Thursday, January 23, 2020

It's the least I can do

The tractor resting in the barn hasn't been cranked for over 10 years. Harry Trueman was still in the White House in 1948 when it rolled off the assembly line.

I ran across it in the late 70s. That was back when my hair was thick and my money was thin. Jilda's dad Sharkey knew a good deal when he saw one. When I told him about the tractor and that it came with a plow, cultivator, bush hog, and turning discs. He reached into his wallet for his folding money.

He paid the old farmer $900 and I drove the old tractor home with him following behind with the flasher flashing.

We used that old tractor for years. We raised potatoes, tomatoes, and enough okra to feed most third-world countries.

Each spring, I would have to coax it to life. I'd drain what little gas was left in the tank, take the carburetor apart, and blow trash out from the tiny jets. And after charging the battery, I'd twist the key in the ignition switch and push the starter button which was down by the gearshift, the old beast would grumble to life.

It was sputter and shake until it woke up, and then it was ready to get to work.

The old engine wasn't that powerful, but some old engineer with a sharp pencil figured out horsepower, gear ratios, to provide the maximum power needed to pull a plow that was sunk knee-deep into Alabama clay.

When the soil was moist, the engine RPM would drop so low that you could almost count the revolutions, but I never had to look back to ensure that everything was working properly because the aroma of freshly turned soil hung in the air like baking bread.

My nephew Haven bought a tractor several years ago and it has all the latest "stuff" on it. He didn't have a place to park it so he asked if he could park it in the vacant stall in the barn. He left me a set of keys so it was hard to say no. That meant that the old workhorse was put out to pasture, so to speak.

Fast forward to this morning - As we walked, I looked into the barn and saw that the tires on the old breast were flat and time had dry-rotted the rubber.

I made a decision, to spend a little money and put the old tractor back in service. Now that I'm getting older, I feel a kinship to the old workhorse. I think it deserves as much.


  1. I'm glad you are going to get her working again, old stuff deserves tender loving care.

  2. Renovating the old tractor will be a nice project for you.

  3. I hope some one is prepared to coax me back to life when I have been put out to pasture.

  4. When I began gardening public places I used a WW2 Jeep to haul and uproot things, drag athletic tracks, baseball infields etc. Then swapped it for a 1957 Ford tractor --pillaged my budget for a leveling blade, John Deere Child-impaler and various other hydraulic attachments that made the final 26 years (retirement!!!) manageable. I left it there in the fieldhouse for the next wizard and never went back. But, you know, I still miss it sometimes.

  5. Fantastic post! Kisses ...Dilek .

  6. Yep, amazing how the old beasts can come to life with the simple engines. I gave my 8N away, Now have a tractor at present I cannot call its name. Hasn't been cranked in a few years. It needs attention, maybe this summer. Thanks for the reminder. I just talked to a farmer from NY and they no longer use water and antifreeze in the tires.
    Anyway I did really enjoy the read and I know the old girl will enjoy the attention, it is deserved.
    Sherry & jack

  7. That sounds like quite a project and hope you succeed. It won't be easy but should be fulfilling work. Good Luck !

  8. I think this will be a great project for you. Bring er back to life!

  9. Sounds like a labor of love. I do enjoy seeing older vehicles on the road that someone has kept running ~ there really are a lot of them in New Mexico.....I especially love seeing the 50s and 60s pick up trucks that are still running.


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