Vintage tractors break ground for barley

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All day Saturday, Sept. 26, vintage tractors worked 15 acres along Anderson Road, breaking hardened cattle pasture - and a few plow and tractor parts in the process.

"It's all in a day's plowing," said Dave Bekkevar as he fixed a "compound fracture" on his plow.

The strong connections and interdependence of farming communities becomes clear at an event like this. Active farmers from across the peninsula and as far away as Davenport in eastern Washington worked side by side with tractor collectors, aging farm boys and young men eager to drive the old machines.

Bob Clark, a fourth-generation farmer on the 115 acres in Dungeness, leases part of the land to his son Tom, who operates Clark Farms as their joint business.

They are planting barley in partnership with Dave Bekkevar, who farms a few miles away. Bob Clark's brother-in law John Dickinson, of We Dig It Excavation, and Dana Davis of Davis Sand and Gravel organized the farmers and their equipment.

Lee Hopper, who brought his 1945 Farmall Model H, said, "I collect and restore. I have a lot of tractors." Hopper takes his tractors to shows but enjoys an excursion into real farm work now and then.

"This farm is the oldest operating family farm in the state of Washington," said Tom Clark's wife, Holly.

"We're working towards providing a C.S.A. - Community Supported Agriculture program."

The Clarks plan to expand from primarily cattle to include chickens, pigs and possibly lambs. They still are working out logistics but hope to offer smaller quantities of meat staggered throughout the year and a variety of species to choose from, she said.

In the farmhouse, they have operated Clark's Chambers Bed and Breakfast since 2000.

"This is so fun," Glenda Clark, Bob's wife, said Saturday after serving breakfast and seeing off a full house of guests.

"We've had people from all over the world."

Because the ground was hardened and dry, plowing, disking and harrowing took all day Saturday. On Sunday, the barley was planted, Bob Clark said. The final step, rolling the field, was completed about 5 p.m.

"We just hope and pray that it rains soon," Bob said. "That would be ideal."

Contact Sandra Frykholm at sfrykholm@sequim

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