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Country Discussion Topics
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Tools for Country Living- Gearing Up
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Jimbob    Posted 02-04-2003 at 20:03:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well, started buying equipment. The winter time of year has many deals. I just bought a new engine ($577) for the Case 446 garden tractor. The mower deck is shot, however the tractor, blade & hydrastatic tiller is like new. Excellent for garden work. With a carb change, may try to run motor off of alcohol. Same for all my engines.

Bought a new John Deere L100 to cut the grass. Using a bagger to collect grass for rabbits & goats (not their main diet, of course). Also for a mulch pile.

Found a great deal on a 1958 Ford 961 farm tractor- 45hp with live PTO. The is for planting & harvesting hay for the goats & rabbits. I also got a disc, culivator & drag bucket. I will need a hay cutter & bailer.

I got a free 7kw generator with a tired motor. I found a new Kohler 13hp Command Pro for $207 on eBay. Good to have backup power as we are about at the end of the electrical service line.

This spring, I am building a 30 x 60 pole barn with a 'hip' roof for second floor storage.
I plan to raise Chinchillas for hobby & fun. I will find out what it is like. I understand Chinchillas eat mostly hay.

Two 'bacon' pigs are in order as well. Will keep one, market the other.

Danny in CO    Posted 02-05-2003 at 08:20:22       [Reply]  [No Email]

If your property is fenced, I recommend a couple of additional items: a T-Post driver and a fence strecher.

If you have a tractor, a post hole auger is also handy as well as a pole boom for the 3-point.


Jimbob    Posted 02-05-2003 at 08:46:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks for info.

Mike D.    Posted 02-05-2003 at 06:24:47       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hey there Jimbob,
One of the handiest tools I've had in the back of my truck is a good come-along. Not those cheap off shore types, I mean a good one. With easy working switch to change the direction on the pawl. That and a good set of chains. For light pulling, snatching, and lifting I use a tested 1/4" For everything else I use a 1/2" DOT
binder chain. One more thing I'll add to that, a shortening chain. This is 3 or 4 links with chain hooks on both ends. It will save you a lot of worry when you need a shorter pull and only have that long chain to work with.
It seems to me that you probably already have these in your machine shop gear, but I thought I'd mention it anyway just in case.

Jimbob    Posted 02-05-2003 at 08:49:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
Great advise.

Spence    Posted 02-05-2003 at 04:28:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
2 other tools I'd buy, arc welder and hand grinder. The grinder should be the larger heavy type. They can handle metal cutting blades which is the heaviest load they will see. Try to get a lower RPM though as the metal cutting blades are meant to turn slower.

A 5HP compressor is handy. I'm reminded I don't have one when the skin on my knuckles get removed because of a slipped wrench. They will take most adapters. Even have a grinder tool like the one above.

Jimbob    Posted 02-05-2003 at 06:00:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have a fairly complete mechanics shop. Air compressor, torches, welder, grinders, even a 50 ton press. Tnx for advise.

Fixin' to get a few bacon pigs too.    Posted 02-05-2003 at 02:03:55       [Reply]  [Send Email]

Willy-N    Posted 02-04-2003 at 21:09:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
One thing I forgot was Taxes! Haven't figured how to not pay them. The tax man came out last year and said you have 3 building not on the tax role yet? He said don't get upset when they double next year? I told him thanks, I guess I will have to sell a extra tractor a year to pay them. I am wondering what I will do when I am to old to work on them? Might have to rent out space to some one to offset the extra out going money my social security won't cover them and food. Even if your place is paid for they figure a way to keep charging you! Mayby I will win the lotery but I guess I better start playing or I never will. I do have a SUV now just bought my first one. It is used (97 Blazer) but 4X4 drive in a confort vehical is nice when I am not driving my old 79 4X4 Truck to town. I will just have to get rid of it befor it starts to break down. Good luck on your adventures. Mark H.

Jimbob    Posted 02-05-2003 at 06:02:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
Taxes & Death- neither is avoidable. Fortunately, my taxes are less than $500 a year right now.

Willy-N I wish Mine were!    Posted 02-05-2003 at 06:38:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mine started out at 350.00 a year now 6 years later they are up to 2,400.00 because of the improvements I did. Just something I sorta over looked being in the middle of nowhere I did not think they would go that high that fast! Mark H.

Willy-N    Posted 02-04-2003 at 20:27:27       [Reply]  [No Email]

You will need a lot of Goats to offset the cost of a Bailer and Cutter. Just stake them out and buy the hay. Sometimes to save a buck you spend ten. I have 7 Cows (4 on the way) on the place and I still buy the hay and even have a tractor. Take a big feild to raise 20 ton of hay to put up. Besides the Cows eat everthing the place can grow during the Summer plus some. If your raising pigs for your meat buy piglets in the spring butcher in the fall or you again will lose money keeping them thru the winter. There is a point (5-6 mos)they realy slow down growing and then you lose money feeding them for meat. Course the 30,000.00 barn (17 yr old daughters) I built will take around 30 years to raise enought cows to pay for it too! Sometimes you just build stuff to build it. Glad I am allmost done with the place. Started with just a well and bare land 6 years ago. Starting to get tired now. Mark H.

Big Fat BOB    Posted 02-04-2003 at 20:23:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hey Jim Bob I like your style, and keep up the great work.

Jimbob    Posted 02-04-2003 at 20:41:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
Good points. Never winter out pigs, cheaper to buy pork at the local store if this is done.
I keep a keen eye on return on investment. The Ford tractor & bailer is expensive. Putting the money in a 'hay fund' can make sense. Not planning on a cow or two either. Up in Michigan, the winter causes one to store hay for 5 months. During bad years, one has to beg for expensive hay. I'll pay the price to be self-sufficient in this area. If the equipment is kept out of the weather, it should either hold or appreciate in value. If a major depression hits, the cash on hand will win for a while. I suspect the large group of people (consumers) in the USA will prevent this depression from happening. However, I been wrong before.

All my plans will cost $30K, the investment is better than a $30K SUV purchase.

Willy-N Jimbob Fill me in a little?    Posted 02-05-2003 at 09:41:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'm missing something are you new to the board? Are you moving to the country or just getting ready to do it? I have read your posts on tooling up. Your figuring 30,000.00 will take care of all this. Is this just for the tools or do you intend to build a Farm for that? With your taxes being around 500.00 for the year are you living in a area they don't tax your place or is it just raw land still? When I built my place it took 30,000.00 to just frame the house and insulate it. That dose not include the foundation, septic system, pluming, electrical or trim that ran another 50,000.00 to finish that. The other 4 buildings ran over 55,000.00 and did not include the 38,500.00 for the land. I figure I have invested 170,000.00 into my place in the last 6 years and that dose not includ the tools or equipment needed to run the place. I have worked in construction all my life and was able to do 50% or more on the house and the Big Barn, the smaller building I did all of the work. If I had not it would have run another 50,000.00 to pay someone to do it. Just bringing in power and phone to the place was around 6,000.00 do to the distance. I was able to do this because I bought a cheap peice of land where Yuppies now live and it went up in value enought to sell and build the place. If I had not invested in that 5 acres 19 years ago this would still be a dream for me. I did not buy the place ready made I built it from scratch the way I wanted it done with out the bank being involved but it took more than I though it would and a lot of hard work too! I am still working on it and probley will never be done with it till I die, that is what keeps me healthy plain old hard work. I do try to keep a years worth of food on hand and grow most of what I eat. That part takes most of the summer to do. I also have back up systems for everthing along with a fire system, pumps and 6,000 gals of water for it. I need to be on the grid to run our ovens we bake with but I do heat totaly with wood. I wish I would have started when I was young but I did not know better. Lucky I started when I did because it gets harder to do each year. Not as fast as I used to be but a lot smarter now with a little age to my beat up body. I just hope I can keep the place when I get older and do now understand what older people have been telling all the time when I was young. I just wonder why it took so many years to figure it out??? Mark H.

Cheap Jimbob    Posted 02-05-2003 at 12:31:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mark, sounds like a fine place you have worked out for yourself.
I have existing house with land paid for in full. I have all the wood I need to frame in the pole barn. I am also from the construction business and build it myself with some labor from the neighbors. This is not the first 'barn raising party' in my neighborhood either.
I (my farm girl wife) has been heating with wood for 17 years. I used to travel all over the USA as a construction manager for the past 20 years. It is time to come home.

Ps- The farm girl wife is amazing to me, being a city boy. When the clothes dryer went bad, I was 1500 miles away. Instead of running to the checkbook, she disassembled the dryer, replaced the bearings & put on a new drive belt 'to boot'. Huh? She has surprised me for years, more to come for sure.

Tom A -- don't give up on making hay!    Posted 02-05-2003 at 05:43:23       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I don't know that I'd be so quick to decide to not make my own hay. If you're careful about what equipment you buy, and as handy as you sound to be, you can put up all your own, plus bedding, plus maybe sell a little on the side and at worst case break even.

Contrary to what a lot of folks think, you don't need "state of the art" hay equipment. I got my Ford 515 sicklebar mower at auction for about $200, and a Ferguson rake for $300. A usable baler can be had for $400 around here, but you don't really need one...I put up 4-5 tons a year of loose hay for my own critters. I cut with the old sicklebar mower, rake, and use my stakebed pickup, a couple of hay forks and anybody standing around with hands in their pockets to bring in the hay. The animals actually prefer my loose hay to any baled hay. And if you get a decent old square baler, after you get the hang of making good hay you can sell it for a little spare change.

Can I buy hay cheaper? Maybe, maybe not...around here decent grass hay runs about $2.50 a bale, so 4 tons is roughly $500 every year, the cost of my minimal equipment. Yes, there's maintenance parts and there's fuel, but if you're not pasturing the land you have to mow it anyway! So I think, at worst, it is all a wash and at best I make a little, and there is nothing in this world as calming and fun as sitting on my old tractor listening to the sicklebar swishing through the grass when I'm making hay!

just my opinion,

Jimbob    Posted 02-05-2003 at 06:18:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
My feelings also. I want to grow & harvest my own hay- but not by hand.
Being 53 years of age I do not want to, lets say, knock out some junk out in my cardiovascular system and cause a heart blood supply failure. Thus, moderate exercise is ok. I feel it is not ok to cut, rake and bail the hay field by hand. I'll buy the equipment- tractor, hay mower/cutter & bailer. I suspect in 10 years medical treatment will be available to cleanout my older cardiovascular system. I do not have a problem per echo cardiograms & stress tests, but lost a friend my age due to the above issues last week.

Tom A    Posted 02-05-2003 at 07:11:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
I understand your concern, as I'm closing in on your age. And I'm not going to argue that loose hay is the way to go, but I will say it probably isn't near as bad as you think. The one thing I've learned from my 80-year old farm mentor, and that is to slow down.

I was in very good shape when I moved to the farm (retired military, still ran several miles each and every day) and I did everything fast as I could. Well, I worked a couple of days with my old friend, who had long retired from farming but still likes to play at it , and I noticed something: he could work me into the ground!
True, he'd take longer to do stuff than I would, but seemed he would last forever. His key is slow and steady, and i've learned to work the same way. When I fork hay, I can last all day in 100+degree heat but I don't try to be fast anymore. The hay gets in, I don't feel like I'm knocking anything loose in the old cardiovascular system.

So, whether you use baler or not isn't important. But I think trying to work "like a city boy" is what will wear you out on a farm!


Jimbob    Posted 02-05-2003 at 08:44:03       [Reply]  [No Email]
I plan on using a hay bailer- the square bail type. I can lift & move these around. I just would not use a hand sickel & rake in the field. That is what farm equipment is for.

Old Sarge    Posted 02-05-2003 at 07:43:39       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Tom A
Click me an email. I've got something for you.

Jimbob    Posted 02-05-2003 at 12:37:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
Your email came back, Delivery failure, 'no such address'

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