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Family shares their story through farm shop displaysFamily shares their story through farm shop displays

Slideshow: An old barn wall is like a museum within this new farm shop.

Tom J. Bechman

April 10, 2023

8 Slides

The sign hanging in the gathering area in Troy Furrer’s farm shop near Wolcott, Ind., says it all. He farms with his son, Josh, and dad, Don. The sign reads: “Every family has a story … welcome to ours.”

Not only did the Furrers design their farm shop to feel welcoming — with a gathering area, kitchen and upstairs conference room — but they also included displays to make it feel “homey.” Why? Because they display things important to their family over time.

“Dad wanted an area to display a lot of primitive farm tools and antiques he collects, so we built what looks like a barn just over the workbench at the front of the shop,” Troy explains. Because the shop has 20-foot sidewalls and a second story over the gathering area, there was room to build the replica of one end of a small barn or shed with a peaked roof. Lumber for the barn wall came from old buildings on the farm, Troy says.

“We’ve got a bit of everything up there,” Don says. “Not everyone can identify everything. Some of those things go way back.”

Here are a couple of “forgotten tool” brain teasers:

From the home. In the first photo of the slideshow, look at the long, slender device near the edge of the wall on the right.

As it turns out, that’s an early ancestor of something everyone has at home. In fact, some may have a robotic version that cleans floors on its own. Yes, the slender item is a vacuum cleaner. Not only was it not robotic, but the operator supplied power to create vacuum.

From the toolshed. Take a close look at the device with a wooden handle in the middle of the wall. “It’s a skeleton spade,” Don says. “They used it on tight, heavy clay soils around here when laying tile. There was a lot less area for mud to cake up on and become heavy as you dug down a trench for tile.”

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Farm Shop

About the Author(s)

Tom J. Bechman

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Tom J. Bechman is editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer. He joined Farm Progress in 1981 as a field editor, first writing stories to help farmers adjust to a difficult harvest after a tough weather year. His goal today is the same — writing stories that help farmers adjust to a changing environment in a profitable manner.

Bechman knows about Indiana agriculture because he grew up on a small dairy farm and worked with young farmers as a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor before joining Farm Progress. He works closely with Purdue University specialists, Indiana Farm Bureau and commodity groups to cover cutting-edge issues affecting farmers. He specializes in writing crop stories with a focus on obtaining the highest and most economical yields possible.

Tom and his wife, Carla, have four children: Allison, Ashley, Daniel and Kayla, plus eight grandchildren. They raise produce for the food pantry and house 4-H animals for the grandkids on their small acreage near Franklin, Ind.

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