|Farmer Jeremy with Little John|
We know that many young members and visitors at the farm have a particular interest in our tractors, and that perhaps many grown-ups do as well. So we thought you would like to be introduced to Little John, our new John Deere 6200 tractor. Yes, we do name our tractors, and even some of the trucks. Maybe we name them because the engines of these great machines are something akin to a heart, and maybe it is because these mechanical beasts require a fair amount of TLC to keep them running well.
Little John will be replacing Klementine, the big orange Kubota 5640 we’ve had for the last 2 ½ years. Now, Klementine is a good tractor and we know some children will miss her. She’ll make a great tractor for another farm, but we’ve realized that the Kubota doesn’t work for the row spacing we typically use in our planting beds.
The John Deere tractor is something of an American icon. Ask a kid to draw a tractor, and most would reach for the green and yellow crayons. Part of that is smart marketing, and part is that John Deere tractors are well-built machines. Our beloved tractor mentor, the late Arnie Voehringer of White Oak Farm & Farm Shop, was passionate about the classic two-cylinder John Deere tractors manufactured prior to 1960. With skill and care, these older tractors kept working, and their distinct putt-putt-putt-putt earned them the nickname “Johnny Poppers.” Our first tractor was a John Deere 1010 from 1961, one of the first of the 4-cylinder models. It is an integral part of our current tractor team; this year, we refitted its spacers for our 6-foot planting bed system.
Little John is a circa 1993 model, ridiculously old for a car, but in its prime for a tractor (also, unlike cars, tractors log hours of use rather than miles). We love that it is designed to handle our 6-foot row-spacing, has a bucket, can drive super-slow, and can handle heavy implements. Little John will be called on for many general farm tasks include plowing and transplanting. The super-slow creeper gear is especially helpful when transplanting.
The giant round red and yellow thing attached to the back right now is a bale shredder, which we’re using to chop up round hay bales and lay down a nice layer of mulch in many of our plantings. Paul and Amy from Sidehill Farm (the yogurt people) loaned us this great implement in exchange for some of our sausage (at the rate of one-half-pound of sausage per round bale shredded)! Check out the mulch in the you-pick flower beds. This machine saved us much time and back-ache from hand-spreading mulch, and will help us keep weeds under control.
Little John joins our tractor fleet, which also includes the John Deere 1010, Deutz 6206 (who even has a song, composed by Annie from our 2011 crew!), Farmall Cub, and Farmall 140, as well as the Kubota, which we are keeping for our spring planting rush and will be selling later this summer. While we ask that you not climb up on the tractors, you are always welcome to pay them a visit.