Sunday, 20 January 2013

Mystical and Magical Machinery.

Two Ford 4000 Tractors 'resting' in a West Cork scrapyard.  
2 Zetor tractors 'waiting' to be placed in containers and shipped to Poland and Eastern Europe.  

A little plough.  She would just fit on my Ford 3000 tractor.  Only eighty Euros.  Hmm....  I am very tempted.
We spent Saturday morning looking for a Ford 4000 tractor.  I sold my 2 heifers last week and number one son says he wants a 'restoration' project.   So we contacted a really amiable tractor mechanic/restorer and he showed us around a scrapyard and took us to a farm to look at some Ford tractors.  I have a little Ford 3000 and she is about forty years old.  I christened her 'Anna Ford' after the BBC newsreader.  The silage bales seem to be getting bigger and bigger.  So I decided to get a Ford 4000.  The tractor mechanic gave our 'new' tractor the once over and said he would buy her.  So I bought her and I'm going to buy some Ford parts from him, when he delivers her tomorrow.  We will have to give her and name and find her somewhere to live in.  God bless all the little tractors.  Anybody got any farm machinery renovation projects on the go?  Will post some pictures of her when she arrives.  The timer on my digital camera is still displaying the wrong dates. Sorry about that folks.


  1. Don't think yu'd get a little plough any better than 80 Euros, looks like a project No 1 son might enjoy restoring.

    The old tractors are probably a more rugged breed than the modern monsters, they've usually suffered decades of neglect and abuse and still manage to perform. The Flookborough "fishermen without boats" used the little Massey Fergusons and Fordson Majors of the 50s and 60s to travel out over the sands to set nets and trawl for shrimps, a hazardous occupation. I was told that occasionally they got bogged down and abandoned to the incoming tide, rescued the next low tide, drained of salt water, changed oil, fitted a fresh battery and fired up again. Hard little machines if it's true.

    Looking forward to pictures of Ford 4000 "before".

    Since you've already got Anna Ford, what about callng it Henry Ford, "You can have any colour you like as long as it's black"

  2. Hi Cumbrian, Yes I am very very tempted to purchase the plough. Some times though you have got to shout:


    It would be so easy to spend lots of money every week on farm machinery and improving the land.

    Passed a couple of deserted farms yesterday. Collapsed red corrugate iron roofs on the fine stone outbuildings and dwelling. So sad. Why doesn't somebody do a survey on any many rural empty and derelict properties there are? Who knows what treasure hides in those old buildings? Old tractors, Model T Ford, Threshing machines, beet pulpers....?

    The tractor mechanic said the old tractors are made so much stronger than the new machinery. His brother paid a fortune for a baler in 2007 and already it's full of rust.

    The Flookborough fishermen tractors sound incredible.

    Will post Ford 4000 pictures when she arrives.

    Henry Fords grandfather came from West Cork. So it would be appropriate, wouldn't it? I always thought vehicles like boats, trains or tractors were always christened a she? Think they (Ford s were made in England and assembled in Cork?

    Did you ever see the legendary train scrapyard in Barry Island in South Wales? I would have loved to have seen it.

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  3. Really sad the way the old rural properties have fallen into dereliction, scandalous, legalised passive vandalism.
    The owners probably have no interest in them, and yet there's so much potential there, they've stood for a long time, and with just a bit of TLC could stand for a long time yet. But take it from one who'se tried to buy a derelct unused barn from a farmer, for some reason they just won't either do anything with them or sell them. I can understand it when the derelict forms part of their home farm buildings, but some of them are in remote locations and don't seem connected to any use. As you say, slates with a lifespan of centuries either stolen or stripped for sale and replaced with corrugated tin sheeting which has a lifespan measured in months.

    Yes, I suppose you're right, always call your machine by a womans name, the similarities I can think of are tempremental, incosistent and take a lot of warming up?
    What about Bessie? An old-fashioned no-nonsense ring to it?

    Don't know where Fords were made or assembled, but look on the dock-side at Hull, there's acres of marshalling yards with hundreds of big green John Deere tractors, and the occasional Claas combines, dunno if they're coming in or going out?
    At North Shields ferry port there's similar acres and thousands of new motors cars and Transit vans, I've seen them off-loading a big boat, each one driven off by a specially-selected moron at about 50 mph and parked about 6" apart.
    At IJmuiden they seem to specialise in the huge yellow earth-moving Matsui machines, dunno if they're bound in or out.
    Never noticed any at Zeebrugge, but the Hull-bound passenger and freight truck ferries have a different berth to the commercial stuff.

    Never seen (or heard of) the Barry Island train cannibal heap.

    Still bloody cold here, had a walk along part of the C2C cycle way this morning, an ex railway line, ice on the puddles.
    Raggy cat asked to go out early today, been missing all day, just come in now, milk and biccies, then at fireside.

  4. I have a little grey fergie sitting idle. I wish I had the mechanical knowledge to get her working again.

  5. Hi Cumbrian. I can't believe how many derelict properties there are in the countryside. But it's private property so nobody can do anything about them. Imagine if the farmers/land owners would rent them out or sell them cheap to people who want to work the land?

    I personally think that smallholding is far too lonely and isolated and it would be far better if there were communities sharing their land, skills and machinery.

    We've had a car called Bessie. What about 'Britney Gears'? A play on the singer Britney Spears name? May be not. We'll probably call her something like: Maggie.

    I wish somebody would start manufacturing cheap little tractors like the Massey Ferguson or the Ford.

    Very cold here, but dry. Cattle are loving the straw. Think it's oat, because it's bleached more than the barley straw we had before.

    Took your advice. Plough is coming tomorrow with tractor. Going to grow some Fodder beet for cattle. We need a pulper next. More money. Will get one next time sell some cattle, hopefully that is.

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  6. Hi John, Is the Fergie petrol or diesel? Do you know any old farmers or tractor mechanics? She's worth money even if she won't go, be it for scrap or a restoration project. Any chance of a blog about your grey fergie with some pictures? Perhaps we blog writers and readers can raise some money to get her going again?

  7. Don't think you'll ever convince the big farmers to sell off little bits of land with a derelct building, it seems to be a mind-set they all have. The answer went something like "If I sell you that building and a plot, all you'll give me is cash, and in time I'll spend that cash, then have no building and no cash".
    I don't know what the answer is to that?

    Can't see a reason not to have a plough you can manage with the Fords, so I think you'll make everybody happy, the seller is 80 euros up, No 1 son has a rainy day project, and you'll have a way to grow fodder beet (Have fun lifting it), so seems to be win-win all round.
    You've got a few months to find a pulper, used to use a chipper for swede, ran off a little diesel engine, throw the swede in a wooden chute abut 5' high, the chips came out into a barrow underneath; none of your labour-saving technology there. Guess it's what you need for beets?

    Yes, they make and sell small cars for under £10,000, and that includes all the tax and VAT, so I don't think it should be so difficult to set a production line up making rugged little tractors, they don't need any refinements, for the same or less. Sure there'd be a demand for them, it's a global market-place now.

    Maggie sounds fine, my favourite Scottish ballad.

    We got our snow we've been threatened with, only about 1" laying this morning, shouldn't affect anything. Not that much bothered, got plenty in the cupboards, freezers and cellar to last a long time. As long as the water stays on.
    Raggy cat survived the snow OK, waiting at front door this morning. It got the gristly bits from the ox-tail I'm making soup with for breakfast, seems happy with them.
    (About 10 sections from the thin end of the tail, last-minute reduced by Tesco, 18p, been in slow cooker overnight with diced potatoes and onions, bits taken out, meat stripped from bones and thrown back in, barley added, left simmering, should be just right by dinner time. Need to get a loaf on now)

  8. Hi Cumbrian, Thanks for that. You're right there is no answer to the landowners mind set. It's similar to empty shops in the high street. If they only got a rent of twenty five pounds a week, it would be better than them standing idle. In Ireland I have read there are derelict farmsteads that people left when they emigrated years a go and nobody knows who owns the land now. Probably nobody.

    My uncle used to have a Furze machine and a beet chopper which you turned an handle to operate.

    Hopefully if the land ever dries up. We will plough the land and set some crops. It will be good crop rotation, give the and heart and hopefully some winter feeding for us (swedes) and the cattle (Fodder beet). Then we can turn it back to grass and plough another field next year. That's the idea, any way.

    The tractor mechanic told me the 2 Fords in the picture will be renovated. He said most things can be brought back to life. You just replace the worn out parts - brilliant logic.

    He says he's got all the brand new parts of a small Ford tractor. But it would take months to build it. The reason the Third world farmers want the old Fords is because they can make any parts them selves. I would love to see a new little tractor being built in the British Isles.

    We got a covering of sleet today. Range lit. cattle inside scoffing straw. Tractor and plough supposed to arrive this afternoon. Number one son thinks it's Christmas. Your soup is just what you need. Corned beef hash for us tonight. Not very appetising but it fills you up.

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  9. Yes, the ownerless derelicts, but you can bet your bottom note if you take it over and improve it, somebody will crawl out of the woodwork and claim ownership.

    Sure you'll do a good job with the crop rotation, it was standard practice decades, even centuries ago, something the monocrop big machine men have forgotten. I wonder how long they can keep up with ever-increasing application of chemical fertilisers, inesecticides, pesticides, etc, etc. before costs outweigh returns?

    I like your tractor mechanics attitude, we're sometimes a bit too quick to replace rather than repair. And if not-so-well-developed countries can make spare parts, I don'r see why we can't.
    Watching a proramme last night (a rare event) called "How Britain Worked" about a 130-tear-old sawmill driven by water power with some sort of turbine which utilised 2 tubes for out-fall water into a trench in the river-bed which created a vortex and increased power output dramatically. Was to be renovated by a property developer about 8 years ago, but taken over by a bunch of local enthusiasts and brought back to life as a working mill. Everything was original, renovated using original materials and methods, worked perfectly. The turbine, 130 years old and working solid for probably something like 100 of those years, required the renovation of only 1 vane. He used the saws to make a wooden bicycle from a dead elm he felled by pulling it over with a traction engine,using traditional iron-shod wooden spoke wheels, all made in traditional manner. And showed us how they tanned cowhide for the drive belts using dog-shit (Yeah really, tanners were shunned)
    So much for modern technology.
    Same bloke followed the renovation of a steam locomotive last week, another labour of love I suppose, but what a magnificent beast when it's finished and working.
    Sure you'd love to see the series, it's about our engineering achievmants and heritage, did you know for a long time, Britain made 80% of the worlds push-bikes?
    Think it was a chanel called More 4, it's No 14 on our idiots lantern.
    Chanel called Yesterday, (No 12 on our set) 1700 this afternoon, Edwardian Farm might be worth a look.

    Snowing but not heavy and not laying.
    Raggy cat asleep in front of fire, I'd lost it but found it asleep on a black bag (it blenda in) near radiator. Little sod always seems to find a nice warm comfy place.

  10. Hi Cumbrian, thanks for sending me the book: 'Muck But No Money". It really is kind of you - thanks! I will send you some of my smallholding books that I have read, very soon.

    It sounds like you watch the programmes I watch. I saw the one with the Yorkshire lad making the bike, rivets in the pier in Llandudno and the tanning. I know of a West Cork light engineering company that's just had a new waterwheel installed. The owner told me he will save a third in leccy (electricity) bills.

    I have watched all the Farm series: Tales from the Green valley, Victorian farm, Edwardian farm, War Time Farm. They are all archaeologists who pretend to live on a farm in the past. You can buy their DVD's and see extracts on You Tube. I really liked the tales from the Green Valley. It's set in the times of King James.

    A lot of new Ford parts for sale on Ebay are made in India. Once heard that they bought the blue prints for the Morris Traveller and Minor (nineteen fifties/sixties cars) and made brand new ones for today. Who needs the microchip when you can repair and make do with old tractors?

    Sleet melting. Think it will freeze tonight. Good old Raggy cat.

  11. Sure and you'll enjoy reading that book, it's only small but there's a series of them.

    And I forgot to mention the water-turbine-generated power was completely silent. Free power on available on every river in the UK, and there's plenty of them; silent, non-polluting, work all day and every day; all it takes is a bit of thought. I really don't understand why more use is not made of this infinitely renewable resource.
    10 / 10 to the West Cork firm.
    Saw mills, flour mills, and we had bobbin mills in the Lake District, all powered by water.
    Are we really progressing?

    Haven't seen much TV, I never watched it for years, didn't even own one for 4 or 5 years. But since my wife developed her back complaint and became house-bound, we've got a big screen, mostly for her, but I've noticed there's a few programmes I'm quite interested in, and they put sub-titles for us poor people who don't have very good hearing.

    I owned two Morris Minors, one of them had a split windshield, fine little motors, easy to repair and fairly reliable fot the times. Maybe they'll start building them and selling them to us? Well, they did that with the Beetle, my dughter-in-law has one, not a bad-looking car.

    Been snowing very gently today, hasn't laid at all though, seems a bit warmer so it's melting now.
    Raggy cat just been put out for its afternoon meander, it'll be waiting for me coming home from shopping.

  12. Hi Cumbrian, I totally agree with you when you ask:

    "Are we really progressing?"

    Places like Cumbria, Wales and Ireland should be exporting water, we have that much of it. In places like Saudi Arabia the have de-salination plants to remove salt from the sea water. We should be using a lot more wave power and water wheels. Talking of water. The taps in the Haggard are frozen this morning, so cattle can't have a drink yet. If they don't thaw I will have to go to a stream with some buckets - happy days.

    Tractor never arrived yesterday. Tractor man couldn't get hold of trailer, hopefully this afternoon. Talking of tractor. Anna Ford, my little tractor had a flat tyre yesterday morning. It was like she was saying:

    "I'll show em, getting another tractor."

    Goat was tethered near tractor though. Me thinks his horn may be the culprit for puncturing tyre. Spent a good hour trying to undo 'Imperial' nuts with 'Metric' sockets and spanners. It cost fifteen Euros to repair it.

    Sorry to hear about your wife's back problems any your hearing. Wife tells me I am deaf. Years of listening to heavy rock music. I always say why does it have a volume control if you want to listen to so quiet? My other rant is the hoover. 2013 and they can't make a noiseless vacuum cleaner.

    The Morris Minors were excellent. They used to have semaphores for indicators, didn't the? I looked at a Beetle in the scrapyard, but it's floor had gone, sadly.

    Been sprinkling salt outside and giving cattle straw. Wonderful snow covered mountain landscape over the bay. Hope we get some rain to wash it away today. Then hopefully it will dry up and we'll get ploughing. Still can't get on veg patch.

    Thanks Cumbrian. .

  13. Sorry about typos. Must get better reading glasses. Could do with a new computer too. It's taking ages to boot. Perhaps it's Google Chrome or the weather?

  14. Yes, I often wonder about "progress" and if it really is, they say "There's nothing new under the sun", so a lot of progress is just a different take on an existing theme?

    Doesn't sound like much fun hauling water to the beasts, can't the beasts go to the water?

    The old Morris Minors had the semaphore incicators, with little bulbs in so they lit up, at least in theory. They weren't the most reliable of things, and my driving test (1968) included giving hand signals "for when the indicators didn't work".
    I also ownwd a split windscreen Beetle, it was left hand drive, quite a rarity then, re-registered, it appeared to be 2 years old when I got it.

    Sometimes if you clean your pc out, get rid of too many old files, clear the desk-top, do a defrag (unless it's done automatically) if it speeds up. I have to do it occasionally, I tend to clutter my screen with too much rarely-used stuff. Or it could be the weather.

    Doubt it'll be a bit before you'll be ploughing, unless we get some really exceptional good weather soon.

    Sunshine and blue sky here, snow just about all gone, a bit warmer even.
    Raggy cat in its usual fireside sleeping position. Mrs says she was allowed to check it for fleas, and none found.

  15. Yes I think the modern world is too fast to throw away or disregard the old ways. Horses and small tractors have far more respect for the land. Mechanization is one of the major causes of rural employment. I am not suggesting slavery, but it would be good to see farm labourers working the land again instead of one man with a giant tractor or combine harvester.

    The water tap eventually thawed and I filled up the water barrels.

    Could you still give the semaphore hand signals if your battery indicators don't work?

    Think my pc is getting old. I bought it from one of those mail order catalogues about five years a go. Suppose you get what you pay for. Would love an Apple PC. Thanks for the advice though. I will give it a go.

    Tractor arrived this afternoon. Will post pictures of 'Maggie' tomorrow. Cab and old mudguards taken off. Number one son very happy.

    Supposed to freeze tonight. Cattle inside scoffing straw. Gave more straw to Bracken the pony. Goat in barn. Terrier asleep on tiles above hot water pipes. Good old Raggy cat. He is obviously very well looked after.


  16. Yes, big machines versus lots of men.
    Think about it logically, all that's happened is that jobs have been exported to countries that build the machines and produce the oil to keep them going.
    It's not slavery, it might be hard work at peak times, but it's not unremitting like a production line factory, and there's slack periods in the farming year.

    Looking forward to pics of Maggie "before".

    Your animals seen to have a good home, Raggy cat just come in, milk and biccies, now sleeping on my Chesterfield throne.
    Not too cold this morning, overcast.

  17. I think it's getting the right balance. It's good to have some machinery to help you around the smallholding. But it's also good to do some physical work like digging, mucking out, stacking bales of hay or tyres onto a silage pit. I don't like the modern farming approach that you get all your food from the supermarket.

    You are right farming is not working on a production line. But it's one of the most dangerous occupations. The isolation is no good for the mind or spirit and changing weather and fluctuating livestock prices make it very difficult at times.

    Don't think we will ever see the working classes living and working in the countryside again. Rural living seems to be for the rich with their holiday and weekend homes and for the big farmers with their enormous machinery.

    Tractor is now minus it's cab and mudguards. Tractor mechanic rewiring her today so she doesn't set on fire. We also had to order a new exhaust manifold. More money. The lads are happy though and tractor talk is on all our lips, except for missus.

    Still frosty in parts. Rain on its way this afternoon. I hope we get a summer this year. Terrier sleeping on sheepskin rug.

  18. Oh, I wonder what your “new tractor” looks like. :’) My father prefers buying a used tractor than a new one. I think he just enjoys doing his own restoration projects. He really works hard to give his tractor a completely new look. He always amazes me with the finished project. His old tractor really looks nothing like it used to!

  19. Thanks for this posting. The information which you have provided is very good. Keep sharing such ideas in the future as well.

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