Author Topic: Rural equipment discussion: Got anything interesting?  (Read 1897 times)

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3875
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Rural equipment discussion: Got anything interesting?
« on: October 09, 2017, 09:49:17 PM »
I know there are a number of rural members here, so I thought I'd ask to see if anyone has any particularly interesting equipment for dealing with multiple acres of property and/or roads and/or whatever else you have going on.

I've got two I rather like: A 1939 Ford 9N tractor (2400lb, plus filled wheels, with about 25hp out of a 2L motor) that I use for plowing the driveway in the winter, and will be using more this upcoming year for discing some fire breaks, scraping flat areas for gardens, etc.  It was a family member's tractor, living at my inlaws place (we live on a corner of their property they gave us), and I was using it last winter, which meant it wasn't being maintained very well at all.  And I'm not going to drop a grand of work into someone else's tractor.

So, I purchased it (for $1100) and have been putting some time and materials into it to get it ready for this winter - the carb was shot, exhaust manifold was leaking, generator wasn't working, and the ignition wires are comically bad.  I've got the parts to fix all that, plus a new battery (the old one was pretty weak).  I'm keeping it a positive ground 6V system since, well, I'd rather keep it original, and I'm not sold on an open frame alternator instead of a sealed generator.  This year is basic mechanical work, and tire chains, then next year will be a bit more cosmetic work and probably some paint.  Plus, maybe, new tires.

The other bit I'm kind of happy with is an old (original generation) DR Trimmer.  This is basically a walk behind weed eater on steroids with a 5hp motor on it.  It was sitting in one of my father-in-law's sheds, and I'd mentioned wanting something like it, so he dragged it out and gave it to me.  I've put new wheels on it, a new starter rope, redone the head a bit, and generally kept it behaving.  It's cranky, it burns oil, but it does a very good job, and I've put dozens of hours on it in the last year just mowing down weeds on the property (and cutting firebreaks).

The other stuff I bought when we got the property gets used a bit less.  The weed eater works fine, but I mostly use the DR trimmer now that I have it (I can clear an area in a fraction of the time).  The lawnmower gets used some, since we've got grass over our septic field (yes, I know, there are people who think grass is a waste of space, but I use it as mulch and feed for compost bins, and I've got enough space that I don't have to grow edibles over the septic field).  I did buy a heavy duty snowblower this year, because we only got off the property last winter thanks to borrowing a neighbor's tractor (my rear blade didn't do much against the 2'-3' deep drifts, and I had no way to get the windrow from the blade tossed into the weeds - the snowblower is intended to do a single pass after the tractor and reset the driveway to flat so I don't have the drifting issue).  Yes, I could use a shovel, if I were willing to devote entire days to clearing the driveway every time it snowed, but I'd rather not have to take vacation from work (work from home) to do that...

What have you found particularly useful?  Or what have you dragged out of a barn somewhere and restored?  The tractor is a particularly interesting case in that it's 75 years old, and if I treat it right, it will easily outlive me. :)  It's fun working on things like that - the tech I play with for my dayjob is not nearly so long lived!

AnonymousCoward

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 75
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
Re: Rural equipment discussion: Got anything interesting?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2017, 11:30:52 PM »
This thread on another forum might interest you, a guy got a 1957(?) International Harvester 350 in questionable condition for $650 and is fixing it up for cheap. Fun stuff !

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/build-projects-and-project-cars/because-i-really-needed-another-project-in-my-life-its-itime-for-a-tractor/130284/page1/

Fishindude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2125
Re: Rural equipment discussion: Got anything interesting?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2017, 06:53:22 AM »
A tractor is kind of a necessary piece of equipment on a rural property of much size.  I fought a few of those older tractors like you describe until a few years ago I finally caved in and bought a new one.   It's a John Deere 5085 (85hp) that I use for mowing, loader work, planting wildlife plots, etc.   Implements include; loader bucket & forks, 8' disc, 7' rotary "bush hog" mower, 7' rotary tiller, cultipacker, JD 71 series two row planter and a pull behind gravity spreader.   This machine gets lots of use and is a huge improvement over previous tractors I've owned.

Next big item I am looking to acquire is a gently used backhoe loader to take care of a bunch of drainage and clearing projects on the farm.

ncornilsen

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 900
Re: Rural equipment discussion: Got anything interesting?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2017, 07:57:31 AM »
A tractor is kind of a necessary piece of equipment on a rural property of much size.  I fought a few of those older tractors like you describe until a few years ago I finally caved in and bought a new one.   It's a John Deere 5085 (85hp) that I use for mowing, loader work, planting wildlife plots, etc.   Implements include; loader bucket & forks, 8' disc, 7' rotary "bush hog" mower, 7' rotary tiller, cultipacker, JD 71 series two row planter and a pull behind gravity spreader.   This machine gets lots of use and is a huge improvement over previous tractors I've owned.

Next big item I am looking to acquire is a gently used backhoe loader to take care of a bunch of drainage and clearing projects on the farm.

Backhoes are the best. We have a 70's ford 555 that is our crane, excavator, forklift, hay mover... ad nausea.

Dusty Dog Ranch

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 213
Re: Rural equipment discussion: Got anything interesting?
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2017, 11:00:56 PM »
Posting to follow!

Our neighbor is moving down to town next year which means we'll have to clear the nearly mile long driveway after this winter. Trying to decide between a tractor and a side by side (UTV). Each have their pros and cons. Unfortunately neither of us knows much about engines so rehab of an old tractor is unlikely.

Also actively looking for a used walk behind trimmer and a bike-handle type brushcutter. Not that easy to find.

I feel some cognitive dissonance trying to be frugal while also needing expensive equipment to live where we do!

nora

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 216
Re: Rural equipment discussion: Got anything interesting?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2017, 04:40:08 AM »
I bought a plucker. Does that count as interesting? Hoping to use it to process our own chickens and ducks and make the plucking side a bit quicker.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3875
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Rural equipment discussion: Got anything interesting?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2017, 07:40:17 AM »
Good luck finding a used DR Trimmer. They're out there, but mostly get used until they die. When mine finally dies I plan to replace it with a newer one. They're awesome for clearing brush.

The DR catalog is a dangerous piece of mail. They make all sorts of really nice things...

I've got a chipper shredder but it's not doing a great job of consuming bulk tumbleweed. The intake chute clogs. I'm thinking of trying to build my own chute that feeds better.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3875
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Rural equipment discussion: Got anything interesting?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2017, 09:53:43 AM »
Our neighbor is moving down to town next year which means we'll have to clear the nearly mile long driveway after this winter. Trying to decide between a tractor and a side by side (UTV). Each have their pros and cons. Unfortunately neither of us knows much about engines so rehab of an old tractor is unlikely.

How much snow do you get?  A tractor with a blade on the rear and a bucket on the front is pretty well suited to snow removal, though a mile is an awful lot of driveway to clear.  If you don't get that much snow, I'd suggest snow tires and 4WD...

Quote
I feel some cognitive dissonance trying to be frugal while also needing expensive equipment to live where we do!

I mean, getting out during the winter is technically optional, if you store up enough food and such before the snow hits...

My goals are a bit different with regards to retirement than many people here.  I'm looking at how to set our property up to provide for our needs, long term, more or less regardless of how markets go.  I'm a long term (in my lifespan) pessimist about the ability of industrial civilization to continue it's upward path with so many headwinds, so I'm trying to hedge against that somewhat in food/energy production.

Since I've got good earnings capability right now, I'm working on acquiring things that will last - I'm pretty much aiming to spend the rest of my life here, so I'm looking how I can build/purchase things that I think will last the rest of my life, or at least a long chunk of it - eventually, I intend to beat most of the property into shape so I won't need as much in the way of string trimming, but right now, yeah, I need a string trimmer.  And a tractor.

DutyBound

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
  • Age: 28
  • Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Re: Rural equipment discussion: Got anything interesting?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2017, 02:02:57 PM »
I have a Grillo 107d walk-behind tractor with a bunch of implements - rotary plow, power harrow, rototiller, dozer blade, and flail mower. It is so great for my needs. Only 1 engine to maintain, all-gear drive, built to ag quality standards, lifetime warranty on the transmission - this thing is built like a tank and should last my whole life with proper maintenance. Plus, differential drive, steering brakes, multiple drive speeds, shuttle reverse... the list goes on. It did everything I needed for about 3 acres (I am downsizing properties right now, but keeping the Grillo!).

BCS is the more common brand for walk-behind tractors, and built just as well, but I saw the Grillo with all the implements for only $2,200 on Craigslist and couldn't say no. Pricey new, but they can often be found used for much less, and you can always buy more implements. The place with all the knowledge you will ever want is Earth Tools, out of Kentucky - the owner, Joel, know as much as anyone on all this equipment, and is frequently the one picking up the phone. All his staff are excellent too. I can't recommend them highly enough if anyone decides to go with a walk-behind tractor.

Not for the larger parcels, but for smaller properties (1-2 acres tilled and/or up to 10 acres mowed) they fit the bill nicely. Especially since you lose so much space to keeping pathways open for a full-size tractor. If you have space to spread out it is hard to justify them, but on a small plot where you want to use every square foot they are perfect.

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: Rural equipment discussion: Got anything interesting?
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2017, 02:34:24 PM »
A lot depends on scale. There are also some old-school walk-behind tractor systems, I believe Planet Junior is the most common if you want a tinkering challenge compared to the newer BCS or Grillo platforms.

Kubota seems to be a favored brand for homestead scale traditional tractors that are more modern.

Consider learning the skill of scything.

DutyBound

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
  • Age: 28
  • Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
Re: Rural equipment discussion: Got anything interesting?
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2017, 04:04:51 PM »
A lot depends on scale. There are also some old-school walk-behind tractor systems, I believe Planet Junior is the most common if you want a tinkering challenge compared to the newer BCS or Grillo platforms.

Kubota seems to be a favored brand for homestead scale traditional tractors that are more modern.

Consider learning the skill of scything.

This is spot on - scale really determines a lot. I also have a scythe and value it highly. Much more pleasant to work with than the walk-behind tractor (no noise or vibration, work is a meditation) and it has a lot of beautiful tradition behind it.

Also, Gravely is another old school walk-behind tractor manufacturer worth looking out for depending on your area. I haven't seen one for sale in CA yet, but they seem to pop up more in other parts of the country.