Part 1 - Antique Tractor Photos
(Been In Love Since 12 - With Tractors!)
Show Photos - Unstyled John Deere D and B
JD 435 (2-cyl GM diesel) & Farmall H (fine machine)
Part 2 - How Could A Grown Man Be Nuts About Old Farm Tractors?
I befriended a farmer who worked some ground owned by the private high school I attended (actually jumped onto his drawbar while he was plowing one day) and started working for him every moment I was not in school or studying. I fell in love with farming and tractors. I particularly liked moldboard plowing (in fact, still do and crave it every Spring). The farmer, Erwin Sellenriek, who farmed his own land as well as what he rented, taught me well. It was heady stuff for a 12 yr. old - driving a powerful machine and producing a fine seed bed in (usually) lush fields. My work was both enjoyable and valued. The fields were scenic and alive. My companions were crows, hawks and other birds with occasional visits by foxes, rabbits, blacksnakes, plowed-up gophers and such. I also learned to fence, butcher (hogs), combine, grade and plow snow from roads, and lots of other things.
The first two summers while living on the farm I worked for the same school where I had met Erwin, mostly sickle-bar mowing with an early AC B and a John Deere H. I continued working for Erwin and became intimately acquainted with bales. Figured out loose hay, too, by working for a neighbor (Joe Blank) who farmed with a team (a Belgian and a Percheron) and filled his big barn with enough hay every summer to feed them all winter. I became fast friends with Joe, who was as fine a man as any I've known, and later named my first son after him. Joe loved the fields, his life in them, his creator and his fellow man. In his later years he switched from horses to a tractor, but he missed his team for a long time when he did. But Joe got attached to his tractor, too. It was a fine Farmall Super A with a Woods mower.
Those two summers I earned enough to buy my first tractor, a fine but hydraulically-deficient Massey-Harris 44-6. This was later traded for a John Deere 530 (whose distinctive two-cylinder sound I remember fondly), and enough tools to take on our family farm (mostly wheat, soybeans and alfalfa). Also struck a deal with Erwin that got me into Polled Herefords with our pasture. I continued all this until I finished high school and joined the Air Force. I ended up a KC-135 crew chief before my 4-yr. hitch ended and I left to pursue an Ag. degree.
While in service, I worked part time for a tomato warehouse in South Florida and took a month's leave in summer to go back and pitch bales and stories with Erwin. To help support myself and family later in college (already had two kids), I raised strawberries (irrigated from a nearby creek with a gas Maytag washing machine engine), made a little bit of money on a vegetable patch and also worked for Bobby Keenan in his cotton gin in Dardenelle, Arkansas.
Since college I have worked for several farm machinery manufacturers in marketing and direct sales, and even after leaving the business some years ago for high-tech, I have always stayed in touch with farming.
Part 3 - Links To Antique (And Some New) Tractor Sites
-----------Antique (say, pre-1960) Tractors---------
---------------------New Tractors & Equipment-------------------
THRESHEREE - Mostly photos I took at the 1996 Rock River Thresheree in Edgerton, Wisconsin. This is an antique farm machinery and threshing show held annually over the Labor Day weekend. This page has steam and other antique tractors as well as some of the good people I talked to on my day at the show.
TULARE SHOW - Some of the interesting tractors and good people at the California Antique Farm Equipment Show (April 19 & 20, 1997)
NORTH TEXAS SHOW - Sights and info from a pleasant weekend at the North Texas Antique Tractor and Engine Show in Dallas (June 7 & 8, 1997)
Rollag - A picture book from my visit to the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion, Rollag, MN (Labor Day Weekend, 1997)
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Chuck Bealke, 01/06/01