I finally took the plunge and bought a used tractor of my own. I grew up around a few Farmalls and a MF 165 and then in '90 my father bought a new Ford 5610 4x4 with cab and FEL. There was also a TEA20 around for a bit that I tinkered with but never really used except for a few rides.
I still share the 5610 with my brother since Dad passed however wanted a second tractor of my own that would be handy and always available to me. Since bush hogging is a primary use I new that I wanted live pto and I prefer a diesel. Kept trying to decide between a smaller 3 cylinder tractor like a MF 135, etc or a larger 60-80 hp tractor. Looking is at least half of the fun and money is always a factor so I wasn't in a rush.
Last fall I ran across an ad on kijiji about one hour from me for an old IH 454 diesel. Asking price was $1500 which is very low for this area. Called the seller and then drove up with my daughter the next morning. Tractor was complete but with that "been outside for 40 years" look. A bit rough around the edges but no signs of serious farm yard welding, etc! Temp was about freezing and tractor wasn't plugged in. Tractor started right up and ran well. I was hooked. When warmed up I took it for a brief drive to confirm it shifted well, brakes worked (except parking brake, no surprise there) and engine seemed to pull well on a small grade. After a few moments of discussion, $1200 cash was exchanged for a receipt and I drove off to a local shop that I was familiar with and where is could stay until I got it transported home.
Over the winter, it received new gauges, front tires, alternator, some wiring repairs, circulating heater, new seat, and a few other goodies. It still has that weathered look but I intend to put it to work running a bush hog this summer and I hope to plough a few acres this year to prepare a future food plot. The little tractor seems to work well and they have a reputation as a tough little tractor. So far it seems to be a heck of a lot of tractor for the money and easy on the pocket to operate. I hoping that after getting some use this year and continuing to pick away at a few things, that next year it can get a strip, clean and paint. It might just be a cheap old farm tractor however I'm starting to grow attached and think it deserves some new red paint.
Now just recently I saw a decent old IH 684... I;m beginning to think that my 454 needs a bigger brother!