Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
I don’t know much about tractors. I live in Australia, which has quite a few farms. I live in Canberra, which is basically a country town, so near quite a few farms. I regularly see tractors in the nearby farms. More than this, we go out to the Murrambateman field day every year, which is like the Royal Show (State Fair, for the international visitors) crossed with a tractor meet. Unsuprisingly, there are tractors there. Big, shiny tractors. We walk around them, marvel at the size (and the shininess) and then walk off to join the queue for the cold drinks/hot food/portaloo, (the queue for the drinks or food depends on the temperature. There’s always a queue for the portaloos) having learnt nothing more about tractors.
So, equipped with my magazine, which I chose primarily because of the pretty red tractors in the pretty flower field, I figured I should do some preliminary research. Google it!
Tractors has about 25,800 000 hits, while Classic Tractor has only 727 000. Clearly, we’re dealing with a sub-genre here. In a google fight it loses miserably to classic cars, classic movies and classic music. I’m starting to feel bad for poor old Classic Tractor. To give it a better chance, I decide to pit the agricultural wonder of industrial revolution against its forebears. Yes! Against the classic plow, the classic plow horse and even the classic oxen the classic tractor finally comes into its own. (Though the classic oxen did put up a good fight.)
Reading through Classic Tractor, it's clear I have a bit of learning to do. I've worked out that MF stands for Massey Ferguson, but why this brand is so dominant I don't know. The magazine is part mechanics (grub screws are mentioned quite a bit), part aesthetics (a kitchen spray bottle and washing up liquid can make all the difference in applying decals to your tractor) and part collectors paradise. I need more coffee to get my head around what a grub screw actually does, but I have learnt something from the magazine already.
Tractors - even Classic Tractors - are expensive.
This is a used, refurbished tractor. It was made in 1968, purchased for around 1300 pounds, and driven for thousands of hours. When it stopped working in 2003, it was stripped down, repaired and refurbished. Then in May of this year, it sold again for 11, 800 pounds. That's over $21 700 in Australian money ($18 800 USD) - more than our car! For a tractor that's over 40 years old, has been used full time on a farm, and has already stopped working once. Guess Tony won't be getting a vintage tractor for Christmas after all.