Saturday, 16 October 2010

Two more of my old Tractors

This is a picture of a ploughing match that I had the privalidge of hosting two years ago, there were 96 vintage tractors and ploughs some of which are in the picture.

Now into September were into the ploughing match season, entry forms all filled in and time to get the old ploughs and tractors ready for a bit of steady work. Round our local matches they have classes for young farmers on the modern outfits, big reversible ploughs, and they always bring their biggest and best.

But me I stick with the old stuff that I was brought up on, I have tried in my way to replicate the old tractors the father had new, he of coarse had his Standard Fordson, I have not acquired one of those yet, but I did acquire a Fordson E27N, which is the long legged version of the Standard Fordson, same 27hp engine and three gears and a reverse. Its not till you get on one of these old machines that you realise how far tractors have developed,. When fathers E27N came about 1950 it was very up to date at that time with three point linkage and a power take off and it had side brakes to help with the turning on wet ground, all of which the Standard did not have.

Then when I was in my late teens we had a David Brown Cropmaster, this was TVO and you still started it with a crank handle, and following that we had the International B250, this was a diesel and it had a diff lock, this is the tractor that I drove from new and have been responsible for ever since.

Basically it got retired about twenty five years ago and put in the tin shed, tin shed rotted away and the rain got down the exhaust pipe.

My old Tractor-International B250

I drove this tractor from new in 1956; it stood unused for almost twenty five years and now it is over fifty years old, it's been brought back to life. Here its had the engine done the wheels and back end have been painted, the bonnet engine and gear box have yet to be cleaned up, but that was back in 2005 .It is now fully painted up in its original livery and almost looks like new, we have taken both these tractor on road runs, but this ones max speed is twelve miles per hour, the E27N will do a bit faster if pushed

My old tractor standing there, for years its not been started,
Drove it myself from new, and now almost departed,
Roof is now blown off the shed, and it's rained in down its pipe,
The engines well stuck and rusted, on the inside full of gripe.

For fifty years that I have had it, while working never faltered,
Apart from rust and lack of paint, appearance never altered,
Got to save it now before, it rots and rusts away,
To pull it out and look at it, do it straightaway.

Some tyres flat and perished now, but they will hold some wind,
Enough to carry it to shed, where it can be re-tinned,
Off with bonnet wings and wheels can see it undressed now,
Get into heart of engine see, if can put it back to plough.

Water in two cylinder, have rusted pistons solid,
Sump comes off to loosen; big ends then are parted,
Hammering and thumping, to get the pistons out,
New set of liners n pistons now, cheque book its time to clout.

Got new shells for big ends, and set of gaskets too,
Back together now and see, what there is next to do,
Injector pump with lid off, is pushing up stuck springs,
With little bit of persuasion, knock down plunger fittings.

New injectors they are fitted , valves are well ground in,
On with lively battery, to turn it mid smoke and din,
Firing up it comes to life, from near scrap recovered,
Can concentrate efforts now, look better newly coloured.

Bought new wings and new nose cone, old ones full of dents,
Standing on its jack stands, it's far from those events,
Gunk and solvents' liberally, to wash the oil and dirt,
Lying on your back beneath, and get all on your shirt.

Ready for the primer now, and get in all the corners,
Always find some bits not cleaned, drips along the boarders,
Rub it down where paint has run, ready for its top coat,
Don't want dust or flies or any damp, gloss I must promote.

Front and back wheels now back on, brand new shiny nuts,
New exhaust enamel black, tin pan seat to rest your butt,
Fit the loom and lights and switches, oil gauge and ammeter,
Needs new steering wheel and nut, to set it off the neater.

Out on road run we have booked, got a logbook too,
On red diesel it runs at home, some run on white a few,
Insurance and a tax disc now, new number plates as well,
Will miss my cosy heated cab, frozen Christmas tail to tell.


Old tractors Large Old Tractors Small.

Old tractors large, old tractors small,
Some go well, some they stall,
Most are older, than their owners,
Some run sweetly, some are groaners.

Worn out tyres, cracked and perished,
Rims all pitted with rust and blemished,
Some come with nose stove in,
Cut it off and chuck it in bin.

New bonnet it will cost the earth,
Sprayed and polished, look like new birth,
New chrome nut for steering wheel,
To finish the tractor, will give you zeal.

Wheel nuts painted or new ones shiney,
New pins and clips, on little chains o'h blimey,
These little touches make the difference,
Get it noticed from a distance.

First thing you're told when first you're out,
"That's not right shade", and gives you doubt,
A clever clogs with brush painted bonnet,
That's my old tractor, he's to covet.

Quite a bit of competition,
Who's got the silliest seat cushion?
Hessian bag on tin pan seat,
Very original, but not so neat.

Every one becomes an expert,
Their influence on you exert,
Keep it original they say,
Fibre glass copies keep at bay.

A nice sweet engine, like to hear,
New plugs and leads, and wheel to steer
Throaty roar when it's struck up,
Draw the crowds, when you wind it up.


I Booked into a Ploughing Match

I booked into a ploughing match, their to show my skill,
See how straight and even, my opening split instil,
A moment's loss of concentration blows the ideal apart,
Spend the rest of all that day, looking like upstart.

Good many tractors on the field, all like minded to plough,
Markers out all over the place, beyond the plots allow,
Down and back complete the split; wait for judge to mark,
Close it up, flat top or pointed, critical watchers remark.

Some pause for lunch walk to see, how the neighbours done,
Body language tells it all, a grimace purse of lips so glum,
They try to break your confidence, concentration goes,
Look back and see plough blocked up, new expletives compose.

All best mates when ya make a mess, condolence all come in,
A very polite clapping for best in class, everyone wishing to win,
A jolly good bunch of ploughmen, relax till judge comes back,
See who's is best of the bunch, and who has got the plaque.


These two pictures (above and below) were taken at home, we are not alowed to use the furrow press at ploughing matches, but it shows what a good job this sixty year old outfit can still do. It was intended for a three row seed drill used to be mounted on the press and a harrow dragged behing to cover the seed.

That me in the striped shirt being advised as to what I was doing wrong.

The Elusive Cup

A disappointing outcome to the Stafford ploughing match 16 September 2006 using the E27N and Elite plough for the first time. With no diff lock the land wheel was slipping leaving a loose stubble that blocked the plough on its next run up a slight slope. at the next two matches the following week I fitted the spad lug wheels and eliminated the slipping

Off to the ploughing match with great intent
Good weather helps but the land is wet
Off down the field on the first run
Back up the second the twists begun.

Tipping in the third as though no skims
Blocking up the plough and the trouble begins
Coming up the fourth won't bury the stubble
Land wheel slipping and we're in trouble.

Off up the side of the neighbouring plot
Tape measure out to see what we've got
To start the cast it must be parallel
Or the finish, odd sized will give you hell.

Even furrows with good in's and outs
Firm for a seed bed well turned over each bout
No hand work or gardening is ever allowed
But it happens quite often when the judge turns around

To measure the land each bout is a must
As narrow it gets down to three or bust
The penultimate run is always shallow
It's to hold the plough firm as it turns its last furrow

Everyone's an expert who watches your last run
But get in the seat to feel how it's done
They block your eye line at the end of the stint
All standing astride, its all wavering and bent

Everyone says we must not blame the tools
Not everyone there, that we can call fools
Experience shows by the polished plough
Who puts it away with a tinge of rust now

Never again, and the thought that it's rotten
When the next one comes along and you've forgotten
Try once more for that elusive red card and cup
The knees will go weak, when you're eventually called up.


Me knees went weak with exitment only on two or three occasions. I'm not as good as some who seem to win every time, but it is the best man (or girl) who wins. can't blame the tools, and if the plough went rusty over winter Who forgot to oil the mole boards.

Owd Fred

Quotation by----- Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider

A man should not leave this earth with unfinished business, He should live each day as if it was a pre-flight check. He should ask each morning, am I prepared for lift-off?