Three Old Tractors and One Old Guy

A Tale of Three Tractors and an Old Guy Who No Longer Felt Tired

If you have horses, don’t keep them at someone elses barn, then you probably have, or at least had, an old tractor.  To be an “old tractor”, it can not be air conditioned or four wheel drive.  It has to be older than you oldest child. You get bonus points if it is older than you are. Paint on said tractor is purely optional, but you get more bonus points if you have a pet name for it. You know, like a “barn name” for that horse of yours that has 4 fancy names but you call him “Bob” or something.

I have two old tractors. Exhibit “1”, a tough little 1952 Ferguson To 30. Great little bush hogging tractor, but not really big enough for 1000 lb round bales. I call him “Fergie”

Fergison TO 30

Exhibit “2”, a brute of a tractor. This is a 1965 Ford 3000 with WAY too much front end bucket. Said bucket is very, very handy but really belongs on a bull dozer. The tractor sometimes breaks things on the front end due to the weight of the bucket. But, I have learned that just because I can carry a 1000 lb bale on the front end and another on the rear end, does not mean it is a good idea.  Lesson learned. I call her “Ford”. Notice I said “her”?  That is because “Ford” is like a mare. Much more complex to deal with you it might turn out good or you might be in danger of getting yourself killed.

Ford 3000

The steering went out in Ford. My tractor mechanic had to come get it. It took 3 of us 2 hours to get Ford loaded on a trailer. Apparently steering is a pretty big deal.

Then Fergie decided he thought he did not want to pick up any more round bales. Apparently something was amiss with his rear picking up ability. Now, I am tractor-less.

Did I mention I have ten horses? You see the problem don’t you?

My mechanic had a family health emergency and could not get Ford done quickly. A week became 6. Ouch. I called him and asked him when he might get to Ford and btw, I needed Fergie picked up too. He had a great offer.

He said he could loan me a 1953 Ford Jubilee that could set out round bales under my tractor piloting skills. Yippee!


My mechanic, Mr A, brings Jubil. Jubil has no paint but hey, you dont ride color and you dont drive paint. Now, one thing I need to mention is that Mr A is very , very safety conscious. He mentioned Ford had a faulty starter safety, and he would never let a tractor leave his shop unsafe, so he would have to fix it. I agreed of course and did not mention that I had kept Ford from killing me for years without a working safety switch.

One of the things I needed him to fix on Fergie was a broken throttle piece.  Apparently, sitting outside for 64 years leads to rust, so a piece rusted. So, as I could not find a replacement piece I “fixed it” with a stick. This made the motor run at high speed. Hey , I usually run it at high speed. However, Mr A, being a “safety guy” said this was somehow “unsafe” and wanted me to load Fergie on his flat bed.

Then he explained Jubil to me that he was nicely letting me borrow.  He looked at me pointedly and said, and I quote, “THIS TRACTOR IS UNSAFE!” Wait a minute, I thought, “aren’t you the safety guy?”  Apparently, the whole “safety issue, was just about other people’s tractors. He said, “this tractor will run away with you, it has great breaks but if you park it on anything except completely flat ground, it will run away!”  I thought, Right, it runs away. Sure. Really. It was noon, no one was drinking that I could tell. How much could it run away?


Ford Jubilee

After work and after Crossfit, I prepare for the nightly feeding buffet. 10 horses, 4 cats and two chickens. I hear the theme from Green Acres a lot here. (I am a lawyer when I am not horsing and stuff) I drive Jubil very slowly and safely to the round bale barn, pick up a 1000 lb bale and start across the back yard with it with is on a small incline. Jubil, quite unreasonably, tries to do a back flip. Now, having worked machinery and tractors for many years, I know I cant back flip with a round bale on the rear spear. I can however bounce and bounce really hard. That happens.

I drive back to the barn and get 250 lbs of weights and chain them on the front end of jubil. I am thankful that I hurl weights at Crossfit because 250 lbs is actually pretty heavy even if it is in two pieces. Just to be really, really safe, I back all the way to the other barn so as to not tempt Jubil to do any more back flip maneuvers. I park Jubil, sans round bale on my almost perfectly flat gravel pad and cock the wheels and take him out of gear. I then go and shut the gait. I look up and much to my surprise, Jubil is RUNNING ACROSS AND DOWN THE BACK YARD!

As I am the only one there, no one is driving Jubil. This tractor is not only unsafe, it is probably possessed. A sudden vision of Jubil, the borrowed unsafe tractor running into the woods at a high speed runs through my mind. I yelled. I think I might have said a bad word, as in several of them.  I was tired from Crossfit. It was 101 degrees tonight and we ran 9 long sprints along with the weight hurling. I took off running in boots.   I caught the tractor and trained my head light on it. I thought, “tieing with Jubil is not good enough, I have to beat him and jump on him before he kills himself in the woods!”  I knew I had to pass him, and then try to jump on him while he was picking up speed. I am too old for this. No one is home to call 911 or even watch my heroics.

I did it and landed in the drivers seat right before the woods and steered Jubil to safety.

Before we feed next time, I am going to anoint Jubil with oil and have prayer.  Things are never boring at Shawnee Sunrise Farm. You just have to love old tractors.

Keith Kibler




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