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Our ranch is small (20 acres) and we don't need a large compliment of plows or tractors.  We do have open space that needs seasonal tending and the following is a description of the tools used on those projects.   Because we live in "fire country" a big emphasis is put on prevention of potential hazards.  The forest service will occasionally give citations to owners with overgrowth that is too close to roads or structures.

Dr Field & Brush Mower

This isn't your average lawn mower.  We have a couple of pastures on the land that can grow weeds 6 feet high and the string trimmer just doesn't cut it, so to speak.  For years I've left these fields wild and held my breath during fire season. When I decided to grow corn, I needed something serious for clearing space.  A tractor pulled "brush hog" is usually used by farmers for this type of work but I needed something a little smaller and more maneuverable.  This particular self propelled  mower has a 10.5 hp engine with an electric start.

I ordered this over the internet and it was shipped on a pallet that fit nicely into my pickup bed.  On my way home from the freight company I was past by another pickup and the driver was waving and beeping his horn.  When I took my freeway exit he followed and I pulled over to see what was up.  He had just received his brush mower a few weeks earlier and he was so enthusiastic about the purchase that he wanted to talk and compare notes.  We spent a half hour discussing the various options available and he talked a lot about how well it worked when cutting on slopes.

Anyway, it's been six years and  the mower is still going strong.  Even the original battery is still working. Finally something that works as advertised.

Yamaha - Rhino

Finally, a tool that replaces the string trimmer as the most used piece of equipment on the ranch.  Specifically it's the 2006 Rhino 660 Auto. 4x4 and we use this thing every day.  It carries our tools, pulls our utility trailer and dumps dirt where we want with its 400 lb capacity tilt bed. I use it every day for fun just to drive to the mail box.  I could go on but it was pretty expensive and Yamaha isn't paying me to advertise. Related journal entries here

String Trimmer

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This is one the the most used tools in our area.  After the spring growth begins to dry out, the valley echoes with the noise of neighbors trimming weeds away from roads and power poles.  Don't scrimp on this purchase.  We went with a large Echo brand trimmer and its 25 cc engine seems to do the job well.  The price was around $300 and it isn't the type of trimmer you would normally find at Home Depot or Sears.  You're better off buying from a small equipment supplier.


Brush Chipper

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We have large oaks and pines on our land and limbs are going down all the time.  A heavy, wet snow will litter the area with broken branches.  Of course the fire wood is nice but the smaller stuff needs to be ground up.  The 10 hp engine on our chipper is surprisingly powerful.  I went through a pile of brush we had collected for years in just about two hours.  $800 for this machine is considered low.


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This is your basic 8 hp Troy Built roto-tiller and I've actually found it a little small for our needs. I probably should have gone for the larger models.  It still works well for the $800.



DR Field and Brush Mower 120x240

Since 1999