Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sepia Saturday: The Fordson Dexta tractor

Cutting firewood c1975
In the 1970s we bought a farm that was very run down. Nothing on the farm was in working order. The fences were numerous but all were old and had been mended numerous times with extra wire or posts, the house was old and hadn't been repaired at all and had no piped water, the outdoor toilet was way down in the orchard, the orchard was a completely untended (but surprisingly productive), the pasture couldn't be called pasture as it was full of weeds and bracken, the paddocks hadn't been levelled properly so were rough and bumpy and we couldn't stock the farm because the animals would have immediately wandered onto the roads through the broken fences and gates.

But it was cheap so we could afford it and we loved having some land we could call our own, and still do forty years later. Now it is in much better condition all round and is very productive. We no longer live there but we use the house as a holiday house and a local dairy farmer leases the paddocks.


So, the photo. The theme photo for this week's Sepia Saturday is of a tractor in Turkey. So I've chosen to match it with a photo of a tractor on our farm, taken about 1975. My husband and his father are cutting firewood for the wood-burning stoves in the house. The old house had a very old and inefficient wood stove and the only heating in the house was a small wood heater. Timber was in plentiful supply because we were gradually pulling down all the old fences but it had to be sawn into short lengths for the stoves. The photo shows a saw driven by the tractor and when I look at it now I'm amazed at how dangerous it is. It was noisy as well and neither worker is wearing ear protection. 

The tractor itself is a red and blue Fordson Dexta (don't know the model) that we borrowed from my father because at that stage we owned absolutely no farming machinery or equipment. I remember doing numerous turns around the paddocks when I was a child, with my dad driving and me (and sometimes other siblings as well) sitting on the wheel arch - completely unsafe of course but we kids survived our childhoods. We all learned to drive dad's tractors from an early age so we could help with the hay-making, feeding out and numerous other tasks around the farm. We still have a Fordson Major tractor but as it's no longer in working order it's a good restoration project for someone in the future.

You can more theme blog over on the Sepia Saturday page.

13 comments:

  1. That sounds like an interesting experience. I am reminded of the Whole Earth Catalog.

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  2. Yes I can totally relate!!! How we protect our children now compared to what we did! I wonder if we have disadvantaged them as there are so many rules now that they have not learnt to be careful and take responsibility..............or are too scared to try new things!

    Your tractor has reminded me of the one my father still has...............to put the boat in the ocean!

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  3. Your husband was a good looking fellow :-)

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  4. Your photograph reminded me of a belt-driven circular saw used on the farm when I was a little girl. I don’t remember how it was driven, maybe a tractor was hooked up to it, but I honestly can’t remember. What I do remember (vividly) is my brother pushing a log onto the saw blade and almost severing his thumb. There were no guards or safety features in those days. His thumb was sewn back on, but he never got full use from it. No industrial accident claims in those days so he had to have it sewn on and get back to work.

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  5. Reading the description of the farm when you bought it, I wondered, "What were you thinking??" But obviously you weren't afraid of hard work and inconvenience. And now you have a vacation home.

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  6. Great to hear of the transitions of the farm that had been run down, and what you did to be able to live there, for a while anyway.

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  7. My cousins had a lot of work to do on the family farm when they took it over from my Grand Uncle, and on the house as well but it runs like a well-oiled machine now, he was born to be a farmer.

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  8. A place to be proud of. You had the pioneer spirit.

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  9. I would guess your farm has become very valuable as farming is now "in" for younger retirees. Who could predict how these things work out? I love your "Cutting firewood" photo. Very arty sort of faded colors.

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  10. Hmmm - I think I misspoke in my comment to boundforoz's post when I said my husband used an axe to chop wood for our woodstove. In fact - he used a gasoline-fueled woodsplitter that he & several other fellows went in on together back when we heated with wood. It was a mite smaller than the machine you've pictured in your post, however. Sounds like that one does a bit more than just split wood!

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  11. Hey, Lorraine, how fun to see a Fordson at work (after having posted about a Fordson but not having photos of one at work). Your farm sounds like it was an awful lot of work. Good for you for keeping at it and making it productive. Sometimes I wonder how we survived our childhoods when there were no baby car seats or seat belts, no one used ear plugs or goggles, and did other things that we think of these days as stupid or dangerous. How did so many of us survive?! I'm glad you posted a photo of a Fordson. Thanks.

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  12. Full marks for hitting the theme! It's surprising how many Sepians have had a personal relationship with a tractor. And still have all their fingers too!

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  13. I love your fixer-upper farm project and old photo capturing past times! The tractor is a representation of those memories. I also think old rusted items can act as awesome yard sculptures. Even though the tractor doesn't run anymore, doesn't mean it isn't still purposeful! Thank you for sharing the story of this great photograph!

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I love to read your comments. Thankyou for your interest.

Lorraine