When I was five years old in 1960 my Granddad retired and moved back to the ranch in Montana that he and his dad had bought in the early 1920's. They had given up ranching in the mid '30s but never sold the ranch.
He bought a '48 Case VA with an earlier sickle bar attachment bolted to the rear axel castings. The sickle was pretty well used up, so he pulled it off and stuck it up on the back side of the hill with the rest of the old implements and a Hart-Parr tractor.
The Case itself was in need of some repair, and I remember when we went out to Montana for a two-week vacation from Minnesota going into Great Falls with Grandpa and Dad to the Case dealer to get the parts we needed. I even have a picture of me sitting on the tractor!
Grandpa didn't use it for much, just stuck a hitch ball on the draw bar and used it to pull a two-wheel trailer around.
When he passed away, the ranch stayed in the family and the house Grandpa had built was rented out. Well, sometime in the mid 1970's someone went to use the Case, put straight water in it and never drained it. It froze, cracking out a piece in the water jacket of the block and doing some other minor damage.
After some more years of sitting, my mother made arrangements with her cousin, a genuine 'fix anything' type of guy in Fort Benton, to take the tractor back to his place so he could weld the cast iron block back together and fix the other stuff, which was done. On one of my trips out west in the 1980's I got a battery and some gas, fired it up, aired up the tires and drove it out to the back acres to see how it ran. She ran great and I felt sorry putting it back in the shed for who knew how many more years.
Four yeas ago, I proposed to the other family member that I buy the tractor and bring it back to my place in Wisconsin. My wife and I drove the pick-up with a slide-in camper and a trailer out, loaded up the Case and sickle bar attachment and brought it back.
It still runs like a top, but it needs all new tires as the ones on it are dry-rotted away. The 'high-pressure' (drive belt pully) hydrolic pump leaks like a sieve and I still need to buy the mower I want to pull around to cut the weeds.
Dale Olson, WI, entered 2001-09-07
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