with the new black and silver Polaris Ranger we invited the three border collies to check it out and instantly dubbed it the Border Collie bus.

From that day onward each stock dog has come to understand that ‘get on the bus’ means we’re very possibly going to the sheep, but at the least, we’re going for an adventure.  The extravagant toy turned to out to be an essential vehicle for life on a grass based sheep ranch.

The Ranger is strictly a farm vehicle, only driven around our land. It’s our main farm vehicle and we use it year round. We use it rather than the truck. We’ve driven it through deep water, deep snow, deep mud, rough terrain and regular trails.

All the dogs, livestock guardians included, have ridden on the bus at one time or another.  It carries pups back and forth to pasture, and sick and injured dogs home to the yard; it hauls all manner of material in it’s ample box space, and has towed a few things too. 

Several ewes have been for a ride in the back and more than several lambs have ridden on the seat beside us or on our lap.  During one winter it was our feed vehicle, and we fitted it with a bale roller for unrolling round bales.  It became so commonplace it even made its way into some of my artwork.

We’ve done 20,000 km’s of pasture-touring and checking-sheep on this unit and it’s now time to retire the Border Collie bus.  It is parked in the shop for a much needed overhaul of parts and a little TLC.  It runs fine and will serve someone well in its retirement years yet, but given how much we rely on this vehicle and how many miles we pile on, we elected to purchase a new one. 

Unlike Allen, I don’t get that excited by vehicles, but my appreciation of the Ranger runs deep. What I do get excited about, and what I respect and admire and feel hopeful about, is that someone out there had an idea and a passion to make such a vehicle, and saw the idea through, and now I’m one of many recipients of that idea and passion.  How nifty is that.

This one was nicknamed June Bug before we left the dealership. A bit of a new look, a new color and a newer model, but otherwise a very familiar face to us. ‘Get-on-the-bus’ will continue to be a well used phrase around here.