The Crole family at Simpson in south-west Victoria has made a habit of appearing in Australia’s top 100 milk quality lists, and that’s a habit they want to continue.
Whilst you only caught up with the details a month ago, I’ve had considerably longer than that to poke and prod, and put the old girl through her paces.
Well, I’d like to say that’s the order it went in.
‘First, I’ll get her home, then I’ll give her a good service and a thorough look over, then I’ll see what she can do’.
In the event, you may remember that trying to get hay off the paddock late last year was a bit of a nuisance. Long periods of patience, interspersed with bursts of racing against the clock before the next 5mm of rain arrived.
Long story short, the first weekend after the Ford arrived was dry, so with little more than a check of the fluids the small square baler was hooked up and off we went.
The old Ford hasn’t looked back since. It’s been on the baler, haybob, hay forks, slasher, land plane and 8’ grader blade, only letting me down once when I discovered the hard way that the fuel gauge doesn’t work.
In an unrelated and rare fit of Deutz-induced rage (and briefly forgetting that tractors are inanimate objects) I nearly hooked it up to the 3.2m hay mower, because ‘that’ll learn ‘em’.
I reckon it would have done the job – possibly with the front wheels off the ground.
After an experience or two tedding by moonlight, I took to the electrical system with a 12 volt tester, yielding more questions than answers about this machine’s past.
It wasn’t that hard to get power to the driving lights (one of which promptly blew), and subsequently replace them with an LED light bar.
Getting a current to the back of the machine proved to be more of a challenge, and was only achieved when removal of the correct section of dash revealed that several wires had been disconnected from the master light switch.
Probably for good reason, but there’s only one way to find out. Plugging them back in also restored the dash lighting, so now I can see the non-functioning fuel gauge at night too!
A new mystery awaited when I picked up the cover of the fuse box from the cab floor to reattach it.
Upon discovering that it no longer fitted, a search amongst the floor detritus produced a second cover, perfectly matched to what I must now assume is not this tractor’s original fuse box. Interesting.
After a few weeks of shaking the spiders loose, I finally removed no less than 10 litres of dirt, broken glass, spider webs, rotted trim and rusted nuts from the cabin, and had the back window replaced with a monstrous sheet of laminated glass more suited to a suburban passenger train.
I can confirm that sitting on the window sill trying to support a 30kg sheet of glass on your knees whilst holding both ends of the recessed bolts to reattach it is not fun.
Glass in, the spiders have been bombed, so only the hardened ones remain.
Another surprise awaited the first drive post-cabin sealing. After 10 years of very occasional use, and a 2 year stretch with nothing at all, the air conditioner is still blowing cold air!
Probably dust, pollen, spiders and Legionnaires Disease as well – but cold air! Just in time for the end of summer…