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The Practicality of an Old Tractor

| 11/14/2018 10:20:00 AM

The 1954 Ford 

Our 1954 Ford 600 tractor at the build site for our cabin. Photo by Fala Burnette 

My first memory of an older tractor was the discolored, rusty Ford that continued to serve its purpose on my Grandmother's farm. It was by no means the piece of fine restoration you'd see parked in a line at the local tractor club show. This tractor wasn't pretty on the outside, but the true beauty of it was shown through its continual hard work in keeping the garden tilled and firewood hauled from the back woods. In later years, it became replaced by a brand new tractor, but continued to give rides around the farm to all the grandchildren.

To read the stories of those who have restored antique tractors sometimes deeply touches the heart. A once parked, rusted form has new life breathed into it in memory of someone who has passed away. Sometimes, they're even given a new coat of paint that pays tribute to our military, or shows support for cancer awareness. These tractors then remain a part of the continued story of an individual or family, by representing what is important to them. However, as I've mentioned, the beauty of a tractor doesn't have to lie in show quality. Like that rusted Ford I knew as a kid, sometimes the real value comes in their continued use and practicality.

Take time to reflect on someone you may know that has a tractor dating from the 1960s and back. Can you name someone who has one, and if so, what do they use it for? Parades and shows actually serve as valuable tools in educating younger generations (and exchanging information with other antique tractor enthusiasts to share tips and talk shop). For those who still have their tractors working hard, think about the jobs they do and the purpose they serve around the farm.

On a personal level, our family has become deeply attached to a 1954 Ford 600 that we bought after we were married. We invested money left over from selling my truck, and my husband then started helping Mr. Scott Railey build up the floor of his corn crib in the homesteader's handshake that was a fair trade of work for the rest. Scott had restored this tractor himself, and used it to spread fertilizer and plant seed for his wildlife plot. The old Ford, fondly named "Moose" by previous owners (which we kept, and still call it) was brought home to continue working hard.

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