He says:So, if you are going to renovate a house in the country and live in it, you are going to have to do some country things...like dig post holes and mow vast swaths of acreage.
We plan on building a front porch, a back deck, and a long fence at the road. All in all, about 200 post holes will be dug. We're also committed to mowing over two acres of "yard" out here. So I went tractor shopping.
I wanted a new one for about 5 minutes, then I saw the prices. Even a small "garden" tractor that can use a hole digger is about $20,000 without any implements to go with it. Craigslist, however, had the answer. This little beauty caught my eye:
It is a John Deere 4100 tractor that has about 900 hours of use on it. It runs well, uses diesel fuel, and has passably good tires. It has the huge bonus of a front-end-loader installed to lift, push, dig and scrape with. The ad offered it for $8,000 and the address was about 3 miles away from the reno.
Once we arrived, we found the tractor surrounded by every conceivable type of implement we could want, so we offered $9,000 for everything and drove away with the lot. We got:
Front end loader
Dirt bucket for loader
Fork lift forks for loader
Big garden tiller
Road maintainer blade
Post hole digger
Sun-shade roof thingy
Rollover protection bar (important!)
That should be everything we need. A trip to the tractor doctor fixed an oil leak and got it a clean bill of health. We've used it for everything, including:
Unloading wood and concrete mix for construction
Moving every heavy thing (including a hot tub) into place
Mowing and clearing brush
Pushing our dirt and rubble piles out of the way
I love this thing. I love it so much I bought a John Deere T shirt to wear when I'm driving it, and I don't normally do things that geeky. It runs for weeks around here on 5 gallons of diesel and so far nothing has really gone wrong. Score one for the homeowners.
NOTE: Little tractors can be dangerous. Only buy one with a proper rollover bar, and always wear your seatbelt. They can carry heavy loads for their size, they are tall and narrow, and as a result they can tip. They are chock full of hot spinning things that can hurt you. They are awesome and useful and I love them, but treat them with respect. I can see that I will be writing something similar about ladders, nailguns, electrical wires...