The tractor originally came from Soldotna. It had been a rental unit there and had real low hours. It only needed a loader attachment. The local John Deere dealers found a loader for a 970 tractor in Anchorage and installed it before shipping it up to Fairbanks. That loader is a little bigger than the one for an 870 tractor and gave it a larger bucket. The loader only lacked a grill guard for it to be complete. No problem, I said, we’ll put one on ourselves.
Over the years, an occasional log has come over the top of the bucket, just missing the grill or headlights, but no harm was done. One time I picked up a heavy piece of equipment with a chain attached to the loader. Once lifted, it swung right into the front of the tractor. Amazingly, nothing happened. But I knew it was just a matter of time until something broke. Last summer when I was getting some parts at the dealer, I checked out a new tractor they had for sale. Not only did it have a grill guard, it was made of expanded metal, welded to the front of the loader frame. Incredible, I thought, the perfect grill guard. So the next time I was near one of the local steel yards, I wandered through their scrap pile and found a decent piece of expanded metal. They cut it to the approximate size and I had my grill guard. Well it only took another year or so to finally attach it to the tractor, trim it to fit, weld, sandblast, and then finally paint it John Deere green. Now it looks just like a factory job and it only took about twenty years.