We have two farm vehicles that put in the hard work for us here at Oregon Country Farm. Lately I’ve been jumpin on the ol’ Massey-Ferguson diesel tractor, our big rig next to the almost toy-like Kubota. I’ve already had a hand in fixing up the rake attachment, which allows us to gather orchard trimmings into big piles down each row. The piles of brush are numerous, massive, and dense, which should make for a memorable burn day. Rod always refers the the ‘ass-end’ of the tractor, and about keeping the orchard floor ‘tabletop clean’, phrases that always get us smiling.
Massey-Ferguson is a make I’d heard of from reading a book by Richard Rhodes titled Farm: A Year in the Life of an American Farmer. A continuing theme in the narrative involves the farmer’s dominion over his fields through the use of machinery, operating it with surgical precision, understanding its mechanics, and taking great pride in its diligent upkeep. The featured corn and soybean farmer, Tom Bauer, operates a Massey-Ferguson combine, a big metal beast in trademark red. Ours is a far cry from Farmer Bauer’s shiny waxed and oiled rig that stays fresh in a shed for winter, but she’s got her own sort of weathered-Oregon charm.
While using stinky gassy and clumsy machines does definitely have its downsides, I manage to have fun controlling all the levers and scooting around the land, getting big jobs done quick. There’s nothing quite like raking a row clean and staring back down its length, trees primmed and floor swept.