I have an old Bolens HT 23 tractor that I bought from a friend for $150. He claimed that it was running when I bought it, but I was skeptical, to say the least. However, it's exactly what I need: bigger than a lawn tractor but smaller than a great big farm tractor, and with big tires to climb rough terrain. It's been sitting for the last few years and it's going to be a big project to restore, so a couple of weeks ago I moved it from it's quiet resting place under a big maple tree to the side yard. I try to do that with big projects...I move them out into the open where I'll see them every day. That forces me to actually think about it instead of letting it fade into the landscape.
So I've been reading up about how to restore it to, if not glory, at least functionality. Tomorrow's my day off; I'd like to spend part of it screwing around with the tractor. The tires will hold air, and I'm thinking that instead of messing with the old rusted 23 horsepower engine that's on it, I might check into a used replacement engine.
My dream would be to get this thing running again and put it into service working on my mom's yard. It's got a PTO; I can pull a bush hog with it. Then I won't have to find someone else to clear her property, which means I won't have to work with time pressure. Also, this is the kind of project I like to do in bites: clear a few hundred feet, reassess. Clear some more, reassess. I'd feel guilty if I hired someone and then wasted his time while I walked around strategizing the next move.
So if anyone's handy with small engine repair, feel free to drop me an e-mail so I'll know who to whine to when I get hung up. Wish me luck.