First Things

Leslie C. McDaniel

Leslie C. McDaniel

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Welcome to Farm Collector! Pull up a chair and join a diverse group of collectors, restorers, history buffs, hobbyists and shade-tree mechanics. You may be a retired fanner. Or maybe you grew up on a farm, but left home for the city. Maybe you're a generation or more removed from the land. No matter: What brings us together is the country.

Farm Collector's roots are wrapped tight around the tools that first worked the country: antique tractors, horse-drawn machinery, implements, cream separators, windmills and a wagonload of tools. Whatever your background, chances are you treasure vintage farm equipment because it is the key to America's rural heritage.

Chances are equally good that those 'golden oldies' connect you to your past. A friend of mine - a former farm girl - lives in the country with her family. But she and her husband work fulltime in the city, so they rent their farmland. When activity on the rented ground reached a fever pitch this summer, the fellow farming the land apologised for the hubbub of tractors and equipment. "I didn't tell him, but I love it," she said happily. "I'd throw open the windows every day if I could hear those sounds. It just sounds like home, when I was a kid."

At Farm Collector, that's music to our ears, too. Each month, we'll look at the heritage of farming, as seen from many perspectives. In this issue, we've featured collectors of everything from hog oilers to John Deere classics, rolled up our sleeves for the tale of a comprehensive engine restoration, and looked backward at the ice harvests of old.

We hope you'll enjoy this first issue of Farm Collector, and by all means, let us hear from you! We welcome comments and suggestions, as well as reader contributions. If you have a memory of vintage farming practices, why not put pencil to paper? The cartoon on this page tells it all: A new generation can't fathom how farming was done before the era of air-conditioned cabs. But you may remember the day your dad got his first new tractor, or the way mom ran the cream separator, or the summer you worked on a threshing crew. Send your written recollections and/or photographs to Farm Collector, and we'll help keep the past alive through your stories.

It's a story told in regional accents, in hard times and good times, in youth and in old age. No matter. What brings us together is the country. FC