I come from a long line of frugal farmers who stretch a dollar, and I really hate to see money leave my checking account if it isn’t going to something practical. Well, at least most of the time—until it is something that strikes a chord in my farm heart. Just this week, though, I gladly took on two expenses that aren’t practical or even rational.
First we bought a crappy piece of ground that is boggy, soggy and completely devoid of any redeeming value other than it’s right by our homeplace. That seemed to be enough for us to pull out the checkbook and pay a premium for those 10 acres—and be happy the deal was done.
Next, we had my old John Deere MT hauled in to be fully restored. The poor neglected thing had to be winched onto the trailer. It’ll be weeks before I know how much I’ve "invested" in the preservation, but there’s no doubt that it will be way more than the $1,200 it cost brand new in the early 1950s.
I’m just grateful that the guy rebuilding it will make it as perfect as it can be. That’s really what I’m after. As a little girl, it was the first tractor I fell in love with, and I thought that two-cylinder could do anything!
These days there’s hardly anything it can do. The tricycle front-end tractor was one of the first to feature dual-control Touch-O-Matic hydraulics that let each side raise independently. It was sold with a pledge of delivering 14 hp and tested at putting out 18 hp—less than our front-mount lawn mower.
No matter, it doesn’t have to earn it’s keep. As I explained to one of my friends, "investments" in land and antique tractors don’t have to make sense.
- February 2013