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Self-driving Cars? What about Tractors?

We’ve seen industry after industry ‘disrupted’ by the introduction of new technologies, with automation in particular making great inroads. Farm yields, of course, have long benefited from the substitution of machine for human labor. But did we expect to see machines driving tractors so soon? With actual ‘farmers’ out of the mix, will farming one day be reduced only to administration and management tasks?

On the Seat & In Your Head

On the Seat & In Your Head There is something about driving a tractor that is so similar to riding a motorcycle it is uncanny. Obviously it isn’t speed or that feeling of the wind in your hair. Nor is it about the physics of counter steering or leaning into a corner. But there is something there in the “non-thinking” aspect of both endeavors. When I am running the mower on the tractor, or more recently cultivating the garlic with the 861 a few months ago, I am not actively thinking about anything. I am purely in that moment. I am observing where the front wheels are, glancing over my shoulder to watch the discs cut through the earth, focusing … Continue reading

1954 NAA

Wayne Musser's NAA 1954

By Wayne Musser. N-News Summer 2016. Vol. 31 No. 3

When I was about twelve years old, I learned to drive the tractors. I was doubly blessed in that both of my grandfathers were dairy farmers, so when one grandfather didn’t need me to help put hay away, the other one did. My grandfather chose the NAA with live PTO for hay baling. Last winter, I restored the NAA. I hope it will continue to provide reliable service for the next generation. Continue reading

Signs of Spring

By George Blosser.

Growing up on our family ranch in California, I learned to drive our family’s 2N Ford tractor at a very young age. Fifty-five years later I tried to locate our original family tractor. I couldn’t. So I gave up looking and searched for an 8N and located one in the State of Arkansas. A restoration process was immediately started to return the tractor to its condition as delivered from the factory in 1952. Continue reading

American Georgics: Writings on Farming, Culture and the Land

American Geogics

Agriculture has been a touchstone of security and growth for humanity since we gave up our hunting and gathering ways. This book is a chronology of writings on agriculture, which detail the history of how we as Americans have embraced, rebuffed and re-embraced the ideas (and ideals) of agriculture and the agrarian lifestyle. $14.95.

Wisdom of the Last Farmer

Wisdom of the Last Farmer

David Mas Masumoto has authored a wonderfully touching story of a Japanese-American family in the central valley of California. Prior to farming, along with other West Coast Japanese-American families, the Masumoto family was relocated to the Arizona internment camps in the early 1940s. They endured many hardships, but eventually were able to return to California and small farming. $9.85.

Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?

Why Did The Chicken Cross the World?

Subtitled, ‘The Epic Saga of the Bird that Powers Civilization, Andrew Lawler’s has encapsulated the history of humanity through our involvement with chickens! Starting with the earliest known ancestor of the domestic chicken, the red jungle fowl, Lawler shows how the human appetite for chicken continues to grow. $11.95.

The Tractor Factor

The Tractor Factor

Again, author Robert Pripps comes through with another tractor book that you need for your shelf. Here he does an amazing job of explaining rare models of both common and uncommon manufacturers within a historic context. $27.

Thrift: Getting By & Making the Most of What You Have

Gardner Waldeier's Ford 641 under the shed

By Gardner Waldeier. N-News Winter 2016. Vol. 31 No. 1

Thrift. noun. The careful use of money, especially by avoiding waste.
Making due with what is available is paramount these days. I needed a good dry place to keep my tractor and set to making that thought a reality at the 1799 farmhouse where I grew up. So I built a lean-to style pole barn off the end of the house recently and did the whole project for around ten dollars. Continue reading