From the Fields: Shop Talk
This post written by our resident Farm Steward – Emily Thomson
As winter settles in, field maintenance comes nearly to a halt. Tractors, implements and other equipment now begin to queue up outside the mechanical shop for their yearly once-over; it will be quite a feat for our mechanics to get all of the tune-ups and repairs done in time for the new season. We joke that owner Andrew Stout never met a tractor he didn’t like, but seriously, we are proud to keep old and even antique equipment working. We have quite a fleet, and are fortunate to have the expertise of brothers Shaun and Pete Robinson who have been working on these old classics for years. Mike Burke, our newest mechanic, is by now pretty well up to speed on our sometimes-cantankerous machines.
The Allis Chalmers Model G’s are the little workhorses of our operation. Manufactured from 1948 to 1955, and looking something like toy race-cars (although they move between 2 and 6 miles per hour), they feature a rear-mounted engine and a series of implements which are mounted on the belly. This arrangement provides traction for the rear wheels while allowing the operator to keep an eye on the cultivation taking place below and ahead. We’ve got six G’s in working order and the parts for three more, which we’ll need this year.
The International Farmall Super A and Super C also date from the same period, while the Ford tractors were built more recently. A large collection of plows, disks, spaders, planters and other pieces complete the ensemble, and within a stone’s throw of the shop lies a bone-yard full of spare parts. We do have some new pieces, though, including our super-sexy Italian hooper, and the big McCormick tractor which is only ten years old. Still, if you average the dates of manufacture of all of our equipment, you might say we’re almost in the 1960’s!