If you think this is a bizarre question, you haven't heard some of mine [img]/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]

I think your plan is possible, but as others have said you'll be spending a lot of time with wrenches in hand. Around here backhoes in decent condition probably start at $15,000. I'm a regular at the Ritchie Bros. Auction and last week backhoes ranged from $12,000-$46,000 and the one's at the low end needed some TLC. I think whoever mentioned renting one when you need it is a good idea. Around here I can rent a Cat 416C for around $235 a day plus delivery and it gets cheaper the longer I rent it.

If you decide to go the purchase route, make sure you have a competent mechanic check things out before you buy. I swear there's got to be a million things to check out before you know what you're buying. Used iron can be a huge black hole if you're not careful [img]/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]