The first lesson is to pick a really nice day, when it's still cool but the rain in Northern California has stopped for the year.
I don't use the three point hitch all that often, so I always forget how it goes. After I took these pictures, I put some white electrical tape on the left bottom link, near the point where it joins the tractor. I hope that will help me lay out the hitch more easily next time I use it.
The other tricky thing is that the Kubota manual doesn't show the funny metal donuts, or describe where they go. I nearly destroyed my setup by leaving them off the first time I used my three point hitch. They have to fit in their holes on the tractor, as shown in the picture below. Then the crossbar is put in place.
The "tractor by net" forum had some great advice about using a box scraper, which was to set the top link of the three point hitch to angle the scraper so that the trailing edge is lower than the leading edge. With the rippers down, the scraper will still collect material, but it won't "bite" as severely. The angle allows the trailing edge to do the work, smoothing out the material. I found this nearly foolproof. When driving the tractor just use the hydraulic control to set the level so that you're neither picking up nor depositing much gravel as you drive. You just want to keep a little gravel cycling into and out of the box.
I did several passes with the rippers down, to pull up the weeds. They seem to "float" up to the surface. Then I did another few passes with the rippers up to smooth out the gravel.
I also bought a cheap ATV "drag harrow", which is really just a piece of chain link fence. Before, I was never able to get the driveway smooth. The box scraper was just too rough an implement for me to control precisely. With the drag harrow I just drive around a bit and it takes out all the ridges left by the box scraper. The harrow also has a nice effect of rolling many of the weeds into little hay bales.
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