Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Old War Horse

I cringe when I see farmers depicted as country bumpkins. You know the drill: They are in overalls with a wheat straw in their mouth, but it doesn't matter anyway because they sound like uneducated fools. It's the "Green Acres" syndrome.

Of course, there is an increasing number of people who actually want farmers to take a step back into the early 1900s. While they bite the hand that feeds them via their latest version of iPhone and tweet their opinions about how farmers are poisoning the world, they would rather farmers use a horse and plow ... while wearing their overalls, of course. (By the way, my Grandpa Neelly wore overalls, and he was no country bumpkin either.)

So, when Randy fires up the old Ford 8N tractor and I share a photo of it on a Facebook post, I hope people don't think it's the way we farm.  We have our Case STX 375 tractor. (It has 375 horsepower, compared to about 25 horsepower for the Ford tractor.)
We have finally joined the army of semi trucks that take grain to our local co-op. (It has 425 horsepower.)
And we really went the Army route with our new-to-us feed wagon.
But, this past week, Randy again used the Ford tractor. These days, we have a wire winder on the back and use it for building and rolling up electric fence so we can move cattle there for grazing.
A photo from fall 2013.
 I think the rust is the only thing holding it together.
But there is something about tradition. That tractor seat has been occupied with five different generations now.  Melvin and Clarence bought the tractor back in the 1960s, when Randy was in grade school. They used it to load silage for feeding cattle. Randy remembers using it to pull a two-row John Deere planter when they planted milo. He also cultivated milo with it when he was junior high age.
Clarence (Randy's Grandpa, seated), his Dad Melvin and Randy holding Brent in 1988.
Randy was insistent that the tractor served as a focal point for a 2012 Easter-time photo with Kinley and Jill.
April 2012
We'll see if the weather is good enough to get both granddaughters on the old Ford this Thanksgiving.
It may be tired, but it's not retired.


  1. Kim,

    J has a little Ford very similar to your 8N (he can't remember if is an 8N, but it's close if not so). When we were first married J hooked up the blade and used it to clean the cattle lots. It has been retired (due to the purchase of the BobCat) and it sits behind the calving shed.

    Great idea putting the wire unroller/roller on it. I bet it works good.

    1. After posting this to Facebook, I was amazed at how many people have similar "relics" in their farm yards. They still serve a purpose, don't they, even though it may be very different from their earlier "life" on the farm.

  2. I like this post. Its unfortunate but true. Just like people think we beat our cows and drag em around by the leg...Sheesh. They are our livelihood! They get better treatment then the cowboys who care for them!
    We have an old tractor like your 8n. We put a spray tank on the back and spray the sides of the roads and what ever else needs to be sprayed. Works great.. We have a "new" John Deere tractor. Everything else is old! We don't have much machinery here...No combines or anything like that.

    1. Yes, I've been discouraged lately by posts about inhumane treatment of cattle and farmers "poisoning" people with their modern grain production because "farmers are so stupid they don't understand they are being mislead by big corporations." PLEASE! I don't understand why these people who have no ties to agriculture get such traction with readers, while the people who are doing the work can't get people to read about what we're actually doing. I guess we're not controversial enough. Still, you and I and our friends will just keep plugging away, won't we?!