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What are the most used or useful items on your farm/homestead/ranch?

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Alaskajohn

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As someone who has spent the last 5 or so years resurrecting an old Alaskan homestead, I am constantly amazed at all the items and materials I use to make and keep the place safe and productive. The place I bought was fairly well equipped when I purchased it, and I’ve spent a good chunk of change since then acquiring all sorts of items and it’s never enough.

What items do you find most used or useful on your homestead/farm/ranch?

For me, in no particular order, are the five most used or useful items on my little spread. My place is more of a hobby farm or homestead where the products are consumed primarily by my family or traded/bartered with other homesteaders in the area.

ATV/side by sides. I have 3 of them equipped for various functions and they are all constantly being used from everything from subsistence activities, collecting firewood, plowing, pulling up stumps, hauling stuff, etc. Fortunately my only neighbor in my isolated valley has a bulldozer and an excavator, so I am able to borrow his big toys several times a year for projects.

Cellar. If you are going to raise crops you need a place to store the produce. I hired a contractor in the summer of 2019 to do some foundation work on my main structure and one of the byproducts of this work was a tripling of my cellar space. What a huge difference this makes in being able to store my potatoes, carrots, items we have canned, freezer space for moose, caribou, and all the various berries harvested during the summer.

Well stocked shed. Nuts, bolts, screws, nails, wire, springs, shear pins, washers, fasteners, pullies, etc. And tools to use them.

Strong back. Everything takes effort and muscles you never knew you had.

Buckets. Yes, buckets. You can never have enough. I use buckets to store all sorts of items, to haul dirt or water, to collect rain, collect produce, and dozens of other projects. I probably have 4 dozen 5 gallon buckets and i don’t have nearly enough.

So, what are your most used or useful items on your homestead/farm/ranch and why?
 

zoomzoom

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ATV/UTV for sure. I use them daily. I'll add trailers to this one as I use them a LOT.
Stocked garage as you noted.
Strong back for sure. BTW - I found out yesterday I have a fracture in my spine. :(
Tractor with loader and 3PH attachments.
Firewood processing equipment. Chainsaws, log splitters...
 

Alaskajohn

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ATV/UTV for sure. I use them daily. I'll add trailers to this one as I use them a LOT.
Stocked garage as you noted.
Strong back for sure. BTW - I found out yesterday I have a fracture in my spine. :(
Tractor with loader and 3PH attachments.
Firewood processing equipment. Chainsaws, log splitters...
Sorry to hear of your spine fracture. I have lower back issues and know how this limits what I can do.
 

Cascadian

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Over 10 acres
1 Tractor loader and impliments
2 Chainsaws & splitter
3 S10 4x4 used almost daily
4 Covered work & storage be area.
5 Mowers & big weed eater.
We have a quad but is loud and fast so not helpful. We had this prior to moving. I will have to update with why later.
 
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Alaskajohn

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Over 10 acres
1 Tractor loader and impliments
2 Chainsaws & splitter
3 S10 4x4 used almost daily
4 Covered work & storage be area.
5 Mowers & big weed eater.
We have a quad but is loud and fast so not helpful. We had this prior to moving. I will have to update with why later.
Great list! Thanks for listing covered work area. This is very useful indeed! While mine is large and functional, this time of the year I wish I had an enclosed heated space to work on my equipment. I have space heaters and a small woodstove that provides some help, but the help is marginal. Its amazing how easily metal breaks at -20 or colder!
 

SheepDog

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Since the common denominator seems to be YOU, things you use, I would say that the most important thing is you. None of it would get done without you... ;)
 

Alaskajohn

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Since the common denominator seems to be YOU, things you use, I would say that the most important thing is you. None of it would get done without you... ;)
Great observation and interesting take on this topic! What are the human characteristics that are most useful? I included one personal characteristic in my OP, but will expand below.

1) A strong back. Most everything you do will require physical effort. Some days are worse than others, and you still need to get up and repeat the following day.
2) Critical thinking. You will be miles away from stores or hired help. You need to correctly think things through so you can effectively and efficiently plan ahead to get your projects done correctly, the first time, without a 6 hour round trip to get to a store.
3) Common sense. You’ll need this to keep you from hurting or killing your self or others.
4) Innovation. Thinking outside the box with the goal of solving the issues creatively.
 

SheepDog

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I lose on the strong back but I make up for it with determination and ingenuity.
 

Bacpacker

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Strong back is important, or the knowledge to use other forces/aids to get what you need done. I've got 2 bad disk and don't hold out like I used to. I've learned to figure ways around really heavy tasks.
Critical thinking goes into that, take your time and think of various ways to do a task. It'll almost always present the right path and normally will be safer as well.
 

Spikedriver

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In my experience, on a corn/soybeans/hogs/cattle farm like where I grew up

Acetylene torch/welder
Shop with concrete floor
Mowing implements (bigger than what you think you'll need)
80-120 HP tractor with loader, blade, drag, and ag implements
4wheel drive truck, 1/2 ton or bigger

You could add an air compressor to that. If it has tires, you'll need to pump them up eventually...

And yes, lots of buckets. Preferably the rubber ones. Plastic ones shatter in the cold...
 

Alaskajohn

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Spikedriver, I love your list. Maybe because I spent party of my youth (3rd grade through 11th grade) living on a small farm in Nebraska that my parents rented.

I definitely need to get a acetylene tourch/welder. I remember making stuff for my dad in shop class. Great suggestion.
 

Duncan

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  1. Well with a back-up hand pump. If the water access dies, so do I; and sometimes the folks at Idaho Power fall behind in their disaster mitigation!
  2. Drip irrigation system for my garden.
  3. Tools. Mostly wood-working tools, including big compound-miter saw and 20-volt battery tools; tools for outside plumbing and irrigation repair; gardening tools.
  4. 20-foot conex painted red with white trim to look like a barn. I keep all my wood, lawn-tractor, hay/straw, and grains for the critters, as well as a bunch of soil amendments.
  5. One-burner propane stove using for canning fruits and veggies, as well as heating water to scald the chickens before plucking.
  6. List of all my neighbors and friends in the Twin Falls area.
  7. 2011 Nissan XTerra. It takes us shopping and to my part-time job, pulls our travel trailer, flatbed trailer with feed and hay, garbage to the land-fill, and a lot of other errands when Dawn's Civic isn't used in the snow.
  8. Credit card which works at Home Depot, and D&B Farm Supply store.
 

joel

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19.5 acres
1 Tractor loader and impliments
2 Chainsaw & (soon chipper)
3 Pick up truck
4 Conex container
5 Mowers & Bush hog, box blade,triller,poles hole digger
6 tools- Hand & battery powered
 

Bacpacker

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We have 5 acres. Several things are of high importance. No real order for them.
Tractors and implements
Truck and trailers
Shop and Basement, storage and work space
Tools of various kinds, chainsaw, tiller, power tools, hand tools

Several things are on my list that would be of benefit as well.
Permanent power to the shop, gutters, and concrete floor for the shop
Water fixture ran to the upper garden spot (where all my beds will be located)
Greenhouse or high tunnel
 

randyt

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a chainsaw or three. For firewood, building, making money. There are many other tools but a chainsaw is a "force multiplier" So much power in a small package as compared to a ax or hand saw.
 

viking

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Aside from what others have mentioned, my list is a Craftsman 50" riding mower, a small trailer I tow behind it, which is used for firewood, sand, gravel and many other things, battery powered drill motor, drill bits, screwdriver bits and hole saws, Channel Lock pliers, Vise grips, Estwing hammers, splitting mauls and wedges. Square nosed shovels which I always have leaning against a post at our entrance door during the summer months, it's snake control. Extended pole fruit picker. Extra P-traps and sink drain pipes, plumbing parts and buckets of various lengths of deck screws, torks drive are the best, but having buckets of them is a good thing due to how much the prices have gone up on them. I try to prep like things will not be available any longer and the truth is, a lot have things that are needed have disappeared. My list could probably go on forever and that's why I bought a large cargo container to store extras, it's extremely secure, a bolt cutter can't get at the puck lock.
 

Neb

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I agree with all of the previous and will offer my minimalist response.

20201208_191830.jpg

A Swiss Champ and a pocket screwdriver.

I can most every household issues with them.

Warning!
If you choose to carry a Swiss Champ you have to choose between keeping one hand in your pocket to hold your pants up or wearing suspenders.

Ben
 

Alaskajohn

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I agree with all of the previous and will offer my minimalist response.

View attachment 54689

A Swiss Champ and a pocket screwdriver.

I can most every household issues with them.

Warning!
If you choose to carry a Swiss Champ you have to choose between keeping one hand in your pocket to hold your pants up or wearing suspenders.

Ben
I don‘t use mine often enough as I should, but I always have one of those is my front left pants pocket. It’s always there when I need it!
 

joel

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I love my MacGyver Knife, I carry it & a mini flashlight everywhere, other than a Gov building.
 

LadyLocust

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I can't believe you said buckets! I love buckets. New ones are garbage! I look at yard sales and estate sales for older ones far better quality.
One thing that came to mind is a wood stove - a source of heat, cooking, boil water (cleaning self, clothes etc.) and wood gathering supplies.
I've never owned a quad or side by side and don't have a desire for one; however, a small tractor can serve many purposes. And along those lines block pullies and good ropes have many uses.
The last thing that comes to mind (at the moment) is good tarps. Those blue things make me walk with a twitch. We've been using for several years anyway the heavy canvas tarps. If they start wearing, they can be resealed with linseed I think - would have to look, it's been a while.
 

Alaskajohn

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I can't believe you said buckets! I love buckets. New ones are garbage! I look at yard sales and estate sales for older ones far better quality.
One thing that came to mind is a wood stove - a source of heat, cooking, boil water (cleaning self, clothes etc.) and wood gathering supplies.
I've never owned a quad or side by side and don't have a desire for one; however, a small tractor can serve many purposes. And along those lines block pullies and good ropes have many uses.
The last thing that comes to mind (at the moment) is good tarps. Those blue things make me walk with a twitch. We've been using for several years anyway the heavy canvas tarps. If they start wearing, they can be resealed with linseed I think - would have to look, it's been a while.
Tarps are so essential! There are so many uses for them! Perhaps blue tarps, duck tape and buckets are the real hero’s on the farm!
 

Alaskajohn

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Aside from what others have mentioned, my list is a Craftsman 50" riding mower, a small trailer I tow behind it, which is used for firewood, sand, gravel and many other things, battery powered drill motor, drill bits, screwdriver bits and hole saws, Channel Lock pliers, Vise grips, Estwing hammers, splitting mauls and wedges. Square nosed shovels which I always have leaning against a post at our entrance door during the summer months, it's snake control. Extended pole fruit picker. Extra P-traps and sink drain pipes, plumbing parts and buckets of various lengths of deck screws, torks drive are the best, but having buckets of them is a good thing due to how much the prices have gone up on them. I try to prep like things will not be available any longer and the truth is, a lot have things that are needed have disappeared. My list could probably go on forever and that's why I bought a large cargo container to store extras, it's extremely secure, a bolt cutter can't get at the puck lock.
Your list mirrors exactly with what I find I need. I was fortunate that the old homestead I purchased came with all the tools and equipment that the original homesteader used to build and operate it, so I got lucky. Of course, everything the original homesteader used were all hand powered. I love the old school stuff, and when the power goes out you can still get the job done.
 

Alaskajohn

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We have 5 acres. Several things are of high importance. No real order for them.
Tractors and implements
Truck and trailers
Shop and Basement, storage and work space
Tools of various kinds, chainsaw, tiller, power tools, hand tools

Several things are on my list that would be of benefit as well.
Permanent power to the shop, gutters, and concrete floor for the shop
Water fixture ran to the upper garden spot (where all my beds will be located)
Greenhouse or high tunnel
I love your list! I am drawing a blank on what a “high tunnel” is. Since it appears gardening related, you have me interested. What is a high tunnel?
 

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