Thanks everyone for your thoughtful replies. I promise I'm not planning to buy a tractor just because it's red, but among the tractors that meet my needs and are in my budget, red ones go to the front of the line. Plus in my price range red generally equals Massey Ferguson or Case IH or International, and those are some pretty good tractors.
I'm on hold right now probably until after the first of the year, but when I buy I'll report here. In the meantime, any experiences with tractors, rotary cutters, loaders, hydraulics in general, post-hole diggers, are very helpful to me.
start watching your local newspaper and "Penny Saver" type rags for farm auctions and farm estate auctions. One of our local banks also keeps a table in their foyer with stacks of flyers for upcoming auctions.
We bought our 1969 Ford 3000 (diesel, 2WD) at an estate auction, in 2003. We are second owners on that tractor. It was kept in a machine shed all its life and in excellent condition. While 4-WD would have been nice, we don't really need it with that old girl. My husband fixes 98% of what goes wrong. We did have to haul her to a tractor guy to put re-man hydraulic pump on and that wasn't cheap but it was still worth the investment.
The tractor continues to reside inside and is still worth as much or more than we paid for it 13 years ago.
As far as post hole diggers --- we have 23+ acres that was already perimeter fenced but we did a lot of cross-fencing and putting farm gates in. It was cheaper for us to rent an auger as opposed to buy one.
What size bush hog you buy depends on the size and horsepower of the tractor you end up with. Our Ford 3000 can safely handle a six foot bush hog. Which, that is all "Old Bess" does -- bushog.
We also have a 2005 John Deere 4110, 4WD with a belly (finish) mower and a FEL. It gets used all the time but is way too small to bushog this entire property, especially given the terrain.
As far as a roll bar -- both our tractors came with them from the factory. Not having them weren't deal breakers by any means. My goal was to buy two tractors that were well maintenanced, would get the job done, and were swinging deals, lol