machines which I have made, am making, or intend to make, and some other stuff. If you find this site interesting, please leave a comment. I read every comment and respond to most. n.b. There is a list of my first 800 posts in my post of 17 June 2021, titled "800 Posts"

Category: Farm and other machines


Toyota Landcruiser ute with tipping tray, and tandem trailer, also tipping.
Another favorite farm photo. The ute and trailer would transport up to 5 cubic meters of rabbit manure. for fertilising the olives.
The trailer would not lift more than one tonne, so I changed the hydraulic hoist to a multistage 5 tonne unit. I have actually carried and tipped close to 5 tonnes of manure, but only on the farm. That load would definitely not be road legal. I also had to enlarge the hydraulic oil tank by welding on an extension.
Since this photo was taken I have also upgraded the suspension to take 16″ Landcruiser wheels.

Morning Mist at The Farm

A photo from 10-15 years ago, before the olive trees had blocked some distant views. The hills are the You Yangs. The buildings of Melbourne, 50km away, are just to the left of the pine plantation.
With the farm about to be transferred to new owners. I am feeling nostalgic. It has been a huge part of my life for the past 17 years.


When the tanks were moved, we found this fellow not very happy about the situation. The tank formed the roof of his burrow. But he made the best of it, by ignoring the lack of roof, and settling into his furrow, and poking his blue tongue out at us every time we walked near.
At least we did not discover the owner of the shed snake skin which was nearby. It was probably a tiger snake, and was very large judging by the size of his unwanted skin. Or maybe the blue tongue killed the snake. They reputedly can do so, although I have never seen it happen.


After breaking the planks used to as a ramp, we tried lifting the big heavy awkward plastic tank with the backhoe bucket, and the tractor forks. And it worked a treat. The truck was backed underneath, the tank was lowered, strapped on, and the truck was towed up the hill with the 4WD tractor. The tank weighed 1000kg, 4.4m diameter, 2.8m high, and was slippery and awkward. I had tried to get a specialist tank trailer, but was unsuccessful. So this was the next option.

I Love hydraulic POWER

As part of the farm sale, I had to remove 2 water tanks from the bottom of a steep slippery valley. The tanks were 2.8m high and 4,4m diameter, and weighed 1 tonne each. When full they hold 45 thousand litres of water each. i.e. they were big awkward and heavy, and easily damaged.
We pulled the first tank onto the truck tray, with a 4WD tractor. All OK, but the truck could not drive up the slippery track. Even with the tractor pulling the truck, it all came close to slipping off the track to disaster. Then my elderly farmer neighbour Des suggested using a steeper, but rocky track, and that was safely and successfully negotiated. Tank one placed in the top paddock ready for transport to the new owner.
The next tank was dug into the side of the hill, and required a couple of hours digging with a back hoe to free it enough to pull it free with the tractor.
We tried to pull it up the planks as per tank one, but the slope was steeper and the planks started breaking. So we used tractor hydraulics to do the lifting for us. See the next photo…


I have sold 130 acres of my 135 acre farm.  My 1500 olive trees, which I planted, nurtured, pruned, fertilised, and watered through a 10 year drought are looking magnificent (we have had more normal rainfall for the last 3 years, since signing the sale contracts).  But we succumbed to the lure of the dollar, and sold.  The olives were not profitable.  Our land was too marginal.  In  an average year we get 390mm.  In the drought years we were less than 300mm, officially a desert.  The olives and the eucalypts and the peppercorns were the only trees to survive.

While olive trees are incredibly tolerant of drought, they will not produce decent olives if it is too dry.  Plus, it costs me at least $20 per litre to produce olive oil, and European olive oil is being sold here for $5-10/litre, (?? being dumped again, like in the 60’s).  So it is just not an economical proposition  to continue.  So the birds have been getting our crops for 7-8 years.  But the trees look superb.  I love them.

 So we have sold up, and I had lots of farm stuff to sell.  How to to it?  Have a clearing sale, or list it on ebay?  Clearing sale advantages are getting it over and done with in one day, 15-20% commission,  everything goes, lots to organise, local buyers only.  ebay:   list one thing at a time, Australia wide market.  Pick up only.  10% commission.

So I listed stuff on ebay, including items I considered junk.

I described them honestly.  rust and all.   lots of photos.  pick up only.

And I have to say that I am very impressed with ebay!

Most things have sold.  Some required 2-3 subsequent listings.  Most items I started with a very low price.  And I have had sales from as far away as Canberra (8 hours drive) and Ouyen (7 hours drive).  Some things went rediculously cheap, but that would happen in a clearing sale.  some things achieved quite good prices.

Sale prices have been quite OK.  Ebay’s 10% commission seems high on a $7700 item , but fine on the $10 item.  Overall acceptable.  

Main problem has been travelling to the farm to be present at all of the pickups.

So overall, if doing this again, I would happily use ebay.

ps.  I have retained my shed, including the workshop, for the time being.  Not sad at seeing equipment go, but I know that I will be devastated when the olives are bulldozed.


Today I attended this steam rally near Ballarat Victoria Australia.

The weather was cold and wet, and accompanied by my brother Peter and friend Stuart S, we drove the 2 hours from home.

I had only a vague idea about what to expect, but it was so fantastic that I will be definitely going to future events there.

To explain, Lake Goldsmith is farm land, in pretty undulating countryside.  38 acres have been set aside for steam enthusiasts, and dozens of sheds of various sizes have been put up and filled with workshops and machines.  Many of the steam engines were outside, so we were grateful for the shed displays whenever the rain set in.

There were hundreds and hundreds of steam engines, boilers, traction engines, early kerosine farm engines, vintage tractors, model engines.

There was a working timber mill, cutting huge pine slabs, powered by a superb steam engine.  See the videos.

The star of the displays, is a working 90 ton steam shovel


This grand parade deserved more than my iPhone video. The battery failed after only about 1/4 of the parade. It was amazing and inspirational, and uplifting.
Absolutely must see.
Next grand parade in Nov 2014. 1st and 2nd. I WILL BE THERE.

STEAM POWERED SAWMILL, looks bloody dangerous to me!

at Lake Goldsmith Steam rally. 6 May 2014.
This must be the best value for the steam head, mech head, metalworker. male in the world today. I even saw some female types enjoying the show.
More vidoes to follow as my incredibly slow ADSL will upload them.
Next rally Nov 1 and 2 2014

Roller for applying herbicide

The roller is 2000 x 400mm. The herbicide is pumped from the tank through a soaker hose onto the roller, and is applied to the unwanted grass via the roller. There is almost no drift of herbicide. The ATV can be driven up to 10-15kph, so it is a very time efficient method, and uses minimal chemical by the direct application.

Backhoe Grab

Another view of the grab.
I made a 2d cardboard model of the grab, with drawing pins at the joints to make sure that it would work, then drew it using CAD, then welded it up.
It works fine, and can pick up surprisingly heavy items.
It is attached to a JCB 3CX backhoe. It would benefit from a coat of paint….

Backhoe grabber

OK. so this is a photo of a gadget which I made few years ago. It is a mechanical grabber which bolts onto a backhoe arm and bucket. Seen here picking up a 5 meter I beam which must weigh 200-300 kgs.
The grabber is very useful for picking up heavy, big, prickly, dirty, rubbish and other farm stuff. Good for grabbing fence posts and pulling them out of the ground.
I wish I could say that I invented the idea, but alas….