Saturday, April 23, 2011

Stone Boat

This spring we removed some more trees from the woodland section of our orchard. We did this for couple of reasons. First it will provide us, friends and neighbors with firewood for next season, but most importantly it will allow the new orchard we planted last season and added to this season with more light penetration.

Some of the trees were felled in areas that would not support the weight of a tractor this time of the year. My neighbor Jack and I were discussing how to remove the logs, which included too many pulleys and winches, when we began discussing the old time method of using a stone boat or sled to move heavy objects without the use of wheels. Jack remembered seeing a stone boat in a barn on his sister-in-laws family farm. A phone call later we were assessing the condition of the stone boat. The cast iron front was in perfect condition but all the wood needed replacing. Jack's idea was to sandwich 2" pine planks with a sheet metal bottom and a plywood top.

The results can be seen in the blog image. Jack is driving the tractor. The stone boat worked far better than we imagined and saved us a substantial amount of time over using pulleys and winches, plus we saved a piece of farm equipment history. It's also lots of fun riding the empty stone boat back into position.