Monday, October 06, 2008

Me thinks that tractor's sexy . . .

Came across a cool website tonight that made me think of my childhood. I grew up on the seat of a tractor - several different ones actually. My grandfather had an old Ford tractor with a wide front end - an 8N, I think. It had a push button starter right next to the gear shifter. He used it to pull hay wagons and haul manure. It was a dandy.

Dad had an Allis Chalmers WD. I loved that tractor because it had a hand clutch that made it easier to drive. I could gently pull back on that clutch and start rolling without killing the motor. She had four levers on the steering column. Two were pull levers - one on the left that was the choke and one on the right to start the motor. Two others controlled the throttle and the hydraulic bucket on the front. Dad had every imaginable add-on for that tractor: front-end loader, cultivators, two-bottom plow and even a sub-soiler.

When I got older dad bought a Farmall Super-M and later a Farmall 400. Those both had road gears that made them fly - or at least it seemed that way to a fourteen-year-old.

My favorite tractor by far, though, was our green Oliver 1600. The steering wheel was adjustable - two ways, in fact. (Its pictured there in the corner.) You could swivel it upward and raise it so you could drive the tractor standing up. It also had big wide fenders. I would sit on them while dad cultivated corn and beans with the three-point mounted eight-row cultivator. Years later, when I missed the school bus one morning, I threw "Ollie" into sixth gear and drove it the three miles to school.

We have a green John Deere lawn tractor in the garage these days. I've left the farm, but the farm has stayed with me . . . and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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