ok boys, I finally got around to posting about my new machine. after lots of research, especially reading tons of posts on this forum, I took the plunge in February for a new 1025R. It was delivered on 3/22 and replaced a JD X300 that had served me well for 5 years. this is my first real tractor never having anything diesel or with hydraulics so I'm still working the learning curve. I acquired another 6 acres behind my house so that was part of my "reasoning" to upgrade. a friend who has an orange tractor said I wouldn't regret upgrading because with the FEL it's like having another person help you. another big reason was the snow. even though I have a plow guy, he only plows when there is 3" or more. many times we had less than that but repeated snows in rapid fire left me with a good packed layer.
I was hoping that I would get to use it soon after it arrived but a week later we got nailed by the last of the many thousands of winter storms in Upstate NY. the upside is I got my first seat time moving 12" of wet snow. not much has happened until I mowed the first time last week because my yard resembled a sponge. the downtime was useful though as I installed a set of Kenny's Bolt-on hooks, replaced the seat springs with the custom version from psrumors and modified the RIO. I also added some PVC tubes to my ballast box for yard implements and chains.
anyhow since I know the rule is pictures pictures pictures, here you go. the last two are my first chance to do some man duties. FEL worked out well.
anyhow thanks to everyone who contributes to the forum. I was able to come up to speed on a few things very quickly and just reasing about other people's scenarios helped me realize I wasn't going over the top on the upgrade. as I gain experience I hope to be able to contribute myself down the road.