Bootstrap @ Hartwood – Finding Time to Make Changes

The crops are mostly out of the ground, the fields and yard are picked up for winter, and our off-season project list has grown to seemingly impossible lengths.  We don’t want to praise anything too much though—last month’s blog where we celebrated our equipment making it through the season may have jinxed us.  Two days after writing that, our tractor engine blew, requiring complete rebuilding, including machining.  It was a tortuous... Read More

Bootstrap @ Hartwood Farm – the New, the Old, and the Ugly (Equipment)

Equipment at Hartwood Farm: The New, the Old, and the Ugly With enough rain falling that the fields are too wet to work for the first time all year, we found ourselves in a reflective season’s ending sort of mood after Matt drove our tractor down to the shop for hydraulics repair. While we are waiting for the (hopefully not too) bad news, we’ve (read: Matt has) been struck by a strong case of equipment envy watching all the sweet combines hauling... Read More

Northeast Farmers: Your Input Is Needed for UVM Curriculum Development

The UVM Extension New Farmer Project is seeking funding to develop a tractor education curriculum and train-the-trainer project that will be broadly available to help provide basic tractor safety, basic use and maintenance, and decision-making education to Northeast small scale and diversified farms. They are proposing to offer training that uses a variety of in-person and online formats to prepare participants to deliver tractor education for beginning... Read More

DIY industrial-scale tools: Open Source Ecology’s Global Village Construction Set

Global Village Construction Set in 2 Minutes from Open Source Ecology on Vimeo. For young farmers, especially those starting up operations from scratch, the challenge of acquiring the equipment needed to do the job can be daunting. The history of farming in the U.S. is full of lessons to be learned from farmers who have taken out loans to buy equipment, then been forced to scale up to pay off the loans, then needed to take out more loans to scale... Read More

Electric G tractor conversion

Electric G from 47th Avenue Farm in Oregon. Photo by Josh Volk. **Note** This project now has a Farm Hack Tools Wiki page, where you can add more information, resources and ideas of your own.   Project is for: Farmers who want a cultivating tractor that is reliable, emissions-free, and quiet. Cost: The materials to convert an existing Allis G tractor (it can have a working or broken engine) are broken down into three components:  the motor / controller... Read More

FarmHack: Using Google SketchUp to design equipment

When I go on a tour of someone’s farm, I am usually snapping photos of cultivators, measuring seeders, taking notes on techniques.  If I decide to copy a farm-built tool from a friend’s farm, it usually involves me making a bunch of phone calls or e-mail requests for info on how they built what they built, asking for drawings, etc.  I’ll be sure to ask for potential “pitfalls” in the design–  things they might... Read More