This BCS tractor review involves a fateful and forceful French kiss. Read on.
A BCS — “Beast” for short — is an Italian vineyard tractor with two wheels that you walk behind. Ours arrived on a truck one day last week. It’s designed for slopes and small acreage. Since it’s Italian, maybe I should say, then, that I Italian-kissed with it — yep, all 11 diesel HP of it. And in 1st gear, no less! The power! My heart was racing.
For those of you just joining in, we are Piedmont Pine Coffins, and our cottage industrial home is Melleray Farmstead. We make simple pine box coffins and advocate for green burial. Our farmstead is off the grid, and we have pastures that need haying. So, we got ourselves a Beast of a BCS tractor from a purveyor in Kentucky named Earth Tools.
The Beast is awesome. I’ve mowed about ten acres so far and it is peaceful, intense, healthful work. After I write this I’m fixing to go back out and mow about three more. Put biodiesel in a BCS tractor and it even smells great. But that first Italian kiss? A little rough and sloppy.
Before I tell you about that, though, who out there remembers yours? Or, driving for the first time? Working a new machine at a new job? Ahhh, it will keep you young and alive, yes it will, if you keep beginning again with new things and never settle for your expert status. Expert status is boring. Expert status will deadify you.
So last week I begin anew with a set of handlebars on the Beast that make you feel like a kid again riding a 10-speed bike for the first time. Remember the newness of the hand brakes? The puzzlement of the shift levers? Deciding what you push when, and how to coordinate feet and hands and still balance?
Now, pretend you are learning to ride two 10-speeds at once. And on the Beast, add in a clutch! Whatever you do, don’t forget the friggin’ clutch! (If you do the Beast will remind you with a naughty bite of a buzz to tingle you all the way up the back of your arms.) And that control lever that’s colored a sexy bright red, what about that one? Yes, the kill switch. Note to BCS tractor review headquarters: fluorescence might help. Green, orange, anything. Nah, forget about that. I was beyond colors.
Making hay at Melleray
After safely mowing my first half-acre in the middle of a big field, I was feeling like I knew the Beast well enough. Emboldened. So I decided to do some deft detail work around the base of the ornamental trees near the car park.
Mind you, connected to the tractor at this point is a 6-ft. wide hay mower called a sickle bar, which attachment is like a hedge-trimmer on steroids (covered in grass, photo right) that rides an inch off the ground and clips grass at the base. It mows a thick pasture 4 feet tall without a shiver, and with a snicker it clips 1-inch sapling trees that fall like “Timmmmm-berrrrrr!”
Using this formidable implement I caressed the grass between two trees and then without hesitation drove the Beast straight into the front right wheel of the Mazda.
It was quite a kiss! There were shouts and moans (from me), and there was a sigh and a hiss (from the car). In the passion of the moment, I had forgotten about the sexy red kill switch. Not to mention the clutch. And the reverse gear. And the steering.
So I begin anew and learn, for the first time, where on that car the spare is kept. Thank you, Beast. Thank you, Italian kiss. I am alive and I am young.