Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tractors!

While at the New England Small Farm Institute, I made my way around the farm to the equipment storage area and found this impressive lineup of slightly antiqued tractors...all of these are diesel beasts...ready and waiting for action!


It was summer in 1982 when I first got to drive my grandfathers tractor. I remember it was a John Deere (who can forget that green color), and my feet barely reached the pedals if I stood up and jammed down on them. It was my job to drive around the "back forty" while my Dad and grandfather picked up firewood and threw it in the trailer.

My next tractor memory was circa 1986...pulling out a stump in the front yard at the farm. I remember hacking on that stump for hours...finally hooking up a chain...and going for it with the tractor at full speed! That stump creaked and groaned for a second, then ripped free from the ground and bounced along behind me. I'm sure the smile on my face would have reached coast to coast.

Odds are, many people have similar stories...amazing how the farmers of the world tend to teach their children and grandchildren how to drive on a tractor before a motor vehicle. Hence the love of fall festivals & hayrides I suppose...

Most of the time you see older tractors gathering rust in fields or hedgerows...abandoned for the next leap of technology or from the lack of a crucial part. Its sad really...to see such a piece of Americana rusting away in a field. Which is why I was so stoked to see these beauties fully operational and sitting ready, waiting for a trailer to pull or a field to plow!


Have a favorite tractor story? Share it with me next time I see you! Until then, have fun and dont be afraid to get your hands dirty and do some work!




3 comments:

  1. Right on, my first driving experience was on an AC WD45 (like you have pictured) when I was 12

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  3. I grew up in the small town of Wyalusing, PA. It is on the Susquehanna River 50 miles north of Scranton.
    My father was a mortician, and, like many morticians in a small town (not too many funerals) he also owned a hardware store. That store still had a tack room when I first visited it, probably 1946. I can still smell the leathers!!
    The store was also a Farmall Distributor. Hence the following tractor story.
    The Farmall Cub was just being introduced, and a railroad flatcar of Cubs and its various attachments was delivered to the RR siding just below town.
    Dad organized an event to present the Cub to all the farmers in the area.
    There were several fields belonging to my mother's family next to the siding, and this was to be the demonstration area.
    Free food and prizes attracted what seemed like a hundred people.
    Everyone was taking a turn at test driving one of the dozen tractors. And there I was, maybe 7 years old, watching all the fun.
    I was given a ride on someone's lap.
    Dad asked if I would like to drive the little tractor. Of course i would!!
    That on-lap ride had been the first time ever "behind the wheel".
    I climbed up onto the seat, dad started the engine while he had me standing on a pedal, and he jumped off telling me to "let up on that and you will be driving".
    I was.
    Around and around the field, weaving to miss bystanders and other test drivers.
    I found I could slow or speed up with that little lever.
    A lot of fun, for a while.
    I wanted to stop.
    How to was the question.
    You mentioned that your feet barely reached the pedals for your stump-pulling.
    That I couldn't reach the pedals did not mean much, because i did not know what to do to stop the Cub.
    I pushed one pedal (I didn't know it was a brake) and all it did was cause the tractor to jerk. Not what I wanted. Stay away from pedals!
    I was terrified and continued to circle and circle the field.
    It seemed like forever, and pulling back on the lever just made the tractor slow and jerk.
    I was panicked.
    More round and around...I was wondering how long it would be before it ran out of gas, or, God forbid, my dad would signal me to stop!!
    I finally got the attention of one of the farmers and he jumped on from behind and pushed in a pedal, the clutch, and we stopped.
    A very embarrassing moment for a little boy!!!!
    Robert Tiffany

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