The Inner Temple
Every right-run farm should own
A place where men can be alone
A toolshed will do well as such,
Women would not go there much
To pry into the mysteries
Of plows and harrows. On his knees
A man can get down there and savor,
As all men need to do, the flavor
Of being an ancient race
Of animals and know his place
Is properly on pungent clay.
And something holy in its way
Will rise out of the earth beneath him
And in a fresh, strange garment sheathe him.
So when he will go indoors,
His wife will look up from her chores
And wonder at him seeming new
As when their courtship was not through.
By Robert P Tristram Coffin, 1935
We bought this Allis Chalmers G last week. For months now, we have been pondering, researching, and shopping for equipment to manage some of the extensive handwork we have been doing to date on the farm. As we grow our operation, we start to reach a point where our number of cultivated acres exceeds are ability to successfully and sanely complete all the tasks needed with human machines alone. As obvious as it may sound, organic farming precludes the use of herbicides to curb the growth of weeds. This leaves us with 2 main options, mulching and cultivating or weeding. For our farm, most of the weeding has been accomplished with stirrup hoes and wheel hoes. Before the development of widespread herbicide use, tractor manufacturers were producing tractors for farms of our scale. Once the agricultural industry saw the adoption of these chemicals, the need for these tractors, along with the presence of farms of our scale disappeared. That would have been in the late 70's-early 80's. What this means for the small cultivating tractor shoppers of the world is that we are looking at some old rigs. John is marrying himself to the idea that he will be part mechanic/part carpenter/part farmer/part engineer now that we are evolving our business to the next level.
On Wednesday, we welcomed our newest addition, the "G", to the farm. The plan that is in the works is a conversion of the G from gas to electric. John has ordered an electric conversion kit and the engine will be powered by batteries that we will recharge in the barn between uses. This sweet, little rig is designed with the engine in the rear so that you can look between your feet to see the crops you are trying to cultivate. By mounting steel implements under the belly of the tractor, we will be able to achieve the results of hand weeding at higher speeds, with less labor.
Now, my sweet man will set to work restoring our new little pet for use this summer. We are optimistic....me especially since I get to feign engine ignorance....despite all that time I spent repairing my 1971 Volkswagen Bus back in college...my recollection is that it needed to be repaired more often than it ran. She's parked in the barn if anyone feels compelled to come by and give the 'G' a little pat or offer a word of encouragement!
In addition to the G, we also welcomed 3 sets of twin lambs....yup, that's 6 new lambs! They are all healthy and happy and nursing like champs. Please feel free to come by and say hello to them anytime.
Blessings on the meal,
Stacy and John