Hacking down on the farm

By Joseph Angelino

Sun Columnist

With clock-like regularity my Massey Ferguson tractor has kept me active this year with wrenches, blood, sweat and almost tears. From one end to the other, inside and out I have kept busy tinkering and learning how to keep this 42-year-old utility tractor running.

Adding to the learning experience is my Massey’s stable mate in the barn, an International front end loader owned by a friend. The age of the loader is unknown, but I’m guessing I was in high school when it was shiny and new. Between the two of us, working together, we have overcome each mechanical issue that was thrown at us. Thankfully no one’s livelihood depends on the use of this equipment. There are neither crops going to waste nor any animals depending on the use of these tractors.

Every time a new mechanical, hydraulic, fuel or electrical challenge was thrown at me I’d get out the shop manual to diagnose the problem, and then go to YouTube to see how others have actually fixed the issue. Another thing that happens every time my tractor broke down is the thought of young George Staley working on his family dairy in Lincklaen, NY in the 1930’s. The late Mr. Staley related he, and all farmers, were good at troubleshooting and improvising fixes to keep machinery running in order to keep the farm operating. “Cows don’t take a day off” he commented. There weren’t many mechanics to call during the depression years even if the farm was lucky enough to have a telephone. I’m sure it was his experience on the farm in Lincklaen made him into such a successful businessman in the aircraft maintenance industry.

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