Tuesday, September 09, 2008

There won't be a nice new tractor in my future.

And I'm totally fine with that.

I'm rather irritated with the John Deere corporation right now.  Some bean counter who works in an office has decided that it'll be more profitable to close the plant in Welland, Ontario and move it down to Mexico.  That way, with 800 Ontario jobs lost, and 800 Mexicans being exploited for cheap labour, the only people who benefit are the guys in suits who likely have never even sat on a tractor.

Whatevs.  So I won't be buying a Gator any time soon.  I don't want or need one.

I never have planned on buying a brand spanking new tractor.  I just like the old ones better!  I don't want a plastic dash, or a computer telling the engine when to fire, or an air conditioned cab.  Maybe if I was out harvesting 200 acres of crops I'd want that, but I won't have a huge industrial farm.  I just don't need a big new tractor.  Or a slick little one.  I want a funky old tractor that works.  

I found these on the weekend.

John Deere 1120.  Made from 1967 to 1975.  It's a 51hp 3 cylinder diesel.  You know how my Jethro feels about diesel.  He'd love to fill his Jetta from a big tank of red farm diesel in front of his garage.  

As far as my old man is concerned, if we want a diesel tractor it should be a David Brown.  You just don't see many of them, but also, I simply can't stray from my green and yellow upbringing.  My dad spend the 70s farming with his three tractors: a 1948 AR, which has a story and is in pieces in the barn, waiting for me; a 1958 430- the same one Dad uses daily, recently restored and regularly featured here on Hick Chic; and a tall diesel 70 (I think 50s vintage) that spent most of its time getting fixed.  Hmm, perhaps that's why Dad's not totally thrilled with the John Deere diesel.  I'd think it was much improved by the 70s though.  My ongoing research will tell me.

The tractor discussion can really drag out when I'm with my guys.  Dad says after 1960 it's not really a John Deere anyways, because that's when they discovered that there's more to life than Two Cylinders.  Things really did go downhill after that.  No more of that wonderful rhythmic puttputtputtputt puttputtputtputt.  

Jethro says his favourite tractor is the Ford 9N.  I agree that it's a truly great tractor.  

I'd also agree that the Massey 35 is a classic.  

But I gotta go Green.  I spent my entire childhood knowing that Nothing Runs Like a Deere.  

How can I bring myself to have any other?

There were three 1120s on the lot on Saturday, all in great shape.  One even had a loader on it!  I want a loader.  It's an essential piece of gear for moving manure and you know how much I love moving manure.  They sell for about $5000 from what I can see, so I'm not getting one anytime soon, but maybe in a year or so I can afford it.  

I like the big Deere badge right there on the front.  It's like a belt buckle.  It's like a big eye.  I'd name my tractor The Cyclops.  

Thirty years from now I'll be the chick  version of my old man, grumbling about how my old tractor's better than that new crap they make these days down in Mexico.  I'll sit on my porch and shake my head, squint my leathery eyes and croak, "They just don't make 'em like they used to."


JKB said...


When I was little my dad would drag the family to the yearly John Deere Party at the John Deere subsidiary for the state. Wowza.

Raffle with John Deere. Singing jumped up songs about John Deere. Green beer.

So I'm feeling ya. They just don't make them like they used to.

(I'm partial to the old red internationals, myself)

CindyDianne said...

I call the Massey "my" tractor. About the same size as a Massey 35, but about 8 years newer.

I grew up with International H. It's still sitting up there, not running.

I don't know a lot about tractors really. I pretty much grew up driving the ones that my grandpa told me to drive and doing whatever it was that my grandpa told me to do with it.

CindyDianne said...

But, John Deere made in Mexico? Just doesn't seem right.

Heidi the Hick said...

Cindy, I agree... it just doesn't seem right.

I like the old red Internationals, too! My dad's cousin had one, and the new people from Holland bought it with the farm. They still use it for raking hay. (You should see the monstrosities they use for everything else...)

Jkb- green beer? I don't know... just doesn't seem right...!

My dad's in an antique tractor club now. I need to write about that soon.

captain corky said...

I bet John Deere is rolling over in his grave right now. Was there ever a John Deere?

Heidi the Hick said...

Yep, there really was a John Deere.

He was a blacksmith and made plows.


dilling said...

yeah...they USED to be in Iowa, too....where my family came from. No more...
And Levis? the American Jeans? closed their last North American plant..
you gotta fine another tractor, I gotta find a new pair a jeans...probably just as difficult!

Tod said...

Our shiny new German engineered VW Jetta Sport came from, you guessed it, Mexico, earlier this year. Of course they then had to ship it to Germany for quality control checks before shipping it again to us in England. Insane.

Heidi the Hick said...

Tod- you'd think with the cost of shipping it would be worth building the darn things in Europe. Or build the cars for the European buyers in...Europe. Yeah, insane. When we bought our Jetta wagon in 2003, Jethro was just tickled when he found out that the wagons are built in Germany. While I'm on the subject, our Jetta's paid off now! I love that car. VW rocks. Wouldn't it be great to build a VW plant in place of that soon to be empty John Deere plant in Welland...

Dilling- Levis aren't made in North America anymore either? What the heck? I mean, I always buy them second hand anyways but geez.

CindyDianne said...

Oh, and Justin Boots?


Heidi the Hick said...


hayseed said...

Heidi, I hear you on needing a tractor-but my husband the farm boy grew up fixing them after each breakdown (and fixing, and fixing,etc...) and is not as enthusiastic about it. I'll have to ask him what kind they had. We hand-spread our manure (middle ages, anyone?). It taught him to be really mechanical, though.

Real Live Lesbian said...

Ahhh yes, the pink hair!

I actually love the whole pink horse thing!