I've been searching for nearly two years. My quest--a diesel tractor with a loader in good condition that can handle moving round bales. My first choice was a Ford 5000, but the closest I've come to finding my quarry was one for sale up in New York State that needed a new transmission. And, in its state of disrepair, was at the upper end of my budget. So when I called on an International Harvester 444 listed in Lancaster Farming last week, I wasn't expecting anything contrary than my futile search. But the man on the other end of the phone gave me that warm, fuzzy feeling. He had 11 tractors and didn't need all of them. He made horse hay on his family farm in West Virginia, about an hour from here. No, the tractor wasn't sold.
So on Friday, Ralph and I took a trip south to check it out. To our joy, the tractor was in good condition, had not only a bucket, but a set of pallet forks (perfect for moving round bales) and best of all, fell well within my budget. SOLD!Today, a friend of ours who drives very large trucks for a living and does tractor pulling for fun took me down to West Virgina to pick up the tractor with his gooseneck trailer. After getting the old iron home and hooking up the bucket, Ralph's maiden run was to simply go turn the compost pile. As he said, "I just had to move something!" The rest of the afternoon was spent with friends and neighbors looking over the new addition, including Madelyn who wanted to take it for a spin, but her feet couldn't reach the pedals.
2 months ago