Operating Techniques for the Tractor Loader Backhoe

Operating Techniques for the Tractor Loader Backhoe
Buy at Amazon

In trying to develop my homestead, I have had problem after problem with my backhoe.  Granted most of it is because it is a 50 year old machine, but a good deal comes from me not having  clue how to operate it.

That’s where Operating Techniques for the Tractor Loader Backhoe come in.  The book teaches essential pre-operation checks, vital services, and the basics of how to actually dig and trench with a backhoe.

This book was actually designed to be a textbook so each chapter has tests.  It also spends time talking about the one-call system so you won’t disrupt utility lines.

I find this book to be helpful.  While not essential, it will save the new backhoe operator a lot of headaches and time wasted with inefficient movements.

It took me a while to get the movements down to use both hands at the same time to dig a flat and smooth trench.  If I had this book at the time I would have saved hours in learning a relatively simple, yet unobvious technique.

A backhoe is a very useful tool for those wanting to develop land.  It doesn’t move as much land as a bulldozer, but it is more versatile.

What is a Tractor Box Blade Used For?

How to Grade a Driveway with a Box Blade


How to Grade a Driveway with a Box Blade
Buy at Amazon

Before I bought my land, I did not even know what a box blade was.  But after my friend brought his tractor and helped me clear some land and worked my driveway I see how invaluable a tractor and box blade are.

Now that I have a steep gravel driveway I know I need to buy a tractor with one.

What is a Box Blade?

Basically – a box blade is used to move, smooth, and level dirt and gravel.

A box blade attaches to a tractor, and while it normally is not powered, some models have hydraulics so the operator can adjust the height and level of the implement without having to stop work.

As the name suggests it is a heavy metal 3 sided box, with the front, top and bottom open.

The front has retractable teeth which break up hard ground.

Due to the use, these boxes are heavy, with a light one weighing 1/4 ton.

It is good to have friends

Luckily, I have a good friend with a brand new tractor, and he used his tractor and box blade to grade my driveway so he could get some time using his new tool.

I could not have done this work alone, and having a gravel drive on a hill with a curve it is something that needs doing.

End the end, I could not keep up with the driveway as it was built.  I hired a bulldozer to rework the land so that the water did not flow so aggressively down my driveway.

How to Use a Tractor to Clear Land

Using a Tractor to Clear Land
Buy at Amazon

We tried clearing the land by hand in the very early stages of the Dual Homestead project. Lighting backfires, tearing up lawnmowers, destroying weed-eaters, and swinging a sling blade (some folks call it a kaiser blade) is good all in good fun, but as soon as a good friend of mine volunteered his kubota tractor, I jumped on the offer, Using a tractor to clear land saves an enormous amount of time, By using a small tractor to clear our land allowed us to clear more land in 2 hours than two men did in two days…

My friend stayed over on the land for 3 days, and used about 15 gallons of diesel and a lot of bottled water. He was able to clear about 1.5 acres of land (including some trees), scrape off several burn pits full of glass, screws, nails, and all sorts of other nasty bits, as well as grade the driveway and help clear out some of the trash inside the trailer. The trailer cleaning and road grading are separate posts.

There really isn’t much I can say about using a tractor to clear land other than do it if possible… And if you have a friend that is willing to loan the use of his tractor and stay out on your property to help – keep him supplied with cold water and hot food…

New Rabbit Tractor

52 Unique Techniques for Stocking Food for Prepper
Buy at Amazon

I am a big fan of chicken tractors, and probably will be until I can actually pasture or free range them. After talking with Paul Wheaton and joining his permaculture forum I started thinking about tractor raising my rabbits.

After researching more, I decided to try it. I built a new rabbit tractor, and made it more conducive to rabbits by making the floor with wooden slats rather than wire.

I put my trio in the tractor, and let them graze and breed naturally rather than trying to control it. I found that they had a much better survival rate with the newborn kits in the tractor rather than the cage. I think (without a lot of proof) that it was because the momma’s were less stressed and the next box was more secluded.

The biggest fear I had with the rabbits was/is coccidian – but what I read suggests that if I move the tractor regularly, and do not put the tractor in the same spot for at least a year, the parasites are much less likely to infest by rabbits.

Unfortunately, due to the neighbor dogs ripping into my older tractor, and digging into my coop – I had to replace the rabbits back into their cages, so I could put my last three chicks in the more sturdy rabbit tractor. I do feel this is a worthwhile activity, and once we more to a place where dogs are more easily kept away from the animals I will try this again.