What the heck is this tool?

When we think of farm tools, we think of the iconic farm tractor, right? 

 We LOVE our tractor!

 We also love a less common, but very important tool on our farm--

 Our walking tractor.
BCS Walking Tractor With Power Harrow
The Power Harrow isn't a roto-tiller; it's a minimal tillage tool that doesn't invert soil. 

 These things have a pretty cool story…

 Commonly mistaken for a rototiller, the walking tractor is a REAL tractor complete with 16 HP motor and a PTO (that’s farmer jargon for ‘power take off’ and basically means it’s the spot where you attach farm implements to a tractor).

 It’s a marvelous tool that can do so many things. It can even run forwards or backwards - we push our flail mower, while we pull the power harrow. …and I’m particularly fond of the story of our walking tractor.

Walking Tractor with Flail Mower.  The Flail Mower can take down a harvested bed of arugula to a stand of sweet corn...and everything in between; returning the organic matter of the plants to the earth!

 Our first year farming we didn’t have a tractor or a walking tractor. We pretty much just had a spade and a rake...but that’s a whole other story for another time …

 We bought our BCS our second year farming. Jay’s grandmother had passed away and the exact amount of money we inherited totalled up to a BCS tractor with the three ‘minimal tillage’ implements we wanted.

 It was at the top of our ‘farm wish list’ but we had no idea how we could afford it. Jay’s paternal grandparents, Bayliss and Rausie Cummings, would have liked this tool. They were salt-of-the-earth folks who loved to grow the kinds of things that grow well in Montana - things like rhubarb - in their backyard in town.

 Bayliss grew up around his father’s Standard Oil service station, and after serving in WWII, briefly started a hardware store here in town before embarking on a lifetime career as a math and then computer teacher. When Grandma Rausie moved out of their house on Colorado Street, there were many tools and even some paint left from that hardware store in the basement, right next to canned plums from the ‘80s. A true child of the Depression, a favorite saying of Bayliss’ perfectly captures how we do things on the farm:

“use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

 He was a terrific mechanic, and especially loved to build useful things from old washing machine motors. When Jay’s tuning up the BCS in the spring, we say a small prayer of thanks to these special people who made an important part of our farm possible.

The one thing the flail mower cannot mow.... wire!

 And we’re happy to share the story of this special tool with you!

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Despite the extreme cold we are still this weekend (yes, it seems it REALLY did get down to 18 last night!) we are still starting our 20 week Veggie Box the week of May 13th.
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The first Kalispell Farmer's Market is THIS SATURDAY May 4th 9-12:30.
We will post what we will be bringing to market on instagram/facecook on Friday afternoon. This will be our lightest harvest we have ever brought to market; what a crazy spring we have had. Excited to turn the calendar to May and to see some of you at market this weekend!