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For those of you who forgot how easy it was to get started in farming, let me tell you about my friend Con.
Many years ago, he bought a farm in the wilds of Minnesota. The feller that sold him the farm had his farm sale the day Con arrived to take possession of the land.
Now, Con had been a cowboy type all his life and, upon viewing the farm machinery stacked in the yard, he was hard put to identify anything other than the handyman jack and a tractor.
But he thought if this stuff was good enough for the farmer that sold out, it was good enough for him. He’d figger out what it was later.
All the neighbors for miles around came to see who the new sucker was and maybe pick over the machinery like buzzards on fresh road kill . . .
Con jumped in and bought the only thing he recognized: the tractor. It was a 45 Allis . . . he paid $1,250. Then he bought the mounted plow that went with it.
Con said the auctioneer started on a big pile of orange metal. “Ain’t you gonna buy that? You bought the tractor and the plow.” Con bought it. Two days later he found out it was a mounted cultivator.
When the sale was over several of the farmers asked Con to load their heavy stuff, since he’d bought the tractor an’ all, they said. Con leaped up in the seat, intent on showin’ these skeptical neighbors he knew what he was doin’. He fumbled around for 10 minutes, switching on the headlights, the choke, the throttle, the gauges and wipin’ the transfer case clean lookin’ for some instructions.
Finally an ol’ timer reached over and said, “Pull this, son.” It fired up right away (it was the only time in the next five years it ever did that).
He couldn’t find the shift pattern but fortunately it was in gear and the clutch was where it belonged.
The first thing they wanted him to load was an old pull type, disjointed disc. It never went anyplace he aimed it. Con would turn around and it would be passing him.
Eventually he dragged it up on a flat bed inflicting considerable damage in the process. Pleased with himself he turned and said, “Next?” Everybody else had drifted away.
The feller with the bent disc came over to Con, opened his wallet and handed him a dollar bill. “Kid, you take this and buy yourself a can of gas. It’ll be the first and last dollar you ever make farmin’, but you’ll always have enough to git outta town.”
Baxter Black is a cowboy poet, former large-animal veterinarian and entertainer of the agricultural masses. Learn more at www.baxterblack.com