Jared McLaren grew up on his family’s farm in the small southwest Iowa town of Farragut. Driving tractors was part of daily life for him and his family, who farm a large number of acres of corn and soybeans.
After landing a job as a computer security engineer at Wellmark, McLaren now measures his land in square feet, not acres. In 2003, he moved into a modern Grimes home with 10,000 square feet of land, less than a quarter of an acre.
About the same time, his dad purchased a new tractor to tend the yard at the farm and found that the old tractor, a 1993 John Deere 425, was worth less on the trade-in market than he wanted to let it go for, so he offered it to his son with the new house.
“I call it ‘Overkill,’ ” says McLaren. “The first time I took it out, the neighbors were peering out their windows at me, wondering what I needed such a big lawn mower for with such a small yard.”
The John Deere 425 is a 25 horsepower tractor with a 54-inch hydraulic mowing deck, much more than a 10,000-square-foot yard needs. Most neighbors mow with a small push mower, according to McLaren. His family is used to owning and operating large equipment. After the floods that ravaged southwest Iowa in 1998, his family bought an excavator to repair the levys along the East Nishnabotna River themselves.
“I feel like a bit of a fool with such a large mower,” McLaren says. “But I’m done in 15 minutes. I didn’t know many families in my neighborhood, but as I began to meet them, they would describe me as ‘the guy with the lawn mower.’ ”
Far from lazy, McLaren participates in triathlons and bike races and is currently preparing for a fall marathon in Germany.
“A friend who lives a block away once told me ‘For years, we thought you were some lazy guy, but then discovered that you finish your lawn in 15 minutes and go out for a 75-mile bike ride,’ ” he says.Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or email@example.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”