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Well. I am finally beginning that garage build I've discussed and planned for some time. Linda really wants my shop, tractor, equipment, & parts collection out of the basement. So, with her blessing, I began the process October 2016. I have been intentionally slow to allow myself analysis time to decide what exactly I want and, to allow some adjustment in Linda's expectations (looks, colors, landscape, etc).
October 10, 2016 my friend and contractor Mike Schneiders brought his track loader in to clear and level our an area for a garage behind our house.
Topography here is rough w/steep grades so it was critical to excavate in the location chosen to get the area I wanted (initially 30x30). When finished Mke announced "it looks like you'll be building a 24x40 unless you want a deeper cut. 24x40 it will be. Above is the finished cut viewed from our deck. A neighbor & I groomed, sedrd & mulched quickly to get a grass stand to hold the soil.
This shot is of a diversion ditch I cleaned out that runs along the hill just above the the garage site. Lots of rain water runs off the hill especially in springtime and it'll be helpful to divert from the garage area.
A tree beside our house was removed to make room for a drive.
A shot from the site towards our deck and screened-in porch from where I'll take several pictures. Removing part of the tree w/my newly acquired Sovereign 3012 Hydrolift and Agri-Fab Utility 10 Carry-all.
AugustSeptember 13, 2017 my concrete contractor, Greg Rackers and his crew (Greystone Concrete) dig and pour foundation.
And the foundation pour complete.
I've been wanting a way to move dirt with my tractors since I got them. Building a loader isn't in the cards...yet. Simplicity however made a grader blade for their tractors that by all accounts works pretty well. I've been meaning to build something for a while anyway and since grader blades are pretty spendy for what they are (300 bucks or so), I decided to build my own!
I had an old plow blade laying around the garage that I decided to cut in half for the grader blade.
I also wanted to add some ripping capability with this thing, so I bought a swisher scarifier from Wal-mart for about 80 bucks.
Here is the frame I built...
And the plow mount...
There are three positions the grader blade can be in, centered, Right and left.
Here it is with the teeth on one side.
And finally, all together, and ready to mount to a tractor.
I used it on a test run over memorial day weekend. I had a nasty patch of my backyard left over from my barn construction project that was starting to be taken over by weeds. I tilled it in, then used the grader blade to level the ground back out. It worked BEAUTIFULLY...
I will get it painted some day...
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I've enjoyed taking some time off and working on the honey-do list and springtime chores, though both are never-ending. But, I thought it time to provide an update, since it is rainy, and I'm procrastinating going to the garage to work. In addition to updating the software with new releases, and monitoring my email for "I can't log in" types of things, I have added a few more things to the site:
1. In addition to the Leaderboard that came with a recent release of the core software, I've implemented a Top Contributors function. It shows the people who've posted the most content in specific areas, by week, month, year, etc. There's been discussions in the Executive Committee about possibly setting up a competition (similar to Tractor of the Month) to reward the top contributors. I also have a programmer looking at taking this module even farther in what it tracks and counts, should we decide to implement a competition.
2. Due to feedback on the member list that I was using, I had a custom one developed and implemented. There's still some issues with missing data, but the function seems to be working well, and the plug-in that catches missing mandatory info seems to be working;
Here's a topic describing it: https://simpletractors.com/forums/topic/56722-new-member-list/
Here's a direct link to it, underneath the Membership menu: https://simpletractors.com/mlist/
Note that the amount of information displayed depends upon your access level. Dues-paying members can see more information.
3. Also based upon requests, I implemented a Member Map that allows you to place a pin on a map identifying the city and state where you live. (Smart phones will give you the option of using your Location from the phone.) This could really be helpful in finding people locally who share a similar interest in these old machines. Like most things here, its usefulness depends on the amount of use by others -- and use is optional, since some people are reluctant to share too much information on the web.
Here's a topic describing it: https://simpletractors.com/forums/topic/56732-member-map-added/
Here's a direct link to it, also underneath the Membership menu: https://simpletractors.com/membermap/
Note that if there are multiple members in close proximity, it displays them in a round "cluster" with the number of pins within it shown. For example, the pic above shows 3 members located near Indianpolis IN. If you click on that round icon, it will zoom in and show the three individual pins on the map.
Then, if you click on any one of the pins, it will show the info on that member. Here's mine, for example:
Hopefully you can see the value of this, in trying to connect with others in the local area. Now, if only we can encourage more people to add themselves to the map.
4 Continuing on that same subject of connecting with other enthusiasts locally, I want to give a sneak preview of a core capability coming in the next major release of the software, due out sometime mid-late 2017. The new core IPS software will have the capability to create sub-groups and corresponding functions for "Clubs". Since this entire site is already dedicated to a specific club, this new capability will allow us to then create and support "chapters" within the club, and support those chapters with their own functions unique to them. Implementing chapters is totally up to us -- should we choose to do so -- but the core capability will be there. Since this club has always been about encouraging face-to-face meetings with others, there has been discussion of creating chapters since the club was initially formed. This next release of the software will fully support that -- should we choose to do so....
Here's a look at their default view of clubs (i.e. chapters) from their development/testing server:
As shown, each "chapter" could have its own banner for that area. It would also show a list of the subset of members that are in that chapter, and each chapter would have "leaders" that can act as moderators for this subgroup. (Anyone identified as admin or moderator for the entire site would still have their same access levels/capabilities within these subgroups.):
We can set this up to control access to these sub-areas or chapters. See the settings at the top of the list below. We can also set it up so these chapters can have their own content areas/capabilities from the list at the bottom -- each could have its own forum, gallery, downloads, blogs and calendars to handle their local activities. If these are set up as either open or public, all club members can see them.
Here's a glimpse of what those chapter sub-areas could look like:
I'm showing all this to prompt your thinking about the possible creation of club chapters, and to hear your thoughts...
5. Continuing with the sneak previews, the next major release of the software will also include many more small enhancements -- I'm not sure what all yet, since they are slowly providing previews. For example, instead of just the Like button, there will be other Reactions that can be provided for a piece of content, such as a topic or reply
Meanwhile, I need to get back to working on cleaning up the rest of the old Simple trACtors content and republishing it. I just wanted to provide an update on some of the recent changes and a preview of what's coming.
Let me know what you think of creating club chapters, please!
Gidday, this is me testing (myself) to see if I can create a blog!
My tractor came from a massive but neglected collection covering about 20 acres, of all sorts of farm equipment. The Simplicity looked very sorry but seems pretty well complete, except for parts of the engine - a Briggs 23D-FB. I will return to the property now I know what I am missing. I will be looking for a complete air cleaner, the starter motor and voltage regulator and the wiring. I need to find out exactly where the battery fits, and to buy the correct size battery.
I am in the process of dismantling everything, to clean up and to get sandblasted, in readiness for painting. Still to dismantle are: - steering wheel from steering column, grub screw proving difficult to loosen, may need to heat carefully without damaging the hand grips, - lift lever and shaft, will need heat to get apart, - transmission group, not anxious to touch yet, - differential, not anxious to touch yet, - bevel gear assembly, not anxious to touch yet. These latter parts will be considered after seeing how easily they turn etc, without too much slop.
Hood needs piece welded in where previous owner cut a hole for fuel tank lid. Need to find grill and grill side bars. Need to find decals/ornaments. Need cover for front PTO shaft.
Need a complete seat cushion.
Need to replace front wheel bearings etc.
Hello All, just a little announcement here for those of you who don't know that I have a YouTube channel covering Simplicity Garden Tractors be sure to check it out at:
Thanks for all the support! Have a great Day!
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I will be looking forward to your progress!!
Thanks Ken in Mi1 person likes this
Carl - adding an 8' porch to it and an attic. I know, still won't be big enough.
Ken - I messed up, should be Sept 13 so will edit that now. My luck, higher prices..
Hello, That was a month ago ,is it done yet?? I was recently talking with a neighbor who was pricing material and found the price quoted him had been raised ,because of the great demand for building materials in texas & florida , due to hurricanes Keep up the good work..
Thanks Ken in Mi
A lot different than what I saw in July. You did follow my advice (partially, at least). 24 x 40 is larger than 30 x 30. Still won't be big enough though.1 person likes this
Even "close" as mine is, the variable is handy near obstacles so you don't have to slow engine down. Is not exact, but I imagine if it did not have a lot of the wear that these old units do, it was a step in the right direction before hydro's were produced in larger numbers.