What vehicles are essential on a homestead?

Marie_TX(z8 N Houston)October 30, 2002

Just curious: what vehicles do you find to be essential to the success of your home/homestead? Larger farm/ranch type set-ups will need more, I am sure. Starting with the Mom/Pop farmette, and adding more acreage, animals, etc., what would be the vehicles you start with, and add, as you grow?

For me, it was:

First: VW beetle - 1972 (still here)

Second: Chevy Suburban (standard shift, not air-conditioned) - 1984

Third: 1988 Blazer - bought used for son

Gave away the 1984 Chevy Suburban and got a 1995 Suburban

Forth (if it counts as a vehicle): John Deere riding mower

vintage 1981 not functional at this time.

That's where we are now. Never had a pick-up, although that seems to be the typical vehicle around here for small farmers. The VW was okay when my hauling needs were neglible, but it's going to be sold because it's too small. I like Suburbans for the family (I have eight kids) and for hauling stuff like scavanged wood, compost makin's, kids back and forth to airport, etc.

I have noticed that my neighbors that have animals are forced into having these huge trucks for hauling livestock, hay bales, etc., around. I guess I just wonder if that's really efficient, all told. I'm not meaning to be judgemental, I just think each family must figure these things out and decide for themselves. But if we share information we'll be in a better position.

Also, if you have tractors or other vehicular type equipment I would like to know that, too.

So what do y'all use? -- Marie

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anniew(4-5/PA)

In the north, whether a homestead or other, a 4 wheel drive vehicle is necessary to get out to the road in winter, or out of a field that's even wet with dew. I don't currently have a pickup, but have a Bronco, 4 wheel drive which serves the same purpose, plus can carry my two large dogs, or my birds in cages, straw, etc.
If I were you I'd keep the VW since it probably has the best gas mileage. I have a smallish car for long trips and gas mileage, front wheel drive.
Also have two riding mowers for mowing and hauling, and a rototiller.
I grow veggies and flowers for sale, and the only livestock is various poultry, so don't need a large vehicle for transporting animals (other than the dogs).

    Bookmark   October 31, 2002 at 9:43AM
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modjadje(Willamette Valley Zone 8)

We do not have animals, so only have people transportation ... we use our 4-wheel drive '83 Ford F150 pickup a lot, and run our errands with an extremely frugal little diesel VW Dasher which gives 50 miles to the gallon. We also have a big old 1-ton flatbed truck which we use when we need to haul big stuff. As a matter of fact, we moved all our possessions from CA to OR ourselves, making nine trips with hubby driving the flatbed towing our car trailer, and me driving the Ford F150 towing our vintage Airstream trailer.
We save a lot of money because we drive old cars; my hubby is an excellent mechanic amongst his many skills and this makes it possible. Delina

    Bookmark   November 1, 2002 at 11:49PM
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westbrook(z9 SoCa)

His and Her trucks!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2002 at 3:06AM
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yonderway(North Carolina)

I use my ATV all the time. Invaluable for hauling wood, winching stuff, carrying manure or whatever.

Also have a full size pickup. Can't take the ATV to town for supplies after all (but I do take it to the grocery store since it is the most fuel efficient vehicle I have and has plenty of cargo capacity with the trailer on it). The pickup is only 2WD. For those who think they need 4WD on their pickup, I doubt it in most cases. Try a 2WD with a locker in the rear differential sometime. Most "4WD" vehicles are really 2WD; one tire in the front and one in the back, and they are usually the ones with the WORST traction. The locker makes sure both tires on one axle get equal power distribution. 2WD trucks are cheaper to buy, less complicated, and get better mileage.

If I didn't have my ATV, I imagine a Jeep Wrangler with the rear seat yanked out would be pretty valuable but it is too big for most of the work I currently use the ATV for.

Here is a link that might be useful: Information Dirt Road

    Bookmark   November 14, 2002 at 11:09PM
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Roberta_z5(Z4/5 IL)

We have a DR Brush Mower and even though it is a "walk behind" vehicle it is the best purchase we made immediately after buying our acreage. It has been used regularly for four years now and we just love the power of the thing. Also my husband has a ATV that has come in very handy for all sorts of things. I want one too!!!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2002 at 10:24AM
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Wingnut_8b

For a Mom and Pop farmette, something to haul feed/hay/compost/etc. in is a MUST. Either a full sized truck/suburban and small car for economy or one small truck. That decision would depend on the situation, insurance, extra vet costs for them to come to your place instead of you hauling the cow in, etc.

We have 100+ acres and 14 head of cattle along with the usual farm menagerie (goats, sheep, chickens, horse, dogs). We have a one-ton dually diesel truck and have just decided that even all this can't justify the expense of that big of a truck. It was nice when Kenny was selling firewood for a living, but we really just don't need that much truck. So we'll sell it and get something smaller, preferably something older so Kenny can work on it himself.

As for tractors, I think a "farmette" could get by quite nicely with a large garden tractor or small farm tractor with a bucket on the front. That bucket sure does come in handy! We have a bobcat with a posthole auger and I can't tell you how much I LOVE that thing! We've been pricing shredder attachments for it. But we don't have a way to plow with it. That's okay with us as we grow mostly in raised beds, but for someone with a market garden it wouldn't be so good. Whatever it is, a bucket on the front is a MUST IMHO ~ easy to fix the driveway, dig a hole to bury an animal, fill that hole back in, flatten the feedlot of all the hoof-holes made after the last rain, stir the compost and much easier to clean out the barn with that than a shovel. And the best part ~ feeding the Longhorns! Ours are pretty docile, but do get excited when you start feeding. With the bobcat, we can just fill the bucket with the breeder cubes, climb up in the caged "cockpit" and head out to the pasture. MUCH less chance of becoming a Kennykabob that way!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2002 at 2:15PM
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bulldinkie(pa)

we have a john deere gator which we dont know what wed do with out it. It dumps, goes anywhere, we haul feed ,hay and the dogs dont have to walk far ha.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2003 at 8:03AM
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athagan(z9a N/C Fl)

If I absolutely had to I could forego having a tractor, but I'd be hard put to operate at all without a pickup truck.

How much land you have and what you want to do with it will dictate what vehicles you need.

.....Alan.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2003 at 8:38AM
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bulldinkie(pa)

We have different vehicles for different jobs I use gator to garden ,feed animals,haul hay,dogs...we use pickup sometimes,we have a big john deere tractor to mow fields etc, 4 wheelers if its a quick chase type thing and now hes restoring a power wagon to use it has a huge wench on front.we have a cat shid loader and john deere backhoe. My husbands in construction.Ithelps from time to time we need hios equipment here.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2003 at 9:15AM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

I just love my gardenway cart! It's almost a "vehicle" isn't it?

Otherwise, right now, we have a Toyota van with roof racks and a Honda Civic with roof racks. Seems we are always moving things bigger than our vehicles, so the roof racks come in handy. The next project will be to bring home a 28 foot lamp post to mount a wind generator on. A pickup with a full rack would be nice, but the van will do.

We don't have to do any 4WD and both these are really good on gas milage. Plus they were both free. The civic had a blown head gasket and the Toyota has the engine from one van and the body of another. (People just give away things when they just need a bit of fixing.)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2003 at 8:17AM
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cam8122z5(z5 CO)

I found an atv for sale this morning. Used $2500 4x4 290cc Kawasaki. Would this be good for pulling disc or harrow on 1 acre of weedy pasture? The weeds are taking over the grass I can spray but how do I get the seeds into the ground without scratching up the soil?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 9:47AM
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