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Small Farming Operations: The Tools of the Trade

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When you think of farming, what images come to mind-tractors, hay elevators, wagons, animals, plows, baler, fertilizer spreader? Why of course, all of those pieces of equipment are what farmers need to do their job, right? Wrong. I am not saying that these things do not help the farmer, I am saying that not all farms need those things and not all farmers are fortunate enough to actually have those things.

On our farm, we fall in the ladder camp-our farming operation does not have, nor do we need most of those pieces of equipment. Yes, I would love to own a tractor and a hay elevator, but until funds become available, we will continue to do most things by hand. We rely on good quality hand tools like shovels and pitch forks, as well as good neighbors, and strong arms and backs as our tools of the trade.

New Shiny Red Wheelbarrow with Old Yellow Plastic Sled Behind It

This fall I upgraded my method of hauling manure from the barn. Since most of my manure management happens in the winter, I have used a yellow plastic sled. Yep, you read it correctly, a sled. You can see the sled in the picture. The sled allowed me to pull the manure with ease across our snow covered drive to the manure pile. This worked great most of the time, but some times, I just needed a wheelbarrow to help. I spent many hours looking at wheelbarrows, trying to find the one that will not injure my back while using it, and one that could handle our mountain terrain. This fall, I finally found it, and I gave myself an early Christmas gift-the Poly Tough Cart from Gardener’s Supply. I bought Christmas red, and I love it! The rugged wheels roll with ease in snow, mud, and uneven ground. With two wheels, the cart maneuvers steadily without tipping from side to side. The handle allows me to easily push or pull, and I can tip the front to dump my load. I love it!

I tell my children that one day, when I grow up, I will have a farm with a tractor and a hay elevator, but for now, I will be content with my wheelbarrow.
Read more about The Challenge of Small Farming Operations.

Hey all you farmers reading this-what is your favorite piece of equipment or what challenges do you face at your farm? 

Kai helps dump a load of manure.

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One Response

  1. thecrazysheeplady
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    I have a similar 4 wheeled wagon thingy that I’ve used as much as anything around here :-).