Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Standard Fordson Blog 13

This was drawn by the Standard Fordson

The tractor getting worn and old, its steering getting stiff,
On every blooming corner, became a bigger loop and if
Only it would straiten up, and not run corn down,
Father on the binder would be warring his worst frown.

One foot was still in a loop of rope

I remember as a kid of six or seven how we loved to have a ride on the empty trailers back to the field to be loaded. On this occasion I had just missed my chance for a ride and I was on my own, when I though I would run and catch up and climb onto the back end of the wagon.

This was drawn by the Standard Fordson driven by my father, and with the noise of the engine I could not get his attention. When carting the shoffs of corn (wheat) it had got to be roped on as it had got to travel across five fields and gateways, and the ropes were always wrapped up, drawn together in large loops and bound round the top with the last bit and hung under the back of each trailer.

When I caught up with the outfit, I thought I could put my foot in the swinging rope and claw myself up the backend of the gormers and onto the trailer. But it did not turn out like that at all, having slipped with my grip I fell backwards to the ground, it was only a few inches off the ground, but fell. Trouble was one foot was still in a loop of rope and it started dragging me across the fields, my god it was lumpy, and the old Fordson could only go at eight miles per hour (thank goodness).

 I rolled this way and that, I curled up to try and free me foot time and again with no luck. Eventually one of dads helpers saw my dilemma and stopped him, all he did was to unhook my foot, put me across his knee and gave me four of five good smacks across my back side to teach me a lesson, across a back side that was already battered and bruised from the drag, it was one lesson well learned.

I Remember Father bought a tractor

Father bought a tractor, to help the horses out,
Twas a green Standard Fordson, bit noisy had to shout,
Spade lug wheels iron up front, to give it grip in mud,
War time demanded ,plough up grass,to grow a lot more spud.

Winter ploughing with a tractor, quicker it would be,
But colder with the sitting, and no walking so you see,
You cannot have it both ways, to hurry was a must,
So on with army great coat, a hat and scarf, no dust.

We came to move to Seighford, to spade lugs he fitted bands,
To stop the lumpy driving, from Doxey, need many hands,
Lot of road work at the Beeches, up to furthest fields,
Rubber tyres then were fitted, with the higher yields,

As the years went by, we lads we kept on growing,
We learned to drive the tractor, as trailers men were loading
It progressed on to bindering, to cut the corn make sheaves,
The men were all occupied, to stook the corn till eve.

The tractor getting worn and old, its steering getting stiff,
On every blooming corner, became a bigger loop and if
Only it would straiten up, and not run corn down,
Father on the binder would be warring his worst frown.

His anger at a driving era, was there for all to see,
If the whip he had for horses, it would soon be used on me,
It soon became apparent, that, good driving is a must,
At each and every corner, the steering to adjust.


As we progressively older and into our lower teens, we in turn were able to start driving the old Fordson, the first most important job that seemed to go on for a week or so none stop was that of bindering the corn, that was where we took it in turns to drive. ( Corn - wheat ,oats and barley. for you lads reading from USA) and sometimes beans and often had a field of dredge corn, which consisted of barley, oats, wheat, peas and beans, this was a difficult crop to binder as if you did it too early the wheat would be still green, if you did it too late the barley or oats would be shedding.

When the dredge corn was threshed the grain was in them days as near to a balanced ration for the cattle as you could get all home grown. During the war and for quite a few years after imported grains , maize and soya were in short supply as were groundnut, palm colonel, and linseed cake. These were the by product of the oil crushing mills in Liverpool where Bibby's produced a balanced cow corn in cubes,or was it their soap factory (remember ASTRA perfumed soap, it made a change from the war time carbolic soap) where they utilised by-product into dairy cake.

It was on a factory visit to the docks (Father had started using Bibby's Dairy cubes) at Liverpool to Bibby's factory that they also took you round the soap factory as well, and they even gave out a few paper wrapped bars of their Astra soap to each of their visitors, I can't tell you how thrilled mother was with "her" perfumed soap, but needless to say we never got a smell of it.

At the docks we saw no end of pair of shire horses pulling wooden wheeled wagons about with up to six tons at a time, of coarse it was all level pulling on cobbled and paved streets in and around the docks from ships to warehouses, but of coarse Bibby's factory was right on the dock side.

Another thing we saw that day was steam lorries or wagons still working from docks to warehouses a bit further inland, in fact when we were going home on the coach we saw then them chuffing along the main roads at amazing speeds fully loaded. I have never seen one in work on the roads since that day out to Liverpool.

I seem to have got side traced from my original story; the old Fordson was getting well worn by the time we got to working it, in particular the steering. On full lock the inside front wheel would turn its angle almost to touch the engine, and it took an enormous effort to get it from there to the other lock. Cutting corn with the binder this happened on every corner, and occasionally did not make it soon enough, and ran some of the corn down in the process.

Father always rode "shot gun" on the binder as he was very particular as to how low the straw was cut, he almost licked it off the ground, and he adjusted the string to where the shoffs were tied according to the length of straw, and originally would have had to steer the three shire horses pulling it as well.

But now we were steering the coarse, and any deviation would be shouted at of very severely and heavily frowned at, in fact we were glad that he did not still have the long whip in its holder that he could "title" the shires with or I've no doubt it would have soon been used on us.

Needless to say our arms got stronger by the minuet and rarely ran into, or even edged the crop again.

We got that used to the job it was up to us to convert the binder back onto its road wheels, on to the next field and back into cutting mode again, when you think back we were doing it "Formula One" stile pit stops, a lot faster than the men could do it so they let us get on with it.

Father always had a policy "Flog the young" but then another saying he had contradicted that "Wear the old bgugers out fost"

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