Tractors cost a metric shitton of money. That’s a problem! Farmers, like the Federal government, solve this conundrum by spending money they don’t have. Farmers take on the kind of debt that makes my teeth hurt. (The Federal Government is starting to stretch the bounds of number theory.) I, in a move nearly socially unacceptable in 2014, refused to finance a damn thing.
I had to find a tractor that was fully depreciated. After a long search I settled on a machine that’s really really old but still younger than John McCain. I bought a Ford N-Series. This, I’m proud to say, is the ultimate in WWII agricultural technology.
I brought it home. It leaked. Everywhere. Who cares? I bought cheap oil and learned to love a messy garage floor. I had a great time driving it. I dragged some stuff, I ran over some stuff, I figured out what the levers did. The brakes worked only in theory. Some parts fell of. A few parts were never there in the first place. I bought wrenches. Really big macho wrenches! Life was good.
I used it for a few years doing everything but farming. I did recreational logging. I mowed my lawn. I plowed my driveway. I chased the cats.
What a great machine. We were pals. Then it died.
There was a period of mourning. This was followed by an epic engine rebuild that included, but was not limited to, stupidity, confusion, setbacks, and fire.
While the repair of the first tractor went from a story to a saga and nearly into tragedy I gathered another tractor of similar vintage. It was a cheap barely running basket case when I bought it and it’s a totally dead basket case now. I used it a few years before it died in an agony of wheezing and hard starts. I’ll fix it someday. In the meantime everyone needs yard art.
(Speaking of dead tractors on the lawn, all lawns are not created equal. In suburbia a lawn is a showpiece; the geographic equivalent of a hot trophy wife that looks desirable but interacting with her is like talking to cardboard. Lawns in rural places have substantially more depth, which sometimes makes them look like a mess. A rural lawn is a universal storage area, snow removal location, workspace, parking lot, grazing spot, recreation venue, demilitarized zone, defense perimeter, and firewood production area. In the hinterlands a lawn that looks like it belongs with a crack house could indicate an industrious resident is fully utilizing an handy asset. Or it might not.)
In the end, I got the little tractor back together. Most (not all) of the parts that fell off have been replaced. It starts 99% of the time. It doesn’t leak! Yay Curmudgeon!
More to come.