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What Equipment You Need to Maintain a 3 Acre Homestead
There are certain pieces of equipment that are really necessary to have in order to be able to keep your property in excellent condition. Of course there are many “toys” that would be nice to have, but the expense of buying and maintaining them is much greater than simply renting them once or twice a year. Depending on how much of your land is in grass just for beauty, how much pasture or garden areas, or maybe even pens for chickens or sheep, will dictate what equipment you really need. All properties need some sort of lawn or garden tractor unless you are a marathoner and want to push a mower over an acre or two twice a week in the Spring. A general purpose tractor with a 20 HP or less engine and a 42 or 48 inch mower can easily handle three acres of lawns. Add-ons like a spring rake to make it easier to aerate the lawn or a lightweight snow plow for winter can all lighten your workload. Lawn rollers, seed drills, discs and harrows, power rakes and even mini-type end loader buckets can be purchased from different tractor and sub-compact tractor companies.
You will find when shopping that tractors fall into several different categories based on their capabilities. Lawn tractors are basically large lawn mowers that can pull around a small trailer, leaf rake or maybe push some snow. A tractor will weigh more and have stronger, larger components. A tractor may have a slightly larger engine, a cast iron rear housing and may also be able to handle a snow thrower attachment. A sub-compact tractor for about $12000 or so, is even heavier, can use wheel weights or heavy duty tires, a front loader and attachments and mow 5 acres more easily. The frames are also much heavier and can easily move mountains of snow. If you own a horse barn or plant a large garden area, a subcompact tractor will handle all these cleaning tasks without breaking a sweat.
A tag long trailer is also a god send when clearing leaves, moving soil, hauling gravel or any other yard task. It’s much easier to load up the trailer with all your spring flowering plants and drive from bed to bed along with your trowels and soil supplements than to carry everything by hand. Moving buckets of water to pens or moving rocks or firewood are all tasks handled by a small trailer. My trailer is now over twenty years old and apart from some occasional touch ups of paint and grease it is still going strong.
A gas leaf blower and vacuum cleaner is also a real time-saving device. From blowing sidewalks and yards clean, to removing leaves from flower beds, a gas leaf blower does the trick. If you have any type of hedges or shaped trees, an electric hedge trimmer also does that job with ease. Trimming a hundred feet of hedge by hand is no joke. A good wheelbarrow is an often overlooked tool. Don’t buy one of those $29 wheelbarrows. If you’re paying around $100 or more, you’re in the right neighborhood. Oak handles, a heavy poly tub or metal (I prefer the poly, it never rusts) and a ten inch tire is a minimum. Mine is about twelve years old now and I have only replaced the handles once.
I own a fairly large wooded area and the lawn areas also have many trees. These only produce tons of fallen branches and leaves each year. I bought a small shredder for 3″ and smaller limbs and it does a good job. Anything bigger than 3″ is cut for firewood. This machine does a lot of mulch for us so it was worth the price.
Roto-tilling my garden once a year didn’t seem to justify buying a rototiller that would sit for 11 and a half months a year. The daily rental is about $45 so for $45 I work our garden and the rental center store takes care of it all year.
A power washer is another great tool for the average farm. Washing decks or sidewalks, siding or barn floors is much easier with a power washer. They are pretty cheap and do a great job. Maintenance pretty much ensures it is drained against freezing when stored and checks the engine oil.
If you own these tools, you can get by quite a bit. As time goes by and you can afford it, adding some extra tools to the tractor like a backhoe or dozer blade can make even bigger jobs easier and faster.
Ask your salesperson what size machine you need and they will be happy to help you decide. They want a happy customer to come back and recommend them to others.
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#Equipment #Maintain #Acre #Homestead