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Contributed Article

Hello Ford 601 - Goodbye Mule!
by Jerry D. Coleman

How many of you can sit there and say that you have plowed with a mule? Well I would say not many, but maybe a few. This story is about the day my Grandfather Brown (true name) decided along with my parents to purchase a new Ford tractor. It wasn't really new except to us.

The year was about 1967 and my father found a good used Ford 601 tractor to use on the farm instead of "Bob", our old mule. Now my grandfather had had this mule since the mid 40's and he was getting some age on him. So after some long and very intense thinking he gave his okay for the tractor.

So my father and mother purchase the used tractor and had it delivered to our farm some 75 miles away. Once the Ford tractor was unloaded and the truck had left my grandfather asks "now then, how are we getting this contraption across that there creek?". You see, we lived on the other side of a 20 feet wide creek and the only way we could get across was by walking a swinging bridge for there were no roads over to the house. We did have a fiord (creek crossing for you city slickers) that we had used with the mule and sled but the tractor was to heavy for this sandy fiord.

After some heavy thinking my grandfather said that there may be one (fiord/creek crossing) that we could use at our neighbors farm just about a quarter of a mile below us. After getting our neighbors okay we headed down the road on our new (really used) Ford tractor.

There it was, the way to the other side. So I headed our tractor into the creek crossing in fist gear not wanting to get wet myself. Suddenly the water was getting deeper and deeper and before another heartbeat our new Ford tractor was dead in the water and up to its spark plugs and this old farm boy had to wade in water up to his waist to get out himself. After about an hour of thinking what to do we finally had to call a wrecker from a nearby Ford auto dealership. They arrived and we hooked up a snatch block on the opposite side so we could at least get it on our side of the creek.

I guess the moral of the story is always think safety before anything when it comes to tractors. Had we had done that....we would had been plowing three days earlier with our tractor instead of draining oil, changing plugs and cleaning it up after its inaugural bath.

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