by Kris Woolhouse of Ruby and Amber’s Farm, Dorena, OR
I recently met Ann Siri, a metal fabricator from Philo, California. She and her partner have been in the fabricating business for decades. (www.siriholmberg.com) They have a ranch and working draft horses as well.
Ann brought her “All-in-One” single horse implement to our farm. The horse drawn implement is a basic frame with two front wheels, handles and receivers for the different implements such as hilling disks, cultivators, and bed marker. Ann designed handlebars that can be raised, lowered and offset with simple sturdy pins and levers. The wheels can be adjusted in both the horizontal and vertical planes. Both horse and driver can be offset to avoid walking on the cultivated beds. Ann put thought into the weight, balance and ease of use for this implement. What a delight to be able to pick up a cultivator and place it in the receiver easily without hurting your body! Some of us small farmers are truly small — less than 130 lbs and oft times heavy equipment limits our ability to work or we risk injury. We were impressed by the craftsmanship and attention to details of the “All-in-One”
Our farm is a small 2 1/2-person market operation in the western, rainy part of Oregon. Out of necessity we have erected 11 (150′ x 20′) hoop houses, which allows us to cultivate and grow during the rainy season (half the year). We work both a team and single horse in the hoop houses but the single horse is easier to turn around and get close to the perimeter of the houses. Our favorite single horse tillage tools are the Groffdale tandem discs, small spring tooth and chain harrows and a small 8” plow. We trialed the “All-in-One” in the houses. The walk behind cultivator worked quite well, was easy to attach, and tracked so well one barely had to touch the handlebars. I also liked the bed marker (ripper) and the hilling disks. We hope to work with Ann and her fabrication prowess to perfect this “All-in-One” for multiple tillage functions.
I sense a growing interest in the smaller single horse farming operation. There are not a lot of single horse tillage tools made here on the west coast. With the way the world is rapidly changing (social, climate, economy) more folks are gardening and farming on the ultra small, intensive scale. We need innovators like Ann Siri for our region. I hope folks will seek her out and check out her thoughtfully crafted tillage equipment.