Hello from Pahiatua

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1 month 1 week ago #557533 by Prairie
Hello from Pahiatua was created by Prairie
Hi all. I've been reading/researching posts here for the past year or so and have finally bought 16-odd acres of flat land. It has been previously used for running cattle, it's divided into 5 paddocks, of which one I'll be using to build a house - currently building a 110sqm pole shed on it. I'm hoping to have a small number of Murray Grey cows, and possibly a few sheep, along with a reasonable orchard, tunnel house and garden.

While previous posts have been hugely helpful with questions I had, I'm sure I'll have others that haven't been covered, or I have missed on my search. 

Cheers 
Andrew 

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1 month 1 week ago #557534 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic Hello from Pahiatua
welcome Andrew, it;s great to know which area you are hailing from as it helps us suggest any answers to you questions! One thing I have learned is that there is so much going on when you build that you delay decisions outside the house such as planting trees. I hope you will buy a tractor as even though it might not be high on your list at the moment, it will be of immense support in the future. My priority would be tree planting and for that you need a good backpack sprayer, a post hole borer and plenty of tree guards. Fence off the orchard securely so you can run chickens and sheep in there. Now is a good time to spot spray planting sites and get the holes ready, of course you have already ordered your trees? The driveway to your house site should be clearly marked out by now so that the tradies will help compact the track as they fit back and forth to town, at your expense! I don't favour excavating a track but just build it above ground by dumping AP 20 on it and spreading it with the tractor. If you are stuck for cash, just do the wheel tracks first by asking the cartage firm to put a 44 gallon drum in the back of the truck to make two strips, you can fill in the middle later. All the knowldge is on here somewhere!
 

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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1 month 1 week ago #557538 by Prairie
Replied by Prairie on topic Hello from Pahiatua
Hi Tony, thanks for the reply and great information.

Glad you recommended a tractor - I just bought a cheap Ferguson (Te20 maybe, from the looks?) off Trademe last week - am still organising to pick it up, at present. It came with a grader blade, back end loader attachment, plough and a rear mounted transport tray. I have prepped the driveway (200m) using river run rock which was the largest the local quarry had, and after scrapping back the area for the slab as well as some of the drive, I have ended up with a large pile of topsoil. I figure the blade and loader will be useful quite quickly. At present we are still living in Wellington, driving up in the weekend to the site (we have a friends empty house in Pahiatua that we are renting) and over the past couple of weekends have planted around 100 shelterbelt trees, chosen for a mixture of stock fodder and bees (your frequent recommendation of tagasaste saw us choosing that as one) , purchased from local nurseries. A good deal on a cheap post hole borer off Trademe helped considerably. We have bought a lot of our (mainly dwarf) fruit tress up in their containers and replanted those too. Next up I think will be some more fencing, both some repairs and new ones to close off some of the paddocks now the driveway has opened them up.

The grass is at a manageable height at present, but part of the reason for the tractor purchase was to try and keep on top of that, until we are in a position to move up full time and look at some stock, so I am looking around for a mower attachment for the tractor. 

I have sent soil samples away to Hills Labs, so am waiting for the results there, to see what needs to be done in the way of soil amendments. 

I am a builder, and very much a do-it-yourself type of person, and that, combined with a shoestring budget, means things will progress slower than I would like, but that might also mean I don't rush in and makes lots of mistakes. 

The majority of the progress we have made is due to the great information here, so thanks to all those people that answered others queries. I think it might have been you Tony that recommended Dave Miller for the sewer design too, which his system looks to save us money as well. 

Cheers
Andrew 

 

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1 month 1 week ago #557539 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic Hello from Pahiatua
That's great news Andrew, sounds like you are doing all the right things so far. Keep your eyes open for a Fergie 35 diesel which will do everything you want it to and then some! Try and spread that topsoil as soon as you can as it will settle and compact and be hard to move without a digger. I think my most useful implement for the tractor has been a set of rear forks that enables me to keep things on pallets so that I can shift them around as needed.
See if you can get some Dorper/Wiltshire sheep as they are so easy care. Consider installing a decent wood fired cooker/boiler so you can run some radiators and use up some of that firewood you will be generating! You can also install a solar panel to feed the power direct to a heating element in your hot water cylinder.
It must be a nice thought that you can build what you like without having to wait for the tradie to turn up, order your Gib now, ha ha!

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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1 month 1 week ago #557541 by Prairie
Replied by Prairie on topic Hello from Pahiatua
Thanks Tony.

The soil might have to sit a wee while at present, but worst case, I'll get a digger in when I start the house. I'll keep an eye out for some forks for the tractor. As far as a mower attachment, it would seem a flail mower would be the go? Is there a HP requirement for these sorts of things?

There is a breeder of Wiltshire sheep in Pahiatua, and I had been considering that. Are they a good eating breed? 

I like the idea of radiators feed off the fire. I was looking at an wood fired oven, but the potential heat during summer put me off - I'm hoping to build an energy efficient house to keep the heating costs down. Solar is something I am keen to look into, I'd read your suggestions about the DC feed for the hot water too. I am used of gas for heating and cooking, but with this government is trying to wreck that industry, I am not sure that long term it's a good move for me. I love to cook, so choices seem to be gas or induction, and I am not that fussed in the latter. 

It's definitely a bonus being able to build, but I am still waiting on trades at present (concrete placer), and even timber for the shed is problematic. I find I am happiest when working on the section, even if it is just digging holes for trees,

Cheers

Andrew 

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1 month 1 week ago #557547 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic Hello from Pahiatua
 Is there a HP requirement for these sorts of things? well with the TEA 20, you will need an over-running clutch in the pto shaft of the mower, if you don't have one when you press the clutch pedal the mower will drive the tractor because it will act like a flywheel.

There is a breeder of Wiltshire sheep in Pahiatua, and I had been considering that. Are they a good eating breed?  excellent meat, they grow fast and will eat anything, tree branches etc.

I like the idea of radiators feed off the fire. Ours has covers and an adjustable grate for summer use. See if you can get a used Bosky stove but they are expensive. We use of gas for cooking, and I don't see the supply of gas disappearing any time soon. I believe induction draws a lot of power initially and maybe you need special wiring, but now you can get cheap plug in units. Our wood stove has electricity back up for the oven. If you do install a woodburner, make sure you plan the layout so that the flue does not go through any structural woodwork! Nothing worse that a flue with bends in it.

I find I am happiest when working on the section, even if it is just digging holes for trees, me too - I have been on my block for 36 years and still find pleasure in mucking around with the Fergie, chatting to the sheep and trying to persuade the chickens to lay more eggs.

Cheers

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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1 month 1 week ago #557548 by Prairie
Replied by Prairie on topic Hello from Pahiatua
Thanks again Tony. I am waiting on the delivery of the tractor, and when it arrives I should be able to figure out what model it actually is, and work from there. There seems to be a reasonable amount of information on the tractors online, so that will help. Thanks for the tip regarding the over-running clutch.

I am hoping gas will be around for some time yet too, so will most likely run with gas bottles for cooking and possibly hot water, although solar seems to be a more attractive option for water heating after seeing my latest power bill...I'll keep an eye out for a Bosky stove. I have never regretted paying for quality, so it's worth spending a little more where needed. 

We late starters here, both of us in our late 50's. We're both reasonably fit, and I hope that the section will keep us that way. I have noticed it isn't a struggle at all to get in 10,000 steps each day we're there! 

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1 month 1 week ago #557551 by Hertz Donut
Replied by Hertz Donut on topic Hello from Pahiatua
Welcome aboard. As much as people try to put it off, a tractor purchase is definitely a wise move right from the start.

I have a 1.55m flail mower I run behind a 38hp John Deere 3038E, which has a 30hp PTO rating. It's great for mulching runaway grass and does a good job of mulching lighter brush too, but won't be much use if you plan to make your own hay. I get my implements from Implements Direct and so far they've all been of good quality.

I have a front end loader as well, which is handy in too many ways to count, but I've heard the cost of retrofitting one may be more than just buying another tractor with one fitted already. If you do get/have one, remember rear ballast is vital for safety and performance.

For PTO equipment, I've also found a post hole digger to be very handy, as is a wood chipper. I have a ripper with pipe layer attachment that is great for putting irrigation lines underground, and can also be used in a pinch to run temporary drainage channels in ponding paddocks. I have a land rake that's been used exactly once and now takes up a chunk of room.

We have a creaky old villa on our land, which we figured we'd be well into renovating it by now, but after nearly 3 years all we've done is pull out the kitchen and rip up the carpet, with all our time going into the land itself.

Life lesson: Whatever shed/workshop you're planning to build, it's too small. Think bigger. No, bigger than that. Bigger!

10,000 steps per day is an unreachable target for me on my property - try as I might I just can't get anywhere near that low. :p

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.

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1 month 1 week ago #557559 by Anakei
Replied by Anakei on topic Hello from Pahiatua
After our old electric hob burned out, we installed a gas hob, which runs off the usual BBQ gas bottle. We have 2 bottles so we always have a back up, and we can swap it anywhere in town. 1 bottle lasts about 3 months and I cook from scratch every day. I've been very pleased with it and as we have been promised that BBQ's will never be taken away from us, I expect the bottled gas to be available for some time!
Only draw back was the cost of getting a gasfitter to install it - he cost more than the hob. 

Urban mini farmer and guerilla gardener

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1 month 1 week ago #557562 by tonybaker
Replied by tonybaker on topic Hello from Pahiatua
we use the 8 kg bottles as well, saves on hireage fees and is easier to install. We also have a normal electric oven but seldom use it as we have a Breville benchtop oven This one that cooks a roast no trouble , when they are on special the price is more reasonable.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)

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1 month 1 week ago #557565 by Prairie
Replied by Prairie on topic Hello from Pahiatua
Hi Hertz. To be honest, I am a bit embarrassed about the tractor purchase, as though buying one instantly makes you a farmer   but weighing up the alternatives for the ability to mow the place at least, that tractor come out the cheapest option, and I think the most versatile too. I had a look at Implements Direct when doing a search (and for comparing what is on Trademe), and things seemed reasonably priced. The rear end loader that comes with the tractor I bought seems a bit awkward to use, from videos I have watched of REL in general, but I guess you'd get used of driving in reverse. Front ballast seems equally important with that too, although wheel standing might be preferable to nose planting... 

I bought a small as-new Hyundai one man post hole digger off Trademe, and that has been successful in augering holes for the fruit trees and willow/poplar stakes, but I did like the look of the PTO augers from Implements Direct - I have a few hundred metres of fencing I'd like to do, so if my small auger doesn't work well for that, I might have to look at something bigger. I have a Hansa C7 chipper I bought a few years back, in anticipation of buying a bigger section, so that is covered there. I liked the idea of the ripper as I need to look at putting in around 200m of 70mm power cable, but I don't think that will work, both for depth and possibly cable size. I am thinking of hiring a chain trencher as a cheapish option there.

I have renovated a few villas in my time, and even built a new bungalow. I really do like older character homes. I had considered a relocated house, and if funds run short, may still do that. I just sold an 70's American car I had been slowly working on for the past far too long, as I figured that time wouldn't be plentiful once we moved there, and money would be better spent on things less "frivolous", so hopefully the sale of the car will pay for some tractor bits and a nice big tunnel-house. 

The shed is 18m x 6m, but yes, looking at the footprint, I thought I should have gone bigger... I can see that there will be sheds of various sizes springing up all over the place as time goes by. 

10,000 steps - Ha! I can see that my daily total on days I'm working there will be high. I'll need to exercise to work off the homekill, I think...

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1 month 1 week ago #557566 by Prairie
Replied by Prairie on topic Hello from Pahiatua
Hi Anakei,

I had thought about the larger bottles for gas, but I guess the smaller ones would be simpler. Not too sure about rural delivery at present - my address doesn't come up so I hadn't been able to check, nor for that matter register for NAIT either. I knew a couple of gasfitters in Wellington, but sadly no one up Pahiatua. It's a whole lot trickier getting trades in that place, I have to say. 

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1 month 1 week ago #557567 by Prairie
Replied by Prairie on topic Hello from Pahiatua
Hi Tony,

I have an electric oven and a small Breville benchtop one too. Handy wee thing. I have a few BBQ's, both gas and charcoal, and an incredibly fierce wok burner, that would rival the burners used at Chinese takeaways - it cook scaringly fast. Over the years I accumulated some furnace bricks for a woodfired pizza oven too, so I'd like to built a little shed to house all these things in, and use regardless of the weather. 

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1 month 1 week ago #557571 by Scott Free
Replied by Scott Free on topic Hello from Pahiatua
Hi Prairie 
Regarding your underground power - I have the same dilemma on our new property - have over 200 metres to put in from the road to the main shed - we are going to run 3 phase power to the mancave. My sparkie told me that a ripper or even a chain digger wont cut a wide or deep enough trench to run the cable. He wants it down 900 deep which as a tradie I get but its going to be a slow job with the digger. Personally I love chain diggers - awesome and quick for irrigation/water mains up to 65mm...the other issue I have is the alluvial (is that the right word) ground - we are near a river - but wont know  how hard the digging is until I get into it.

Congratulations on your purchase.

Scott

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1 month 1 week ago - 1 month 1 week ago #557572 by Hertz Donut
Replied by Hertz Donut on topic Hello from Pahiatua
Don't feel embarrassed about the tractor purchase. I paid $12,500 for mine, and it felt like a huge outlay for something I thought I'd rarely use, only to find it's been an invaluable asset. It's like having the Hulk as a farm hand.

I also paid $200 for a small 1950s trailer that was no longer roadworthy, which I tow behind the tractor. I have a 12x7 tandem flatdeck for picking up supplies but that's too heavy and unwieldy for regular paddock use.

I can understand selling your car was hard (what was it? Petrolhead over here) but it was a good idea. I have a very tidy Honda S2000 that I've driven exactly 5 times since I moved out here - once to get it onto the property, twice for WOFs, and twice to move between sheds. It still has half a tank of gas in it from late 2018, I'm surprised it can even run on it. It's likely to be replaced soon with something that can get itself out of a mud hole and I won't feel bad scratching up.

FWIW I'm planning a 15x14 workshop, although that's on hold because I also have to reroof and insulate the house, including replacing old trusses etc, which is a 6-figure bill. I can do a lot of work myself but I draw the line at this kind of thing.

Don't ask me, it was on its side when I got here.
Last edit: 1 month 1 week ago by Hertz Donut.

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