Favorite Machinery -- Country View
The apple press
After the fall harvest but before winter sets in, friends in our valley of New Mexico gather at the apple cider press for a weekend of coring, cutting, pressing, laughing, eating, and talking. It is a chance for kids and dogs to run in the fields, while parents join our assembly line. Bins of apples end up as compost and cider, while the conversations ebb and flow. Normally different ranchers cut loose with tales of boyhood shenanigans. Women discuss their children. Talk turns to those who are not present. Each fall another layer of our local history is shared and shaped around the apple cider press.
Tori Lee, Pojoaque, New Mexico
When we moved to our lovely 14 acres, I was not experienced at cutting grass and my husband, Richard, had always used a walk-behind gas mower. Suddenly we had lots of grass to cut. We purchased a Woods mowing machine, and the Mad Mowin' Mama of Greenbridge Road was born! I discovered that I loved to mow the grass -- no matter how much there was. While cutting, I can think or not think, breathe deeply, and smell the delicious newly cut grass. It feels, in some ways, like riding a horse! And while I mow, my husband can do myriad other chores.
Bonnie S. Kramer, Brookeville, Maryland
When my husband gets his Farmall out to work in the fields on our Pennsylvania farm, our daughter, Josephine, 3, gets her John Deere out to ride around the yard. Everyone finds it funny that Daddy is a Farmall man and his daughter has a John Deere. Last fall we were harvesting vegetables from our garden and Josephine was riding her tractor in the yard. We were piling the vegetables by the edge of the garden. We turned around and Josephine had loaded up her trailer. That little tractor plays a big role in our lives, so it is our favorite machine.
Kathleen Morgan, Orangeville Pennsylvania
It has a screw loose
My favorite machine isn't shiny and it doesn't have much horsepower. It's my handheld mixer, and it's made my family happy for 25 years. This little mixer was one of the first things I purchased as a new bride, and I've used it almost daily since. It has mixed, beaten, and blended up every dish imaginable. It's whipped up birthday cakes, after-school treats, and mashed potatoes.
Like its owner, my little mixer is beginning to show its age. The finish has dulled and one of the beaters sticks. It has a screw loose, literally. I could have replaced it with a fancier version, but I haven't.
Terri Cnudde, Bay City, Michigan
One tough garden tractor
My favorite machine is my John Deere 314 garden tractor with a single-cylinder Kohler heavy cast-iron engine.
I bought it in the mid-1980s. I installed lug-style tires on the rear for increased traction. I pushed snow from my driveway, and sometimes I had our street cleared before the snow-removal crews showed up. I also used the 314 to pull a utility trailer filled with bales of straw as a mini hayrack ride at the school. The 314 is still running strong on my rural acreage, and it is something for my grandchildren to learn to operate in preparation for operating larger farm tractors.
Richard Wahlstrand, Davenport, Iowa
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