Thursday, May 30, 2013

So The Fun Starts. Moving the Tractor

I bought a 1954 Ferguson TO-30 tractor.  With its three point hitch and PTO (Power Take Off) I can attach a myriad of implements to it to perform various tasks around the farmstead.  Plus my grandpa had a tractor on his farm, and so it's in my genes to drive a tractor.  I needed to have one.

It had to be transported 22 miles.   I could just call a towing company to haul it here, or I could do it the Bleecker way.  I chose the Bleecker way.

Earl, my father-in-law, has been living in Bleecker for decades.  Most of his language is peppered with phrases like "don't need that shit", as he puffs on his pipe.  For example, if I said that I could pay someone to transport the tractor to our property, his response would be "You don't need that shit.  We'll do it."  Knowing that, I asked Earl if he'd help get the tractor.  He has a flat bed trailer and a Honda truck, and so off we went with it yesterday.

When we arrived, it was obvious that the tractor, weighing in at 3500 pounds or so, was larger and more than his 2200 GVW trailer could handle.  Measuring the rear wheels, it wouldn't fit on the trailer. It was too wide.

Earl looked over the situation while Daryl, the guy I bought the tractor from, and I looked at each other shaking our heads.  "Smitty's in Johnstown has a flatbed.  They can do it." said Daryl.

Earl said "Do you have a couple of boards?"

"Sure" said Daryl.

"Go get 'em."

Earl put the boards where the rear wheels of the tractor would go.

"Go ahead, drive it on." said Earl.

"I've never driven a tractor before.  I don't know how it works."

"It's a good time to learn."

So I clambered on to the tractor, got it started, and drove it up the ramp and on to the trailer.  It took a bit of doing because when I'd stop, the tractor would want to roll back down the ramp.  

"Step on the brakes!" hollered Daryl.

"I am!" 

"Step on 'em hard!"

Finally, by actually standing on the brakes, the tractor stayed in place.  I had read on the internet that tractor brakes are pretty much non-existent.  See, you can believe some things you read on the internet.  I turned off the ignition and left it in gear.

Daryl had to leave for a doctor's appointment, but before doing so he started his compressor so we could put air in the tires, which were flattened by  the weight of the tractor.  We then chained it down, and off we drove to Bleecker.  Slowly.  Very slowly.  That tractor wasn't on there real good, and the roads in Fulton County are full of bumps and pot holes, especially in the spring because of frost heaves.  We didn't want it bouncing off.

We made it just fine, although I was watching the tractor bounce and rock and roll in the rear view mirror the whole way.  Here are pics for you.

I started the tractor and, for the first time, got to drive it around.  I shifted it, raised and lowered the bucket, gave it gas and everything.  I drove it next door to our property and parked it.

Purty, ain't it?

I got a kick out of this plate on the engine.

This was built just nine years after the end of World War II.  The US economy was booming and America was the most powerful county in the world, not only militarily but economically, and we were rightfully proud.  To the left you can see an image of the Capitol, and the phrase "Powerful as the Nation" emblazoned on it.  I have a fondness for antiques and anything old, and that's one of the reasons why.

We've named the tractor Bessie.

While enjoying a couple of well deserved victory beers, it started to rain.  Again.  Great big thunder boomers.  Poor Bessie was sitting out in it.  I decided that my first building project shall be a pole barn.  Does anyone here know how to build a pole barn?

Today we're off to Saratoga with Earl's trailer to pick up an old Vermont Castings Resolute wood stove.  I think the trailer and Audrey (our Kia Sorento) can handle that OK.


  1. Nice engineering!
    Harry Ferguson used to live on Barratt Drive in Waterford. Want a trip? Take a Google Street View drive through Swayze Acres!

  2. Yes she is Purdy-- Does she leak any fluids??

    1. Nope. Not that I know of. These old tractors were built tough.

  3. This tractor looks well cared for. We have a lot of collectors here in Vermont; the nearby Tunbridge "World's Fair" begins each year with a tractor parade of good old tractors driven by their proud owners. Glad to see the tires look good, as as simple a thing as a flat rear tire on a tractor can cost a bundle. Oldies have no roll bars, so be careful!