-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Proud owners of a tractor

I'm still awaiting photos, but Mum reports the tractor is now officially ours and sitting in Dad's driveway. In her words, "it looks very nice"! :-)

More info from Dad's email on 25th:

I have arranged to get the tractor home to my place on Weds. The new front tyres are not yet ready for fitting. He hopes they will have arrived by Mon. With the work he has done and the tyres you have had a reduction in the price by $300-400. He is also giving the full service history and owner manual for the tractor and backhoe. I went up there to ascertain whether I had to jetison my garage door to fit the tractor into the carport, and have found it is not necessary at all. I do have to raise it as high as possible and then it fits like a glove. The overall length is perfect too. I need to obtain a posthole digger for it whenever, and some anchoring things for when it is on the trailer. It fits perfectly onto my tandem trailer. I need only to devise the ramp arrangement. With the hydrostatic drive it will be very easy to ease it up onto the trailer for anyone.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

buying a tractor (perhaps)

Dad emailed yesterday to say he'd found a secondhand tractor he recommended that we buy.

We've toyed with the idea of getting a tractor a while. It would mean we could do all the excavations needed ourselves and save a ton on labour and equipment rental. And once finished, we could sell the tractor on again to recoup some of the capital outlay.

It is a B21 Kubota, 4 1/2 years old but has only 860 hours on the engine clock. It comes with a bucket and a backhoe, but not a posthole driller (although it is possible to buy them for it). Before selling, the dealer will be putting on new front tyres and replacing a bush in the front bucket, along with a new pin to lock the backhoe apparatus mechanically for safer transporting. We'll be getting a mechanical test done on it before decided to go ahead, but assuming that gives the all clear then it looks like I will soon own a tractor!!

From the description in the dealer's book:
"Extra heavy duty machine; For contractors requiring a heavy duty machine capable of handling long hours of operation in punishing conditions, the B21 is ideal. Specifically designed for the construction industry, the B21 has a reinforced frame, steel bonnet, cast iron front axle, heavy duty transmission and a 4 post rollover frame with steel roof. Features 4 wheel drive, self-levelling loader mechanism, industrial tyres, wet disc brakes, optional vertical stabilizer and optional 4-1 bucket (although the one we are looking at has a standard bucket, not the one that has a splitting capacity to more quickly fill it). HP 21, Engine 3 cyl diesel, Transmission is Hydrostatic, Backhoe has a max dig depth of 2330 and a reach of 3080. The Loader lift height is 2250 and lift capacity of 420 kg.

Priced new 18 months ago it was A$49150 + gst. The one Dad found second hand is A$25000. Still a pretty hefty sum, more than I've ever spent on a machine (I can see I am doomed to never have a new car!!) but given it's $500+ per day to rent the darn things that is only 50 days worth of rental... I am sure we will have more than 50 days worth of digging to do with all the excavation work needed for the garden, house, tanks, trenches for electricity wires, etc etc.

Apparently the hire firm selling it bought it new in order to rent it to one customer, a gas maintenance firm in Shepparton. It has been used by one team since new, has had all dealer services as required. Has had a new clutch plate installed 10 engine hours ago. The engine has only 860 hours total work time in the 4 1/2 years. It has been placed for sale because when it was returned from this firm for whatever reasons it meant there were too many in the yard for hire than the usual business pattern.

It weighs 1.2 tonnes, so should be okay for Dad to transport on his tandem trailer, meaning that it can be stored securely in town rather than left at the block. Dad assures me too there are ample service depots in Ballarat, and probably even in Marysborough, given it is a popular, tough machine.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

update on wastewater plans

We're in the throes of trying to sort out the wastewater treatment system.

Even though it will be years yet before we install, we have to get the plans in place now in order to be get the building permit for the old house.

It's a little frustrating given that technology will no doubt advance in 4 years, but given that we've had no luck getting responses from local plumbers in Maryborough, it looks like we'll have to go with getting people up from Melbourne to quote and ultimately do the work.

(The way I figure it, if people aren't interested in helping us out now with a quote/plan even when we offered to pay for their time to do it, then they don't deserve our business in 2-3 years when we come to install).

We're in discussions with Septech, the company who won major brownie points nearly 2 years back by being the only one of 5 to respond acceptably to an email.

Dad has been to see them this week and I've had a phone conversation too, with a nice guy called Michael Pound. Michael needs to call the Amherst health officer (John Kelly) to clarify what the precise requirements are, and make a site visit before he can give a final quote. We'll then need to pay 20% deposit before he'll work on drawing up the plans.

The one hiccup is that in speaking to him it became clear that the system didn't do precisely what I'd understood it did. Although it does recycle everything: greywater and blackwater, treating it so it is safe for irrigation; because of stupid council regulations it isn't allowed to be stored!!

So you currently can't do what I'd envisaged, which was to store it in a special tank that could use to selectively irrigate the garden. It just waters it 24/7 along the 400m of irrigation pipe. And the pipe has all these restrictions on how far away from the house it needs to be etc so I can't even use it to water the courtyard garden which is the area that will need water the most. It's *very* annoying.

It's not a total writeoff though: there are trials underway with some councils in which they are letting people store the treated water to re-use on their property, and Michael said he was confident that by the time we come to live there it will be allowed. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Patch Rogers: arts & crafts dealer

If you like this era, you will love this shop. I stumbled across it by accident when I looked at a listing he had on Ebay. It looks like not only does he specialise in Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau etc, he is heavily involved in gathering pieces for the Liberty exhibitions too.

You can see latest stock including photos and (for most) prices on his website here.