Oldie but a Goodie
July 19, 2011, 11:04 pm
Filed under: July 2011
Allis Chalmers 66 combine

July 19, 2011

     This old machine is a grand lady. She is probably as old as I am and still working good. She has been customized with the aluminum sheets on the grain reel, but other than that she is all original. I should probably restore her one day. Nobody makes these small farm combines anymore… It is a shame for small farmers like me.
     Many small farmers are moving away from small grain harvesting. They use their oats and wheat for silage or baleage. Those big plastic covered marshmallows that line the field edges of most modern farms is the way most grain crops are handled. The cattle and other livestock relish the green crop.
     I need the small grains for feed for my draft horses. We have raised all of their feed for just over four years now. It is a big step in our farms self sufficient methods. I usually raise speltz, but have also used oats depending on field conditions and crop rotations. This grain must be threshed in order for the horses to eat it … Well, Ok, they could eat from a bundle, threshing their own grain and leaving much of the straw behind. I prefer to have the grain threshed and the straw baled. It simply works out better for me that way.
     If more like-minded farmers were close by, like in the old days, we could have a threshing ring, complete with grain binders and thrashing machines. (Thresh or thrash  depending upon where you were raised) The best thing is all the help that shows up ,when it is your turn to thrash your grain. The meals are awesome. (I have been privileged to have helped on an Amish farm a time or two) Everybody eats hearty from the hard work and the great tasting food.
     It is almost sad to think that many of the old ways are gone. Much of the experience and know-how is gone too. It won’t be long until only old books and old men will hold the key to what was once a common sight. I am talking about neighbor helping neighbor, as much as ,I am talking about grain harvesting.
     I cut and thresh my grain five feet six inches at a time. It is a slow process, but I am grateful for the yield. I do wish my dad and grandpas could see it. They would be pleased, not only that I farm, but that I choose to do it in the old way. I am profitable, sustainable and comfortable. I am slow, but I get enjoyment out of every minute.
     I am driven by a deep desire to succeed in farming. I can see that the answers are in being sustainable, going slow and mixing it up. The method that I use, like my old combine, is an ………. Oldie but a Goodie 😮

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