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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Aug 5, 2016

My dad, who passed away in 1999 at age 82, would have been 99 years old this Sept. 2. My wife said next year we should have a family gathering in honor of his 100th birthday. I thought that was a good idea.

We have a year to pass the word around to the family members well in advance so everyone can be here for the celebration.

We still have a few of his tractors parked in sheds and a couple of them are still on the job. One is an International Harvester 3616 diesel industrial model with a bucket and the other is a Steiger Series II Turbo Tiger, the one powered by a Cummins 903.

There is also a John Deere 4010 diesel here that he bought new after trading in the 720 diesel on it. I have wondered what became of the 720, but without a serial number, there is no way to find it.

These tractors, oh yes, his 4020 diesel Powershift (he traded the 830 in on that one) is also here. They would make a fun display and we could add his Minneapolis-Moline G4 combine from the mid-1940s and New Holland wire tie baler from the mid-1950s with the tractors.

That got me thinking that next summer is my 70th birthday and there are tractors around here I would like to see out in the sun starting with the IH 826 Hydro I used for feeding cattle many years.

Our Case-IH 1666 combine, that hasn’t been used in several years, is in the shed yet and needs air in a tire and a battery. Now that I think about it, there would be quite a few batteries to buy.

This is certainly fun to daydream about. Will it happen? I don’t know.

It is interesting that while I can be sentimental about a lot of old iron, my dad only looked at his machinery as tools to get work done.

In fact, he despised that 3616 loader tractor that he bought because it was heavy duty and cheap as it was a leftover on a dealer’s lot.

He was always angry at it and neglected it. It required glow plugs to start which would run the battery down enough so the engine couldn’t turn over. Of course, part of the problem was that he didn’t like buying a good battery for it.

After his death it was given some care and improvements and is still in use around here. It’s showing its age, but it just got new rear tires so it isn’t going to be retired very soon.

While my dad’s tractor collection would lean green, my display would lean red.

In today’s vernacular, that is called diversity.

I am pleased my son looks at these antiques with the sentimentality as I do. They are the connection with how we were raised.

One of my favorite memories of the IH 826 Hydro is from one fall evening more than 30 years ago, during corn harvest at about 9 p.m. on a Saturday. My son was sitting on my lap as we waited for the wagon that 826 was attached to, to be filled.

My son was about 6 and had to be where the work was. It was a pleasant evening, not cold, so the lack of a cab was not a problem.

I watched him as he lay across my lap. Then his eyes fluttered and he fell asleep as the diesel engine quietly idled.

You can’t trade in tractors like that.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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