Thursday, May 1, 2014

And even more wheels

If there’s one thing the big storm of 2012 taught me (aside from the fact that I am not nearly as indestructible as I once believed) is that to do anything in the country you need either horses or horsepower.
Horses and I do not get along – if you think machinery repair bills are excessive, just call a vet. Besides having a ‘pet’ that outweighs me by a factor of 6 to 1, eats 50 lbs of feed a day, and deposits the leftovers all over the yard in steaming piles isn’t all that appealing.
It’s down to horsepower then. Until now I have made do with begging friends and hiring locals to drag out broken trees and stumps, grade my driveway, plow our road, and generally help with the grunt work – of which there seems to be no end. But when I added up all those costs I realised that had I made an investment into a tractor and a few attachments 7 years ago when we moved here, it would have been paid for by now.
As my father-in-law used to say (I think it was a rough English translation of an old German saying), “too soon old, too late smart”. But not too, too late as I have now embarked on “The Great Tractor Hunt”.
tractorWith my limited budget there are few options, and all involve 40-year-old-plus machines. Like any piece of old machinery some will have been better maintained than others, and some will be outstanding. Since tractors hold their value so well there is little to tell about the condition by the price, and the physical appearance can also be very misleading (farmers aren’t generally big on repairing dents or rust). So there is lots of driving around, looking, listening, and kicking tires involved, hoping to find that gem among all the worn out and just plain tired machines on the market. Fortunately I have some very knowledgeable friends – farmers and mechanics who have been around tractors their entire lives – to help me find what I need. 
With a bit of luck the search won’t take too long.

18 comments:

  1. Cool, though kicking those tires may get you a sore foot. I like that old, German saying. Makes a lot of sense to me.

    What size tractor are you looking for?

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    1. Richard - There is a lot of truth in it to be sure. Looking at 50HP or so. Needs to be able to drag a large snowblower down 1/2 mile of driveway.

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    1. Gary - Truth be told, I'll probably have as much fun looking for the right one as actually using it when I find it.

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  3. Canajun:

    I know nothing about tractors, but I would imagine those big tires on the rear, aren't cheap

    bob
    A weekend photographer or Riding the Wet Coast

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    1. Bob - No, they aren't. Can be up to $1000 a wheel installed and loaded. But they last a very long time. Many of the tractors I've looked at are still running original rubber 40 years later! Which is also why a lot of them are for sale - the owners don't want to lay out that kind of cash on a really old machine.

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  4. Yes, definitely truth to that saying.

    Hope the hunt is an easy one and you find a great tractor at a good price.

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    1. Trobairitz - I expect it may take a bit longer than I'd hoped, but I'm sure I'll find something that suits.

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  5. The best of luck in your tractor hunt. I seriously considered something much bigger and 'stronger' than our current '46 9N. We almost need a low model and wide front for some of our pasture mowing, something a bigger one wouldn't do. I decided that I couldn't justify a tractor for the single purpose of plowing snow, though the ability to lift snow would be very valuable. I decided to tough it out with a big old plow truck instead.

    We used to rely on others or have in the past. Timing was always an issue. Having control of snow removal when you need it can be everything.

    Good shopping!!

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    1. Thanks Coop. I'd rather a smaller machine for maneuverability but since the main driver is for snow removal I'm going to have to go bigger. Too bad as there are some nice MF135s out there. Don't see many 9Ns tho.

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  6. Oooohhhh!! I know a lawyer with a large country property. He bought a backhoe. He digs holes for sport. Apparently it's good therapy.

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    1. I'd LOVE a backhoe, but getting the banker to approve a tractor was already pushing the limits! ;-)

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  7. A tractor sounds like just the ticket ... who knows, while out riding one day you may just find one sitting at the end of a drive 4 SALE. As for me, I will continue to beg and borrow. Good hunting.

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    1. VStar Lady - Thanks. May even end up in your turf as there seem to be quite a few popping up for sale around there.

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  8. I reckon when you get the tractor you'll suddenly have a few more 'friends'.

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    1. Nigel - That's kind of the way it goes. :)

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  9. Got my tractor from a rental/ dealer. They sell them off after they get a few years old. It is an 870 JD that had less than a 100 hrs on it. It has over a 1000 hrs on it now and I've had no trouble at all with it. It's a 4x4, which I highly recommend, cause every time I switch to 2 wheel I get stuck. Have picked up a bunch of attachments and it's the best investment, short of the wife, that I ever made.

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  10. They say, "Nothing runs like a deer!"...ha ha!

    Hope you find the right one!

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