JD Engine Swap – ‘Dirty’ Deere

I’m really impressed with Clay’s engine swap, he’s successfully swapped the good engine in the grasshopper, Kubota 25hp diesel, into the John Deere. There was almost an issue with the driveshaft, but he was able to machine new holes for the mount. All of the electrical had to be reconnected/rewired. Too many switches.

John Deere commercial mowers with a diesel are pretty rare used, and expensive, (think 10k-20k) so this has worked out great. It’s not really a JD anymore, but a frankenstein mower¬†– the Dirty Deere

We’ve ordered new tires, Carlisle HD Field Trax ATV Tire – 24X12-12

The turf tires were dry rotted, so all in all we are about $700 in this mower.

And a new 120″ belt for the deck, 10 ft of belt!

Some photos of the progress; seat is off


As for the homestead, we’ve got the three amigos of destruction, Milo is tolerating them. I call him the big fluffy babysitter and they think he is their mama. This photo is pretty much their personalities, Bella is sleepy, Bear is crazy wide-eyed, and Milo is just wore out.

We’re starting a new venture with our newly found plum trees – wild plum wine. I’ve got the fermentation process started and we’re excited to see if we can get some wine – or vinegar, whichever happens ūüôā More photos of that process next week.





Growing Garden & Chickens

Just some garden and chicken photos.

We’ve taken a tractor break to work on some items around the farm as well as swap a zero-turn mower engine. The grasshopper is, well, dead, the axle sheared in half. So we’ve swapped the engine into a JD 757 Zero-turn which we picked up for cheap. When Clay finishes that this weekend we’ll post some photos of the swap.

Pictured below – Georgia, our Buff Orphington, who follows me everywhere, and Captain DA, our black and white Maran rooster who stands in the rain. Was mis-sexed from the hatchery, was not expecting a Maran rooster. First shows all of the breeds we have right now. Some really gorgeous plumage.

They have moved on to finisher/grower food and are establishing who is boss among the roosters.

Our pepper plants had to be replaced due to bad black spot, but we’ve sprayed the new set and everything is going well now. Tomato plants are very productive after using fish emulsion spray.

We purchased 1500 ladybugs and they COMPLETELY eliminated our red aphid issue. Totally worth the $10 from Ebay. They began eating the aphids as soon as we released them. Highly recommend trying for your own aphid issues. We probably could of been OK with 1000 or less, 1500 is a lot and quite a few of them left. In case you are curious, they do not go into your house, these are red ladybugs and not the yellow/orange ones. They simply fly away when they deplete their food supply, which is nectar, water, and aphids.




Massey 2135 Industrial Diesel

The last of our tractor purchases for now, with everything else in various states of restoration.

The Massey Ferguson 2135 was the industrial version of the model 135 agricultural tractor. 42 Engine HP. It can use both a front end loader and a backhoe attachment. Perkins 2.5L 3-cyl diesel engine,

Currently restoring Farmall M, Ford 4000, Ford 2000 and now the Massey 2135. Contact us for details on purchasing any of these tractors.



This unique tractor even has the original working radio. And it runs! Nice to load it on the trailer without a winch.

Owner of 17 years originally wanted to do an engine rebuild but decided to sell it instead, knowing it will be restored to it’s former glory. With some engine work it should be ready for sale soon. Brand new rear tires.


Updates – Porch

After waiting many months for the new wood on the porch to finally dry out, we’ve gotten most of it painted. Endless spindles and some paint brushing to do but finally nearing completion.

Paint the shutters black, finally get my plants and new rugs on the porch and we are good for the summer. This is only the old section of the porch, the other side is done now too.

And these two, so cute…probably going to have to keep both.


Farmall M 1953

Both Fords – 2000 and 4000 are well on their way to running this weekend, with the Ford 4000 ready to start this week.

We were trying to buy a Minneapolis Moline UTU 1950, but it needed tires, and sheet metal. So, that is over $2100¬†including purchase price, before we even try to get it to run. Just not something we can do – although it’s one powerful engine and it was hard to pass up. It did sell the same day though so somebody wanted it bad.

But while we were negotiating the MM UTU,  at the same farm, we found and bought this Farmall M 1953 Рcomplete with sheet metal, not pictured. Engine has already been rebuilt Рa rarity.

This M has 14.5 x 38 tires on it – makes it look huge. We may keep the same size but it does need new tires. Originally these tractors had 11.25 x 36’s

Loading it on our trailer was a treat, considering we don’t have 3 ramps or a rollback trailer. We loaded it backwards with the winch and used a tri-fold 4wheeler ramp. Barely made it but that’s all we had. Safety first of course, used wheel chocks once the back wheels were on and kept the winch on while loading the front end.



Of course, if we didn’t have enough to do already…two kittens were dropped on the porch by a mouser¬†cat that we feed. She was no where to be found, so we had to take them in. Looking for homes for at least one of these little girls. The black kitten literally makes no noise at all, but the black and white one is the noisiest cat we’ve ever had. Both flea bathed and on formula right now.


Also, chicken update…coop is basically done, soon as they get a little bigger it will be time for them to spend time in the run. Speckled Sussex, and Red Laced Wynadottes below.


Homestead updates

Little homestead update, tractors are still in progress – photos of those later this week.

We are racing the south’s summer heat, every weekend is a work weekend until we can work no more.

Landscaping on side of the house – pavers need a little leveling out but otherwise, hooray, this is done finally.

Of course the porch in the top photo, no longer looks anything like that at all as we re-did everything and expanded the porch to 2x it’s size. Still waiting for good weather to completely paint it with a light brown deck-over paint.

Before and After20160410_184507   

Chicken coop construction still going, it takes a surprisingly long time to place hardware cloth properly. We used 1/4″ hardware cloth all along the bottom. Hex poultry netting to go around the entire structure, and criss-cross of wire on the top for hawk protection.

Clay making adjustments to the hardware cloth, Luke harassing him endlessly to play with his ball. Ball is life.


Sleepy chicken pile
And lastly, Sammy guarding the garden…enjoying the sunshine.


“Donkey” Mule and Chickens

So I come home from work last week after a particularly challenging day and what is in our driveway? At the time, I believed it was a donkey, just standing there in the driveway with our gate closed. On the gate is a note, stating “our donkey got out and they locked it up for us”.

Now this would be fine to keep it off the road, except our fence is to keep vehicles out, not animals, and there are several gaps where the woods acts as a natural  barrier.

We called animal control, which in group effort did manage to put it back in the neighbors fence, several acres down in the valley of our property.

Before we could even get back up to the house for a victory beer, it was right back in our yard – so “putting it back” was not an option anymore. Many more animal control officers came out, at one point there were 6 officers rotating in and out to keep it off the highway.

This went on for days – until we finally broke down and asked Big Oaks Farm to come rescue the poor thing. It had been out in the highway numerous times and we just couldn’t take it anymore. The owner didn’t want it anymore, really didn’t want it anymore, which we found out by chance one evening.

Big Oaks to the rescue

As soon as Joe Mann showed up, the “donkey” ran towards the trailer. I was in disbelief, this sorry animal made us look stupid for days and now it wants to go? Then we were informed it’s actually a john mule. A pretty old john mule for that matter.

Of course it wasn’t that easy, it took a few hours, one crossing of the highway and a lot of leading the mare around as bait, we got it in the corral, and then into the trailer.

Not even 5 minutes into the capture and it runs towards the mare
Victory is near – but we were warned he could still jump out


“Everybody just needs a buddy”

So if you are looking for a charity to donate to this year, or hook up to your Amazon Smile account for an automatic donation every time you purchase through smile.amazon, consider Big Oaks Rescue Farm

South Carolina ranks 47th in animal protection laws – these people help keep animals safe, and give them a 2nd chance at life.

Big Oaks Rescue Farm – Website





Chickens & Fords

Our chickens finally arrived, and they are super funny. We are really enjoying having them around.

26 total:¬†Buff orphingtons, Speckled Sussex, Cuckoo Maran, Red-laced blue Wynadottes, Aracaunas, and the exotic Partridge Cochin who has fluffy legs – who we think is one of the roosters already but it’s hard to tell.


Garden is in and ready to go. We lucked out at this part of our property – this is the runoff area from the hill above, so the dirt is excellent and dark. It’s about 50 x 30 in size.

We’re still going to add a fence around it, then eventually a chicken tunnel from the coop into the garden. But we have a long time before the chickens will be big enough to hangout in the garden.

Corn, Beans, Tomatoes, Peppers, Red Onions, Potatoes, and more. Will have watermelon ¬†off to the side in it’s own corral and squash varieties in the back.

I have spinach too, but it says to plant in the fall,  so we will wait on that.



The Ford projects are coming along, full engine rebuild kit for the Ford 4000 arrived and the Ford 2000 has the engine pulled and being cleaned to see what we can do there.

Some photos of the Fords below in the shop, Blue is 2000, yellow is 4000.



1972 Ford 2000

Picked up a good project, 1972 Ford 2000 Gas model. It needs TLC – mostly an engine rebuild. A lot newer with some good HP will make this model a great mini-farm/homestead utility tractor that can really do some work.

Not pictured – the pile of parts it came with, nothing missing, which is great. Sheet metal looked good too. Most people would run from this but this is great for our business.


An example of what it’s supposed to look like, with some minor differences.