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Wish List
30 August 2010

My birthday is coming up soon.  Occasionally I am asked what I would like for a birthday present so this year I decided I would make a list.  If you're feeling generous, go ahead and pick something from this list.  It doesn't matter if you miss my actual birthday, it's close enough that I will still be grateful.

Tractor

Tractor This has been on my wish list for quite some time.  We all know the headaches with my Chinese tractor but I won't discuss that here.  Now it's the smaller mower that needs to be replaced.

My little John Deere mower is the largest riding mower they make, it's just not quite large enough for a Kona coffee farm.  It has put in many years of valiant service and now, after an unhappy tour on another farm, it is time for retirement.  The diesel engine still runs great, excellent even, it's mostly the mower deck that needs replacement.  I've been putting off a new purchase as long as possible but now it is time to admit that I need something with more power.

After much careful shopping, I've decided that I want the John Deere 2520.  It's still only 26 horsepower which is quite small for a farm tractor.  If I was on any other farm I'd get something larger.  For this farm, where I keep things well trimmed and groomed, 26 horses should be just enough.

Of course the tractor is no use without a mower.  I could get a rear mount deck which is sturdier.  Instead I think I'll stick with a mid-mount deck which should be sturdy enough and has the advantage of being easier to make tight turns with.

The mower is about $16,000 and the deck is another $3300.  Taxes and whatever fees the dealership tacks on will bring the total to about $20,000.  John Deere offers 3% financing on a 5 year loan.  That's a monthly payment of $300 something dollars.  Even a poor Kona coffee farmer should be able to afford that.

If you're going to get me a new tractor for my birthday, please hurry.  I don't know how much longer the little mower is going to make it and the grass is already due for another haircut.

Roof

A new roof used to be item number one on the list.  It got bumped to number two after the mower got bumped by some big, ugly rocks.  So for now we will continue to use buckets to collect rainwater in our dining room.  It's really not so bad.

The roof is currently leaking from only one place.  I've tried sealing the leak but the roof is too far gone for an easy fix.  It's a metal roof, which is good for catchment water.  The problem is that the roof is so rusty that we have an inch or so of rust in all our gutters and more rust in the bottom of our water tank.  I would prefer to not have rust in our drinking water.

I priced a new roof at $7724.18.  With the cost of labor, the total price will probably exceed $10,000.  At that price, I can't afford a new roof just yet.  Instead, I did the redneck solution and used a plastic tarp.  It's not one of those giant blue tarps like a real redneck would use.  It's some leftover clear plastic from the greenhouse.  Regular plastic would quickly deteriorate in the sun but this greenhouse plastic might last for years.

I simply wrapped the plastic around some 2x4's and laid them on either side of the leaky skylight.  So far the plastic stops the leak in all but the worse downpours.  Here in the tropics we get plenty of downpours.  When we do, we simply pull out the buckets again.  It's really not so bad.

Roof

Farm Truck

My old Dodge is starting to show its age.  It's still a decent truck, it's just not young any more.  The truck's PCM computer has been bad for several years now which means the check engine light is constantly on.  The computer is easy to replace except that a new computer costs $1000.  That seems ridiculous when I can get an actual computer for less money.  Maybe Dodge should talk to Intel about how cheap computers are nowadays.

My truck also has an exhaust leak.  It's just a small leak in the exhaust manifold gasket.  The leak is slowly getting larger.  If the leak was on the left side I could have detached the manifold just enough to slide a new gasket on.  Unfortunately the leak is on the right side which requires the disassembly of nearly the entire engine in order to reach the exhaust manifold.  That's a job that would easily cost $1000 in labor alone.  I could probably do it myself but I'm slow and I can't go that long without a truck.  So I've been driving the truck with the check engine light on just like millions of other people do.

There are a handful of other problems with my truck.  None of the problems are critical but they all add up to "time for a new truck."  If it was a secondary vehicle I wouldn't worry about it.  As my primary work vehicle, I need something reliable.  Especially since none of my other farm vehicles seem to work.

I haven't priced new trucks yet.  I don't want anything fancy.  I certainly don't need a giant 350 diesel or anything like that.  I do however want four doors and at least a 5 foot bed.  A 5 liter engine would be nice, 4 liters is a little too underpowered for all the towing and hauling I do.

Fencing

In addition to coffee, we have approximately five acres of macadamia nuts.  For the past several years, the Hawaii macadamia nut prices have been so low that it has not been worth the effort to harvest the nuts.  Now I may have found a buyer.

The problem is, our neighbor removed our fence.  It wasn't a very good fence but it would still have been nice if we had been asked first.  Especially since the replacement fence has never been completed and looks like it won't be.  The part that was replaced was just barbed wire which is not what we want anyways.

The new fence needs to be hog wire so it keeps the wild pigs out.  Without an adequate fence, the pigs get in and eat the entire macadamia nut crop.  When I couldn't sell the macadamia nuts anyways I'd rather have the pigs.  Now I'd rather have the macadamia nuts.

We'd also like to put in some cross fencing.  That would allow us to have some livestock which will make maintenance of the orchard much easier.  Without cross fencing we'll have to broadcast spray the entire area which means that eventually we will lose all our dirt to erosion.  So a good fence is worth the expense.

For the cost of materials and some labor (it's too much work for me to do it all alone), I'm estimating about $5000.  That's just approximate, I haven't priced it exactly yet.

Gator

Gator I've wanted one of these little utility vehicles for years.  It doesn't have to be this exact make or model, just something like this.  An ATV would work but a utility vehicle like this would be much better.  I know that once I get one, I won't know how I managed without it.  Their uses on a farm are endless.

As much as I'd love one of the powerful 4x4 models I think the little $5000 model would be enough.  Some brands other than John Deere might be better.  Even the smallest one sure would save some wear and tear on my old truck.  It sure would beat walking too.

Master Bathroom

This isn't really a requirement but it's not exactly a luxury either.  We currently only have one working shower in the house.  I find myself waiting in line more and more often now that the girls are getting older.  Having a working shower in the master bathroom would be awesome.  It has never had a shower, only a bathtub, and now that needs to be replaced too.

I figure I could redo the master bathroom with only a minor remodel.  I'm estimating about $5000.  Of course it could be more if we got fancy with the fixtures and stuff but I think we can avoid that.  After all, it's a farm house not a palace.


That's it.  At least for now.  I may think of more stuff later but for my birthday, any of the above items would be great.  You're on your own figuring out shipping to Hawaii.




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