Tractor work: Pulling brush / trees

So a year or so back I bought this ” Brush Grubber” from Amazon thinking it would be real useful for pulling trees with the tractor. While it does work just dandy, I found that I preferred just wrapping a chain around the tree twice and just pulling it out that way. Recently I thought that it might be more useful with the tractor if I hooked it up to the quick hitch on the 3 point arms. On my B2650 the 3 point is rated at something like 2000lbs lift force at the arms, so it would have pretty good pulling power. The big advantage is not having to move around so much walking from tractor to tree then back to tractor, then all that to have the chain unhook itself occasionally (you do get the hang so it doesn’t happen much, but it does happen some). Even when things go well its still a lot of downtime.

So, I had a few extra hours after my family went to a park and I decided to give it a try. Well, it worked pretty awesome! Now, it won’t work on huge trees, shallow rooted trees it could handle [… click to continue reading this post]

Tractor refueled – tractor usage tracking

I thought I would start a log of the kinds of things I use my tractor for in case anybody was thinking about getting one. Today I put 5 gallons in (tank holds 7, not quite full) and I have 125.8 hours on the meter. I took possession in November of 2015, so I have had it just over a year and a half. One main reason of getting it was for the snow blower, but I don’t think I have 5 hours of snowblowing use on it since we have had two MILD winters!

For those not familiar, my tractor is a Kubota B2650, one of the larger compact tractors. I went with this for the extra ground clearance and lift capacity of the loader over the smaller B series. I have 10 acres, I wanted something not TOO big so I can toodle around in the woods, but something big enough to do some serious work. I didn’t think the BX series or the Deer 1025 type tractors would do much of what I wanted.

I didn’t track where I was earlier in the season, but this spring I have spent 2 or 3 hours grading the road, [… click to continue reading this post]

Snowblowing the road

It is interesting to see how the road changes with the weather. We have had a lot of snow the last couple weeks, probably 10″ or more. The common part of the road has been really good the whole time, but it hasn’t looked like anybody has plowed it. I think the snow had just been being pressed down into even layers. However, we have recently been having some warmer weather, and with that the road has turned to garbage. The snow is softening up and is now turning into ruts instead of a nice even layer. There have been a couple spots that I thought we might get stuck in. My wife’s grandparents will be coming over soon and I am concerned that the ruts will freeze solid and make the road hard to traverse. Tonight I just took the tractor out and snowblowed a 9-10′ wide path (down and back). It wasn’t nearly as fast as a plow would be, but I have a snowblower and not a plow. It is nice being able to clear the 1/2 mile back to the house without issue and be self reliant in that way. For most people a plow would [… click to continue reading this post]

Feeling a bit more prepared – PTO generator

Two weekends ago I went and picked up a 12kw pto generator I had been eying on Craigslist for a couple months. It had dropped in price from $1400 (which I thought was high, but fair if you were going to buy a new one), to $1200, finally to $1000. For that I got the generator (about $1400 new for a 12kw, $1000 for a 7kw), pto shaft ($75 used to 200 new), a 3pt carryall the generator is mounted to ($100), and a full house disconnect / transfer switch (knife style rated to 200A, the guy told me $500 new and I believe it). My tractor has 19hp at the PTO, good for about 10kw continuous.

Last weekend was my preparing for winter weekend. Part of that was verifying the suicide cord was wired right, then shutting off the power to the house and running the house off the generator for a few minutes. I could barely tell when the well pump kicked on (here we have shallow wells and therefor only have about 1/2-1hp well pumps). I had previously checked the starting amperage (using a cheap Harbor Freight clamp on multi-meter) and it peaked at around 30 or [… click to continue reading this post]

Picked up a box blade & pole barn work started

I got a pretty good deal on a box blade today, $225. It is only 48″ so I’ll likely want a larger one later, but now I can finally get a load of gravel brought in and work on my driveway a bit. I also plan to try it out in the woods using the rippers as root rippers. The box blade will work decently for leveling an area too since you can more easily move a volume of dirt (though the 4′ won’t be able to move a lot). I think what I’ll do is be on the lookout for a 5-6′ box blade, pick that up, and then sell the 4′ one (hopefully for a profit).

I also got started digging holes for the two posts for the pole barn. I felt pretty smart in that I used my stump bucket to dig down 2′ to make for that much less digging. The sand here makes it pretty darn hard to dig a hole because it is like sugar and won’t stick in the post hole digger very well. It also starts collapsing in on itself. I hope it stays long enough for me to compact it, get [… click to continue reading this post]

Video – clearing brush with the Kubota compact tractor

I decided to do a bit of clearing to open up some of the front woods while the family was gone for the day and also decided to make a video about it. It has been much too long since I’ve made a video and I thought this would be a good one.

Now, I’ll admit I was a bit rough on the tractor. I don’t typically run it that hard, though I do on occasion. The folks on were getting on me about it a bit. Well, a bit of damage is inevitable in the woods, even when I’m not being too crazy. I had taken the bush hog out to help clear some areas of woods, but to help the maneuverability I took the loader off. Well, it turns out the loader helps protect from brush a ton. I poked a stick into the grill and cracked it, as well as bent the front brush guard (which didn’t do much). I got the tractor to help improve the land as well as snow blow, so I am going to have some wear and tear on it I’m sure.

Most of the time the brush clearing I [… click to continue reading this post]

Truck is back together (well, pretty much)

So the up side is that I replaced the shock, have the new fuel filler neck on, and the bed is one. The downside is the bed is on with 4 of the 6 bolts (2 had the threads a bit mangled and it felt like they were stripping out the holes. Being an off-road truck, I figured 4 should do it anyway until I can fix these bolts or get a couple more. Also, it turns out I forgot to take off the plastic deal that holds the fuel filler neck in place. Last seen it was on the old rusty fuel filler neck. So I walked the path I took and found it on the trail. Smashed into a couple dozen pieces because it got ran over. Whoops. Oh well, the filler neck can rattle around a while, it will take a while before I get tired of it. Heck, I think I only go through about 5 gallons in 6 months.

The bed went on very easily, I used a strap across rear of the bed on the tie downs, then a chain near the tailgate on the bolted on tie downs that look like they were [… click to continue reading this post]

Things I’ve used the tractor for

I’m researching PTO generators (waiting to find the right deal on a used one) and realized it would be a good post to put what all I’ve used my tractor for. I have had it since November, so about 7 months now, most of which were winter. I am only up to about 70 hours on the meter so far, but I feel like I have used it a ton. I only got up to maybe 20 or 3o hours through the winter, it was very mild and there wasn’t a ton of need to use it for snowblowing. So one of the main justifications of the tractor was that we’d have the capability to snowblow our way out if we had to. Sure, my neighbor would be more than willing to plow us out if need be, but I don’t want to HAVE to count on somebody else. Plus at the time I didn’t feel like I knew him well enough. At this point I could call him in a heartbeat and he wouldn’t hesitate (though he wouldn’t have anyway even before we really knew each other because that is the kind of guy he is). 63″ snowblower can [… click to continue reading this post]

Shooting range almost done, firewood getting cut, and fun family times

This weekend I got a good amount of stuff done, I am definitely enjoying this weather. My neighbor owns a tree service, I had him drop two trees for me, one was a bit tricky due to the other trees in the way, the other was just a bit bigger than my current comfort level since I’ve only cut down a few trees. That, and I didn’t sharpen the blades evenly so it is cutting pretty unevenly. I cut up quite a few more, so far I’ve gotten at least a cord, if not a cord and a half so far. I have 100 yards cleared out, and 200 yards is almost cleared. I have 2-4 more trees to cut and I’ll have a pretty decent 200 yard range. Not sure what I’ll shoot FROM yet, but getting a clear line of site is the first point of business. I also got a few stumps cut out, the woods are really opening up to the point I can get my truck through a decent portion of them. After I was tuckered out from firewood I decided to utilize the tractor and start digging out the berm for the shooting range, [… click to continue reading this post]

This past weekend: Pallet rack score, tractor maintenance, and tractor usage

So this weekend I scored a deal on pallet rack (2 uprights and 8 beams for $150), though the uprights are 48″ deep which is deeper than I’d prefer (42″ or so would be better). Even so, just the beams would be a good deal at that price, so I got it. This adds to the 2 pallet racks I had already picked up from a used equipment place, though their prices were quite a bit higher. I needed something stronger than the “racking” that Menards sells (that I’ve posted about before). While great for storage, it is less great for equipment. When I was taking my pallet forks off the beam would flex a LOT, it was only a matter of time before the whole thing came crashing down. Now with the pallet rack I was able to put my snowblower up on a shelf and I can set the pallet forks next to it no problem. 5000 pounds weight rating takes the equipment no problem.

A 10′ beam would be much better than the 8′ I’m currently using though. My original plan was to put the snowblower up there so that the long ends were over hanging the [… click to continue reading this post]

Beautiful weekend – lots of tractor use (and another attachment)

So this weekend was in the 40’s this weekend, which has been beautiful after all this winter. I got a lot of work in on the tractor this weekend. Last weekend I broke a ton of bolts on the brush hog because they were the wrong size. 3/8″ bolts were the wrong size, 1/2″ was too big. It was hard to find 7/16″ bolts anywhere at the hardware stores, but I struck gold at Tractor Supply where they were available by the pound (7 in a pound, $1.60/lb), sure beats $5 each or so for the factory shear bolts. The 3/8 would break at times just starting up the PTO.

Now, just because I finally have the right size doesn’t mean I didn’t break more, I think I broke 5 this weekend alone. Were I not cutting down trees I’m sure things would have gone more smoothly. I did pick up another 20 or so, hopefully as I gain experience with how big of a sapling I can cut down I’ll go through fewer bolts.

I also picked up a tree spade / stump bucket from a local auction site which is pretty sweet. The stump bucket is much more [… click to continue reading this post]

New toy (brush hog)

I’ve had an ad up for a while on Craigslist looking for various implements and have had very few responses.I renewed the ad and also posted another WTB for steel and had responses on both of them this week. Now I have a chunk of 4×6 angle to make myself a ratchet rake (not that theirs is a bad price, but I just don’t want to spend the money. Plus, I have a plasma cutter, this would allow me to make good use of it (though I got it for nearly nothing). I also got a response that a guy had a 42″ bush hog (per he told me, I did not measure) for $225 if I was interested. I went today and took a look at it, it seemed to be in pretty decent shape and the guy seemed to be pretty open. The bush hog is a bit smaller than what I was hoping, but for driving around the woods clearing them out it is probably perfectly sized. Plus I only have 19 pto horsepower, so a 5′ is borderline if I can reliably power it. I think I would have been fine (I’m not cutting tall grass, [… click to continue reading this post]

Put the loader on the tractor and I’ve been BUSY

So the forecast looks pretty snow free, so I decided to take the snowblower off, put the loader on, and enjoy this nice weather. I put my trailer on the tractor and went to the neighbor’s house to load up with wood chips to fill in some muddy spots so we’ll have a nicer walking path and 4wheeler path for my son. He helped out a lot pulling the tractor up (the hydrostatic transmission is SUPER easy, 30 seconds of instruction for the 7 year old and he has it down) while I raked wood chips off into the path. Two loads of chips later and I’ve filled in the tractor path (much more even now, some small stumps were rough on the tractor) and also covered the muddy area to get back to a trail.

I also put the pallet forks on and tried out a trick I read about for using it to dig up trees. It worked, but it seemed pretty tough on the pallet forks and frame, so I’m not sure I’ll be doing too much more of that. I did also use the pallet forks for digging small trenches to the ditches so the road [… click to continue reading this post]

Not exactly 10″ of snow, but still thankful for the tractor!

So this forecast shows we could have gotten between 6 and 10″ over the course of this weekend. That didn’t quite happen, but I’d say it was more like 4″. Its still enough I don’t want to shovel it, and if I leave it the additional snow we are getting M/T/W could be WAY too much and get me stuck.

I pull the tractor out of the garage, let it warm up while I shovel the snow from the sidewalk and near the garage to further out (where the tractor can get to it and not leave a large pile right by the garage door). That takes about 5-10 minutes, in line with what the manual says the warmup time should be. Clearing the driveway is probably 5-10 minutes, then clearing out the turnaround and the area around the driveway (so I can turn around as can UPS) is another 10-15 minutes. Then cleaning as much snow off as possible another 5 minutes. So 25-45 minutes, which is about what I’ve seen so far. If all I needed to do was get out I could do that in 15 minutes or so, its all the back and forth maneuvering [… click to continue reading this post]

Tractor snowblower broken shear pins

Well I learned how to change out the shear pins on the tractor today. This was only the second decent snow we’ve had, the road still isn’t quite frozen solid, plus I still have some ruts from grading the road before it got all mushy from rain. So the shoes on the snowblower are digging in a bit and shaving off a bit of the ground at times. When I hit the area that I graded I have been scalping the ground a bit. Well, today I did that and also kicked up a couple large rocks (one the size of a baby’s head). I didn’t think anything of it, it pushed the rock out front, I saw it, then chucked it off to the side. When I got to the top of the hill there was an awful lot of snow in front of the snowblower, but I just thought that was part of it. I haven’t really had much experience to say otherwise. So, I turned around and started heading back. Then I noticed snow being pushed out 4′ in front of the snowblower, I KNEW that shouldn’t be the case.

So I got down and checked, all [… click to continue reading this post]