Historic Land Preservation

Historic Land Preservation

Our first touch of a little Historic Land Preservation on a job site a few days ago. The client was really an awesome character. I wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted. When we met and swapped a couple of stories along with his instructions of what he wanted we came to the conclusion it was going to be a good relationship.

There is a few old building on the property. We had to be cautious as we found out that the Historic Society of San Antonio is going to be preserving at least one. If my memory serves me correctly the first building is a church and the most precious. The second building was an old dance hall. I talked to one of the locals and he mentioned that there was some outlaw that was known for going into this honky tonk.

All of our team members that participated in this task really enjoyed themselves. I would say my favorite part of the job is when the client showed up at three quarters of the way through the job. He got out of his vehicle with his entire face lit up like a Christmas tree. I asked what was a matter. He said I don’t believe it looked this good when I was a kid. This is when we knew the customer was very satisfied with what we had done.

We really enjoyed clearing and cleaning up the property for the client.  Although not a flat out historic land preservation deal it was the closest I had ever been to doing one.  Below is are pictures and a video of what we did. We will be back out there soon to remove more debris so stay tuned.

Quick thanks to D.P. for the opportunity to work with you.

 

 

Tractor Grapple

Tractor Grapple

Decisions on a tractor grapple. Do I need a grapple? Which one should I get? Bucket, Root, Rake, Rock etc. So many to choose from.

Why I need a grapple. Tractor grapples or skid steer grapples are just different animals compared to the typical front end loader bucket that you have on your machine.  Choosing grapples and deciding why you need a tractor grapple is important. Theses are things to consider before you make your purchase.

If you have ever cleared trees off your property or someone else’s land you will know gathering, sorting, and piling is a task not to be taken lightly. You maybe able to push a pile with your current bucket, but it is not easy. Sometimes the pile will snag on another root, tree, or stump shifting the entire operation the wrong way. With a tractor grapple you can pick up large piles or logs while they stick out each end which will not happen with a plain bucket.

The typical tractor or skid steer bucket is nice for digging and moving materials such as dirt. They are usually wide open on top and can hold a fair amount of material. It will not  hold brush, stumps, or grab debris like a wicked grapple. Buckets will sometimes hold things along with lots of unnecessary dirt. Grapples hold the brush and debris letting all the dirt slip through the tines.

Scrap grapples have a solid bottom. Rock grapples have their tines close together. Rake grapple really do not have a bottom. Root grapples we believe is the best of all worlds. Although it may not hold small rocks or just skid along the ground or hard surfaces with a flat bottom it can manage to do most of the grabbing and holding of debris as necessary.

3rd Function Hack

3rd Function Hack

As much as we would love to have a 3rd function valve on our tractor we do not. Rather then spending the money we figure we could just add lines from the front to the rear remotes. Now we have a 3rd function hack. Now we can use grapples and other equipment that requires hydraulic fluid up front.

This was really simple to do. At the time of writing this we only spent approximately $170. This included the hydraulic lines which measured forty four feet and all the quick couplers. Most new 3rd function valves start at $400 and at times can be over a $1,000. In most cases after you buy the valve you still have to buy the hydraulic lines and fittings.

This is why we decided to do what we call a 3rd function hack. Relatively simple. In our situation we had the lines done at a Jet Hose and Packing. Rather then spending money on labor or guessing where to mount a third function valve all we did was just run two lines. Since the hoses was built in a couple of hours it was possible for us to install and have the hydraulic lines ready for use the same day.

Now in the future we may very well give up our 3rd function hack. Then we can actually install an auxiliary 3rd function valve and/or other remotes of some sort to be more productive. Until that time comes this is all we need to be satisfied and provide one more option for our customers when it comes to what we can do for them.

Finally it is up to you rather to just choose function over looks with a 3rd function hack or spend a lot more money for the real deal.

How Much Tractor Do I Need?

How Much Tractor Do I Need?

How much tractor do I need? That is a good question. There is a lot of things that can make this decision or break it. Lot of times more is better, but not always. If you have 5 to 100 acres something with 35 to 50 horse power is usually plenty. Of course this does depend on the use of the unit as well. I think as long as you can manage 5 – 6 foot implements you will be fine.

One thing to keep in mind is weight. One deciding factor in us buying a tractor was we wanted the ability to stack round bales if necessary or to be able to off load round bales from a trailer. So lifting height and capacity of the front end loader did play a factor in our decision. If not for that we could have picked a smaller unit for our farm. At the time of this article we have a 4 wheel drive 4025 Mahindra. Believe me it is plenty for a small farm. Now that we have customers a little more under the hood would be nice.

Always keep in mind when it comes to tractors more power doesn’t mean you can go faster when doing a job. It means that you can run bigger implements, attachments or not bog down as much running smaller ones. You may gain a little speed, but odds are your travel speed will remain the same.

Here you can see in the video below that with 41 engine horsepower and 31 pto (power take off) we can run a 6 foot rotary cutter through some serious stuff. So bigger is better, but not necessary if you have the time to go slower. The canopy on the tractor is approximately eight feet off the ground to give you an idea of what is being tackled on the jobs we do.

Side shot of the berm.

Homemade Tractor Canopy

Homemade Tractor Canopy

Couldn’t see paying for one of those high dollar tractor canopy when we can just build one ourselves. O yea and the wife wanted something to hold her cell phone while on the tractor.We also installed brackets for future lights on each corner of the homemade tractor canopy. We figure it cost us less than a $150 to build. That is better than $450 and ours even has brackets on it for adding lights later. We also put a piece of fiber board / asphalt sheathing under it. This makes it bout 10 degrees cooler or so.

Also this homemade tractor canopy is durable and will withstand abuse compared to that expensive dealer model.  Slam each one into a tree branch and then tell us which you would prefer. Although you are not supposed to ram trees it will happen. Best bet is to be prepared. We have customers that want their fields cut and at times we have to go through brush, tree branches, etc to get the job done. When we do hunting leases the customer only wants the line of sight cut from the deer blind to the feeder. That high dollar dealer model will not stand the abuse like our homemade tractor canopy.

 

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Before. Always baking in the sun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some of it tacked and welded together. It is C-clamped here to the ROPS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Got it welded together and slinging some paint on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We bought a pretty red piece of aluminium to match the Mahindra red.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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She wanted some where to hang her cell phone while she was on the tractor. You can also see one of the brackets on the front for a future light to be mounted there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here it is complete with the cell phone hanger in use. Here you can see where we cut the half inch fiber / asphalt sheathing to go under the aluminium to keep us cool. Also notice the brackets in each corner for hanging lights later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picking up left over produce / compost.

One of the ways we get feed for our animals is to pick up left over produce or what some call compost. There is always all kind of goodies for the animals. We feed this to all of our animals, but do have to be careful depending on what we are giving to which animal. This is a great way to cut feed cost, mingle with great people, spread the word about local farming, and just get a quick break from the farm.

 

Full load of goodies for the animals. The hog will be eating high on the hog tonight.

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Loading the goodies in the tractor to distribute to all the animals. Our tractor has to be on of the most useful tools we have. Its like having 20 more people working for us. The Mahindra 4wd 4025 model is what we have and we love it.

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We always have to be thankful for our kids because they always lend us a helping hand. Kids love animals and what better reward for them, but to spend time feeding and watering animals. there is always entertainment watching the chickens peck.

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Here is a few of our AGH piggies chowin down on the wholesome goodies. These guys are so easy goin. They love these wonderful treats they get a few times a week.

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