Farm life for me is a lot of work, but it’s fun work! Well, most of the time. LOL.
This time of year, fall, involves getting many things done outside before it’s too cold to do them here in Wisconsin. I finished up with my firewood pile, started pulling out the garden plants, had the pigs butchered, now it’s time to blaze some trails. Yep, every fall I make some trails across my acreage for hiking and cross country skiing. My land is rented out to the government in a program called CRP, Conservation Reserve Program. The government planted wild flowers and wild grasses as a sort of prairie restoration. According to them, this gives the land a bit of a rest, allowing it to build up minerals and nutrients, and acts a refuge for wildlife. I see deer, turkeys, coyotes, pheasants, hawks and cranes all the time, I guess something the government does actually will work sometimes! LOL.
As part of the CRP arrangement, I’m permitted to cut a trail for my personal use. It’s not easy to cut through wild grasses that are 8-10 foot tall. But leave it to me, the “Down-to-Earth” doctor, to get it done simply, economically, uniquely and in a fun way. For example, I use a mower that is 87 years old! LOL. And I love the thing. It’s a horse drawn McCormick Deering sickle mower.
Sickle mowers were popular around the turn of the century and used to cut grain and hay. It has a 6 foot long reciprocating cutting blade that slides along the ground essentially scissoring the grass off, leaving a perfect trail for my needs.
The way I found this gem of a machine was kind of funny. Since my gas powered riding lawnmower would never handle this “jack-and-the-bean-stalk” size wild prairie grass, I drove over to the local used farm implement dealer expecting to buy a big tractor for the job. I told the salesman there of my needs and I saw big dollar signs in his eyes.
“Well, I’m going to sell you this tractor for $3700.00 and this mower attachment for $1200.00,” he said gleefully with a big smile.
Just then I spotted this old sickle mower off to the side nearly covered in grape vines.” How much is that old thing?” I interrupted.
“Oh that’s over 80 years old and to be used as a lawn ornament. It’s $60.00,” he said as he attempted to wave it off and pull me towards his office.
“Well does it work?”
“It was brought here decades a go as a trade in, but it likely still works because those things are made tough, to be pulled by a horse. Now step over here and I’ll draw up the papers for your tractor and…..”
“Forget the tractor” I declared, “I’ll take the old sickle mower!”
The look on his face was like that of a child whose puppy had just been taken away. I’ve been using it successfully year after year. I pull it with my small skid loader.
I love it’s simplicity, “tank” like solidness, and that it does not burn any fuel itself. I often wonder what stories it would tell of the farmer that originally used it and the long gone horses that pulled it.
I bet it would also say “I’m made tough and I’ll keep going strong if you give me good maintenance!” Oh boy, I feel a blog post coming on about prevention of health problems. LOL.
What would you tell younger people about your health maintenance?
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