I had a profoundly thankful thought as I was effortlessly spearing and feeding 1,000 pound bales of hay with the front end loader earlier today. If there are two tools I absolutely cannot imagine trying to run a farm without they would be a chainsaw and a heavy duty front end loader tractor.
That said, I'm going to start my thankful tool post with a gripe. If anyone wants to become an instant millionaire all they need to do is invent a blade for a chainsaw that holds an edge for more than a couple of hours. It is no exaggeration to say that for every hour I run a chainsaw I spend at least half that much time re-sharpening the chain. If I have a bunch of cutting to do and a limited time to get it done in, the easiest and fastest thing to do is bring along several sharp chains and worry about repairing and sharpening the dull ones at a later time.
Dull chains and all I still cannot imagine trying to run a farm without instant access to a really good chainsaw. For fun I've run a crosscut saw with a friend a few times. I cannot fathom the labour involved in trying to convert a two foot thick oak trunk into manageable pieces with a crosscut saw and an axe. Yet until a couple of generations ago this is exactly how logs were cut up.
As I mentioned earlier, the other non-optional tool around here is a heavy duty front end loader. In the winter, our loader's main job is feeding and moving hay. Just in the last week we've fed out 10,000 lbs of hay and have moved another 25,000 lbs. All total this took me about an hour. Prior to 1950 every pound of hay on this farm would have been moved, stacked and fed with a pitchfork. (Melissa chiming in to say I would just quit. No way am I moving 10,000 pounds of hay a week with a pitchfork. I wouldn't get anything else done.) We regularly ask our loader to lift, move, spread and smooth literally tons of earth and gravel, lift and move logs, push and pile brush, etc, etc.
That we can get as much accomplished as we do every day is in no small part thanks to the many labour saving devices we own and operate. My back and I are thankful for each and every one of them.
Grazing as the sun was going down; Apollo, Thomas, Hemi, Trigger, Leo, Tony
Miss Lyle in the back of the gator, Mina attempting to climb in and Jo watching. When you are a fainting goat everything is a toy.
Miss Lyle demonstrating her climbing technique with Mina watching
Wiz and Sebastian napping with Murphy and Sam hanging out
This picture is demonstrating how hard it is to be a retired horse. Gus, Fonzi, Silver and Romeo are down and George, Chimano, Faune and Asterik are hanging out.
Renny and Clay
Calimba and Maisie
Lighty looking so clean and well groomed that I think we should use this picture for marketing purposes.
Baby, Trigger and Moe
Toledo rolling, Kennedy hanging out and Stormy grazing
Walden, Lucky, Snappy, Fabrizzio and Noble