Farm Implements Complete the Story of Farming Heritage
(Page 2 of 4)
My late father had coped with the idea of me buying a tractor, but when I told him I was thinking of buying a baler, he didn’t much like it. He seemed to think that what with me being female, well, I might just go and mangle myself in the baler. It was all slightly insulting, as what he was forgetting was that I was far too cautious to do something like that, whereas my brother, Wil, who was (and still is) male and a “proper farmer,” frequently did daft and dangerous things with farm implements (like kicking hay into the baler while it was running). He was actually far more likely to bale himself than I was.
When I told my dad that the baler I hoped to buy was a bargain at only £60, he scoffed even more, saying that it was unlikely that it would work, and did I have any idea just how complicated these things are to mend?
But I decided to give it a go anyway. After all, the scrap man said he’d give me £50 for it if it didn’t work, so I really only had a tenner to lose. I picked it up with my MF 35 from the farmer who owned it, just a couple of miles away. It took some maneuvering to get it through the gateway, which was a little embarrassing, and then half a mile down the road it had a puncture. So I had to unhitch it from the tractor, drive to the nearest tractor mechanic-type-chap to borrow a spare wheel, and drive back a second time because I couldn’t get the punctured one off due to the fact that the wheel nuts hadn’t been undone in decades. I was sweating a bit by then, what with the baler left in a rather stupid place on the side of the road. I was beginning to wonder if my dad had been right and that perhaps I wasn’t cut out for this.
A dose of old oil
Eventually, I got the old baler home. Whilst it had a certain war-torn appeal, I knew I should try to protect it from the weather, because it had virtually no paint left on it, just an aged patina of brown surface rust. The old stone outbuildings at my previous home had small doorways, so there was nowhere I could house the baler except under a piece of tarpaulin. I decided I would extend the life of my new and exciting implement by coating the entire machine in old engine oil. That was a move that would please my father to no end, as he was a great advocate of using old oil to preserve just about everything.
It took about five gallons to completely coat every inch of the baler with gloopy black stuff. I poured it over every cog, chain and surface, until I had a jet black, gangster-style baler, and a big black baler-shaped patch in the field. I found a grease gun and greased every nipple, then I drove into the hayfield, and miraculously, the rig baled hay (though the first two bales were slightly oily, it must be said)! I learned a bit as I went along, found how to adjust bale size and weight, and I discovered that I absolutely loved baling.