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.