Sunday, August 10, 2014
Farm Bulletin: For the Love of Allis Chalmers
Contributor Anthony Boutard, farmer, author and sought-after pundit on ag panels, is a die-hard romantic when it comes to farm equipment. He dotes on his pumps, breathes life back into abandoned forklifts and babies his prized Italian thresher through frikeh season. His latest project is a collection of metal parts (above) that he hopes to reanimate into a working harvester. (The rainbow bodes well, don't you think?)
We have been caught in the riptide of the season where the harvest of the Chesters continues apace and we are sowing our winter crops. Hence less prolix than usual. The seedling chicories, including our first re-selection of the late Treviso type, are emerging. Barely visible, they show up as a thin green line when viewed down the row rather than as individuals. To make up for last year's disaster, we have doubled the planting, such is the thing of a farmer.
Into this mix, we are restoring a 1941 Allis Chalmers All Crop 60. We dragged it home ten years ago and we have tackled the project bit by bit, with progress measured in its disassembly. Our son-in-law and his kid are visiting in late August, and the goal is to have it up and running by then. Otherwise we won't have chickpeas and barley this year. Every restorer's nightmare, nurtured by the hapless coyote in Roadrunner cartoons, is that a single bolt is forgotten and, upon starting, the machine collapses into a pile of rubble. If it is oddly missing during the Ramble*, that is what happened.
* This year's Ayers Creek Farm Ramble is scheduled for Oct. 12. Details to come.