Since being introduced to the straddle row cultivator last year in hilling our potatoes, I have been excited to experiment with different tools mounted under the versatile machine. Like the famed Allis Chalmers G or Farmall Cub my peers of the internal combustion persuasion utilize on their vegetable farms, this tool can help maximize efficiency in many ways on the small farm.
This year, I set out to make a new implement. Drawing from my experiences on a tractor-powered farm in California and some advice from Teague and Kosma, mule-powered farmers in Twisp, WA, and Jason Salvo, a tractor-powered farmer in Duvall, WA, I decided to build a horsepowered root digger, known to some as a bed lifter. I hoped that not only would it provide us with another job to use the horses in which we had been previously using hand tools, but it would make these digging jobs faster and more efficient.
Over the Independence Day weekend Marvin and Pam Brisk, of Oak Tree Ranch, Halfway, Oregon, hosted a gathering of animal traction professionals and enthusiasts to explore the process of putting up loose hay. While putting up loose hay may be viewed as somewhat anachronistic, even by draft animal enthusiasts, we came seeking knowledge of how haying this way could fit into our lives. And of course, to have fun! Mowing, raking, use of a hay loader, and loading hay into the barn with a trolley system were all demonstrated and many tried out the various facets of the process. With the use of Marvin and Pam’s well maintained machinery and seasoned horses, this little ranch in Halfway served as an inspiration to all who cared to marvel at the elegant simplicity of a job well done using appropriate technology and a bit of help from their friends.