my advice is to hire the ditch work and pond digging to a guy with a dozer or excavator. they will be in and out by lunch.
buy a small tractor to do the regular work.
otherwise you will be buying a small tractor with a loader and a hoe.. hoe can add 2-4k$ to tractor price.. and loader 500-1500$ to price. even if you start with a cheap old tractor for 2000$ that puts you at 6-7K or more for a TLB.
get you an old ford and perhaps a loader on it. that should run you about 3000$ depending on your market. use the other money to hire the excavator.. you will have change left over.. use that to buy a few toys. if you get lucky.. the tractor will come with goodies.
1-of work is almost always better to hire out.
I dont have any experience with the small tractors but many BX Kubota owners and other SCUT owners of other brands do lots of work with them. They can run a small PTO powered tiller for you gardens, pick up 500# loads of dirt for landscaping, disk, cultivate young crops only due to the low ground clearance and mow with the MM belly mowers as well as any lawnmower. Since you have a good mower, you may want to look for just the tractor with a FEL. Try Tractorhouse.com for pricing and availability in your area. It has a good search feature to find equipment and tractors by state, 4WD or 2 WD etc Take a look at the offering and make a few calls on what might look good to you. 18-22HP SCUT is about as large as you would need.
After reading all the suggestions, the bottom line seems to be:
"Hire or rent big equipment for pulling tree roots, digging a pond, and digging/backfilling drainage ditches, then buy a SCUT and the necessary implements for ongoing maintenance and farm operations."
Got it, thanks guys.
Your welcome. Glad we could help.