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Exclusive Article

More Stories from Old Farmer
by Kim Pratt

Introduction: Old Farmer, a.k.a. Dale Jensen began posting messages to our discussion forums at the grand age of 75. He shared many stories of his life with us until shortly before his passing in October of 1999. We will be publishing several of his stories for the next several issues. Click here to see stories from the previous issue. Now on to this month's stories...

Conversion to the Tractor

I suppose none of you guys ever farmed with horses, but I remember when we did it - I was just a kid. What a pain! Those old horses would bite and everything else. Our neighbor had a big old Case steam engine and I was amazed seeing it pull a ten bottom plow. Well we pulled our plow with horses. Our other neighbor had a Waterloo Boy, he thought it was the best thing around.

I was mad that we didnít have a tractor until one day I came home and I saw a John Deere GP in front of the barn popping. I was so happy I about cried... Dad kept the team of horses though, he really liked them and they could help with the work. We had the GP until 1937 when we traded it for the JD G which I still have.

Our neighbors all got John Deere Model A's after seeing how good our two-cylinder was. The neighbor's old Case steam engine was cut up during WWII. The metal scrappers took her away from the place and his Waterloo Boy served as a backup tractor until about 1949.

Memories of the Farm

Do you remember when you were a kid on the farm, all the stuff you got yelled at for? I remember some - like when we had the John Deere G, Dad would tell me to keep it in low when I drove home. Well one night I decided to be a speed racer and put it in full throttle. I put my foot on the governor - boy I thought I was sure moving along.

I was going down the road and thought I might be home before it got real dark when from over the hill came a pair of head lights. They were going fast! I tried to pull the clutch back to stop the tractor but I couldnít pull it back. Then it came by me, it was our neighbor's boy in his Model A Roadster. He was taking the whole road so my only choice was the ditch.

Down I went, through the fence and right into the hay field. I pulled the throttle back, slammed both brakes on, and used both hands to pull the clutch back. Dad sure was mad!

I also remember disking by the house, Dad would come out and say "Quit lugging that thing around... if you don't know how to drive it get off!". But I knew if I got off the tractor it would only make him mad. It seems like I was always in trouble. I was either playing in the creek or catching chickens or chasing the pigs. I never understood why Dad would be so mad. But when I got my own kids, I finally figured it out. He was just trying to look out for us - thatís why he would tell me to stay away from that picker or watch out on that tractor he was just trying to watch out for me - not trying to make life miserable

The Day The Tractor Stood Still

Today I thought it would be a nice day to go out and putt around on my old John Deere G. I went out to the barn, slid the door open and there she was. I went up and turned the fuel on, then pulled the throttle ahead some. I opened the petcocks, choked it, spun the flywheel twice. Then I shut the choke off, spun the flywheel and spun it and spun it until finally half dead and out of breath I was able to mutter some words I can't repeat here.

I was ready for another round, so I tried to start it again. It still wouldn't start so I laid in the straw of the barn floor, out of breath and muttered some more words that I can't repeat. I then thought that maybe I had a dirty fuel system. So I opened the gas lid and it was bone dry. I almost killed myself, there was no gas in it! So I put gas in it and spun the wheel a bit. She fired right up, boy did I feel dumb. I think this is the second time I have done that this year. I need to paint on all of my tractors "Check gas before starting". I guess its just age.

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