Gibbs Organic Produce, May 21, 2012

Organic Mechanics

Tilth Producers of Washington Gibbs Farm Walk 2012About twenty people gathered on a high overcast day in front of Grant Gibb’s 3-bay shop on his 40-acre farm north of Leavenworth. Albert Roberts started with an explanation of the interrelationship of crankshaft to piston, connecting rods, camshaft, oil pump as well as the function of bearings, where they fit, manners of replacing them and other details of the insides of an engine. He demonstrated on a Detroit diesel they’d hauled out of the bone yard to give people some orientation to the workings of internal combustion engines. Both Albert and Grant worked together seamlessly, holding up connecting parts to show how they’re hooked together inside an engine. This section was so engrossing that a full hour was spent before dividing into three groups.

Tilth Producers of Washington Gibbs Farm Walk 2012

One group worked with Grant Gibbs on a newer model diesel Massey Ferguson, another group worked with Albert Roberts on an older gas Massey Ferguson, while a third group worked with Danielle Gibbs on her newly acquired Allis Chalmers. Basic maintenance was the focus, with many side questions along the way: fluid and filter changes for the crankcase, transmission, power steering and hydraulics. Linkages, starters, attachment mountings, radiator maintenance and many other aspects of tractor function were discussed.

While the majority of the group stayed on two of the tractors, some followed Danielle for a brief tour of the rest of the farm. We saw the lumber mill, the three houses built by Grant during his 36 years on this homestead, chicken tractors of various dimensions, the cows, hogs, and chickens, several gardens, the newly erected hoop house cost-share through NRCS (Natural Resources and Conservation Service) and the Conservation District, Danielle’s ambitious market vegetable garden, the greenhouse where she starts her plants, the orchards of pear, cherry and apples, and the intern quarters.

The tour returned to the main group, where they were finishing up details, fired up the tractors, backed them out of the bays, and proceeded to set up the welding demonstration and hands-on cutting and welding mini-workshop. Grant gave an overview and demonstration of acetylene cutting and then set up people who wanted to give it a try. Albert described and demonstrated welding, “running beads” with different sized rod, how to clean up the welds, and how to evaluate the integrity and appearance of the weld. Mig welding was also demonstrated.

Farm Walk booklet: HERE

Gibbs Organic Farm Website