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The Manure Spreader: Sexy tractor

Tim Moffett for Progressive Dairyman Published on 18 July 2016

As a kid, I would see pictures of big, new, shiny tractors in the magazines and remember thinking, “One day, I’ll have one of those.” Now, 40-plus years later, I have the willpower to breeze right over those advertisements – because I could never afford one.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a couple of tractors. Are they advertising- or print-worthy? Well, one of them hasn’t run in years. You could see it in the classified section under “boat anchors.” The other would be a good write-up in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. I’d love to share with you what brand of tractor I own, but that might be a problem.

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The name of my tractor is “Ms. Frankenstein.” The engine, which I acquired at a yard sale, came from a Case 930. I traded my pastor two Holstein bull calves for the Oliver Super 88 transmission and rear end. You might ask, “How did you ever fit the pieces together?” Two words: newly released parolee with a cutting torch and a 48-pack.

The axles were from a 686 IH High Crop, and the seat/steering wheel combo I took out of an old van. The front hood says it’s a Massey Ferguson, but the rear fender has a New Holland sticker on it. She is purdy. In fact, Kenny Chesney wrote about it in a song, “She Thinks My Tractor’s Pre-Op Sexy.”

My tractor is gentle and rare ... like a fine wine you might buy at the gas station. Don’t think I just hop on that tractor and go. No sir, we have rituals ... much like getting through an IRS audit.

First thing, unhook the battery charger. I can’t justify buying a $100 battery when every day, all I have to do is string 16 extension cords together like Christmas lights, trip over them twice and use a hose clamp to hold the charger wire on the battery terminal.

Second, I always make sure to top off the hydraulic fluid. At $47 a gallon for hydraulic fluid, why would I even consider replacing a $0.30 O-ring? Third, the left rear tire needs air; I’ll fix that tomorrow. I just need to fill the hole with a large screw covered in chewing gum. All it takes to start her is a screwdriver and some WD-40. We are then good to go for at least two hours before the fuel filter plugs up.

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Don’t judge me, people. I wouldn’t have written about this if I thought I were the only one with these kind of mad mechanic skills. In fact, the Mill Road Thresherman’s Association asked me to enter “Ms. Frankenstein” in the tractor pull this year at the 35th annual show in July.

I declined for the simple reason that I would hate to embarrass a bunch of corn and bean farmers who have been working on their tractors all winter. Plus the fact I know my tractor couldn’t make it out of the driveway without breaking down.  PD

To all of you who support Progressive Dairyman and read my articles, I would like to say thank you. Listen up! If you’re in the Illinois area and like antique tractors, hot-rod lawn mowers and want to see me live in concert, I will be performing for Mill Road Thresherman’s 35th Annual Show on July 22, 2016, at 7 p.m. at the Effingham County Fairgrounds in Altamont, Illinois.

For more info about Tim’s Illinois appearance, visit Mill Road Threshermans Association.

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