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Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Yesterday was a dreary, rainy day. I worked on a couple things, then went to meet an Amish man about a couple things. I arrived at his farm, only to be told by his wife, that he was "loading hay" at a neighbor's farm. She pointed up the hill to the southeast, and said "He's over there."

Well, I just got back in the truck, and mosied "over there" to see what I could see.

I had expected it to be another Amish house - for some unknown reason - and was surprised to see two pickups parked out front. I didn't see anything Amish about the place, and didn't even see the wagon that was being loaded with hay. I figured the best course of action would be to go knock on the door, and act lost....

As I walked up to the door, I looked around the corner of the house, and spotted an old tractor sitting in a shed about 100 yards up the hill. When the door opened, a man in his mid to late 60's asked me what he could do for me. I told him who I was looking for, and was told he was actually behind one of two barns on the place, loading old bales of alfalfa.

During the course of conversation, and older gentleman clambered up with his walker to see what was going on. I had mentioned the old tractor to the younger man, and he now told the older one I had wondered about it.
"It's an old Farmall H", he said "and I ain't interested in selling it." At which point he turned and rattled away with his walker. He got about 10 feet, when he stopped, turned, and said "But then again, I ain't getting no younger...."

He asked if I was a "collector", and I told him, "not REALLY, I just like old IH, and am always looking for old machines, especially if they were like what my Dad used.  He proceeded to tell me all about that old "H"......and a few other things as well.

I told him I had a 1926 McCormick-Deering 10-20 at home. His eyes lit up, as he told me that was what he started with before the war, then they got an F-20.

"I have one of THOSE, too!", I told him. His eyes were about sparkling by now, just thinking of farming back in the day. He sounded like he wanted to tell his story, as long as somebody was willing to listen.

He was in the Army in World War 2, North Africa and Italy, from what I understood. One of Patton's Boys.
Having survived the war, he came home, and took up farming again. Being a Veteran had it's benefits back then, there was a special program that allowed Veterans to purchase new tractors at special pricing. I understand that a returning Veteran could actually buy a tractor where his non-veteran neighbor could not.

Well, he decided that he wanted a Farmall "H", so that is what he set his sights on. He got a loan, and made payments. He said the the "H" earned it's keep, but paid for itself in short order. He farmed with the thing right up into the 1980, when he finally got a bigger tractor. After that, he mounted a sickle mower on the back, and used her for mowing hay fields and pastures.

The last time he used her, was two summers ago. They finished mowing a pasture, filled her with gas, then parked her in the shed.

He never said why he never got back to her, just the (and I quote...) she "ran when parked". I took my leave, and headed out to talk with the guy I came to see. On the way back, I stopped by the tractor, and took a few photos (with my phone....)

1947 Farmal "H"
It's not in "pristine" condition, but pretty darn good for sitting for awhile.

Although I want the tractor, I want to go over there and listen to his stories, too.

Before they all are lost.

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