Tractor Stuck


Our  tractor got stuck (again) last weekend. Here and there we have spots of old peat bog soil that can sink a tractor tire with no warning. We’ve filled in many of the bad spots, but Kirk found another one mowing near the reconditioned ditch line on our third drainage ditch.


Lucky for us, we have a good friend, Jerry, whom I’ve known since high school, who has a 4×4 truck with a winch. It seems like every time we have a tractor stuck incident, it seems we are fortunate enough to find Jerry at home and available to do a rescue! For some gas money and dinner, he comes out with no complaint! It only takes a few minutes to pull the tractor out of the worst predicaments with this baby. Thanks Jerry! 🙂

Giving Field Fence a Little Lift

LiftingFencingWhen I am starting to attach T-post clips to a newly strung fence, I find that it can be heavy work lifting and pushing the fence up against the posts. Field fencing is so heavy (about 200 lbs for a 330 foot roll), it wants to sag or lay down on the ground. I never get the T-posts in a perfectly straight line or perfectly vertical, so there is always some pushing required to get the fence to meet up with them.

If I’m fencing a curve, it’s even worse. Though I know it’s convention to have the fencing material sit on the outside of a curve, I chose differently in several spots on this pasture. I think it’s more important to have the fencing on the side where livestock will be pushing the most, so that when they push, the pressure gets put on the posts, not on the fasteners. So, that has left me with inside curves where I need to push the field fencing, sometimes a foot or two from the main line of travel, against the posts, to fasten it to them. Continue reading “Giving Field Fence a Little Lift”

Field Fence Stretching


Last weekend I stretched the first line of fencing in the second pasture. Last summer my dad made me a bracket and rod system for the tractor loader, to help unroll field fencing. There are also systems made to unroll off the back of the tractor, hooking onto the PTO connection. But this one is much cheaper and simpler. It works great. And I imagine it’s a bit easier on your neck, to be able to sit facing forward and visually monitor the fence unrolling; versus having to constantly look behind you if you are towing it instead. Continue reading “Field Fence Stretching”

Grass Trap


When I was shopping for a tractor, I was really waffling between a couple of brands. I ended up with the New Holland partly because it was affordable, partly because they had great financing deals, and partly because I liked that an old dealership was nearby. I figured they’d always be around. Though I plan on doing a lot of tractor fixing myself, I figured there would be times I’d need them to do repairs. And, I wanted convenience when going to buy parts.

Continue reading “Grass Trap”

Planning More Fencing

I have finally started on fencing the second pasture. Really, I started a few months ago, with the planning, but that takes a lot of time, so only just this last week was I able to start putting in posts. I have a master plan of the fencing layout of the whole property, which I have drawn up in Visio. It shows the high-level workflow of gates, tractor drive areas, ditches, culverts and bridges. It looks like this:


But when I’m ready to fence a particular rectangle, I need  second drawing to help me figure out the materials list. Continue reading “Planning More Fencing”

‘Neath the Tractor Woes

Weed-covered gate half: where is its fallen mate hiding??

We’ve lost, and bent, quite a few things that reside under our New Holland TC30 tractor. You see, this tractor has a lot of exposed stuff on its underbelly. And that’s not good, because when you have a farm, and an old farm no less, you run over things. To start with, there is 10 foot tall reed canary grass, and then there are even taller blackberry vines, and big things can hide in there.  Things that have been found hiding in our weeds, from past farm denizens and flood deposits: logs and lumber, boulders, whole trees, a truck bed, broken or bent-over fence posts (with barbed wire still attached) a clawfoot bathtub, hundreds of feet of 6″ aluminum pipe and fittings, steel barrels, huge bent gates, culvert pipes, refrigerators, a couch, an RV door, and old broken tractor implements.  Those are just the few that immediately come to mind- there were many more! Our neighbors have an entire collapsed garage, plus all its contents, under there somewhere, just waiting for the next owner of the property to say, “honey, I was thinking I’d mow that patch of blackberries over there in the back pasture today.” Continue reading “‘Neath the Tractor Woes”

Bent Power Steering Shaft

HydraulicArmQuite some time ago, we bent the hydraulic power steering shaft on the tractor- a New Holland TC30. I’m not sure how or when. But, it compromised the seal, so the thing has been leaking power steering fluid like crazy. We’ve been procrastinating on fixing it (we never want to stop using the tractor!), and were just topping off the fluid all the time. Continue reading “Bent Power Steering Shaft”

A Very Big Fir Tree Log


Kirk has been enjoying the use of our new road up from the pasture, using the tractor to haul up debris from down there that was a bit too scary to drive on the street. Much of what he’s retrieved are standard-sized logs, metal chunks etc that have probably arrived here from past floods.

But this mammoth looks like it may have been something from the original farmstead, back in the 1800’s. I know that the homesteader family logged the hill and had an on-site sawmill from which they cut boards to build the barns. It took Kirk some finessing to get this onto the tractor bucket (you can only see the tractor’s roll bar and Kirk’s head behind the log, it’s so big). But he did, and got it up the hill and into the to-be-processed scrap pile. Our little 30-hp tractor does pretty well carting big loads like this around.

We’re thinking of what we could do with this one, to keep it around for posterity. Maybe we’ll make it into a bench or something. Any creative ideas?