I kind of resemble that little Model 8N Ford tractor that sits outside our home in the woods.
Once again I have resurrected it from its winter home, reinstalled its battery, checked the oil and dumped the acorn shells off the steel seat that the red squirrels have used as a resting spot through the snow season.
The left rear tire was flat. No doubt the result of an aged rim and a poke from some unseen obstacle on the forest floor last fall. With the help of my brother-in-law, I removed the tire and had it repaired at a local tire store. With the aid of a couple of hundred dollars, the tire was made whole and it now adorns the left side of the 8N.
This particular tractor was purchased new somewhere in South Dakota. My father-in-law's sister, Pansy, found it at a farm auction somewhere back in the late '70s. With his permission, she bought the little gray tractor for him for around $2,000, the going price for such a running tractor back then.
And, so, here it sits today, behind our house hooked up to a beaten up old pickup trailer body, standing ready to haul the leaf and pine needles from our front yard.
I have driven much larger tractors. Now considered small by modern day standards, I drove big John Deere Model 730s, Farmall 560s, Oliver 1850s and such. They were huge, hulking beasts that at the time seemed to provide power to no end.
The little 8N Fords were relegated to pulling wagons and scattered utility work around the farm. Not really thought of as a "farm" tractor. But, they were popular and many were found purring their way around farmsteads throughout the countryside.
This little 8N Ford sitting behind our house has lost most of its original paint. Much like my hairline, it stands bare in spots. The paint is faded much like the color in my once sunburned cheeks. It leaks a little oil here and there and has had a few of its parts replaced, much like my titanium hip. It smokes and pops a little when started, which is kind of the way I get out of bed in the morning.
Yes, we have things in common, that little Ford tractor and me.
But, it still provides some service. I've pulled people out of the ditch with it. Tugged downfallen trees out of the woods. Hauled hunters back to land that was unaccessible by other vehicles. And, I've used it to clear sweet corn stalks from my and my neighbor's gardens.
It has not lost most of its usefulness. It's good to hear it still start up in the morning. I hope kind of like me, there are a few miles left on the tread.
See you next time. Okay?