Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Massey Harris Memories


I came across an old photo I'd forgotten existed, showing me on the tractor with Dad and two sisters in the trailer.

It's remarkable how simple things will trigger the most intense memories.  As soon as I saw the picture, I remembered the feeling of driving the tractor at that age (probably 10 or 11); sitting on the edge of the seat,   pushing the clutch and brake pedals with my bare feet.

The Massey Harris Colt was the second of three tractors my dad owned in his lifetime.  It was the only one he bought new (in fact, it was one of the few things he ever bought new), and it was the one on which I grew up.

I learned how to drive on that tractor; first, how to steer, then, as time went on, how to start and stop, shift gears, back up and, eventually, feather the throttle coming up over the hill with a full load of hay.  Even today, when I use a tractor, I can still hear Dad's voice coaching me.

I've always had a soft spot for the Massey Harris brand as it played such a large role in my growing up. Just recently, I found a Colt in Quebec and have added it to the collection.



 The rest of my family roll their collective eyes a bit when the topic comes up in conversation but, the grandchildren hold out great promise.  The two oldest can now steer (sitting on Poppa's lap) and they know how to turn off the engine.  Whenever they visit, driving the tractor is high on their list of things to do.


With four grandchildren, my hope is to have each one on a Massey Harris for a Canada Day parade.  2020 should be the right date; they'll be seven years older and I'll need that much time to get them restored.

Glengarry Wood Fair 2013


For the third consecutive year, I attended the Glengarry Wood Fair in Dunvegan, Ontario.  The weather was perfect and, once again, I was in the main pavilion.

With a three hour drive, there wasn't much time to get set up and, as usual, I was less than organized.  Fortunately, my cousin, Gaye, was with me and we were ready in short order.  Gaye also was the official photographer and helped out with customer relations.


The great thing about this show is that everyone who attends is into wood.  You can always count on interesting conversations and lots of compliments, especially for the large burl bowls.

Business was steady and several of my favourite pieces went to new homes.  Two cedar bowls from my own woods went quickly, as I expected.

In the end, a successful day, with plans to be back again next year.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Boy and His Tools

Growing up on the farm, I learned about work from my father.  There's hardly a day goes by that I don't think of him as I carry out everyday activities on our own property.

Part of that education was learning about tools.  Starting with a hammer and working up through the range of hand tools we had on the farm, laid the foundation for a life of building, design and creativity.

Our first grandchild, at an early age, showed interest in whatever his dad was doing.  I started looking for real tools sized to a child's hand.  The first was a hammer, which he used with enthusiasm.


As time went on, he showed real aptitude for building, watching intently as the construction crew built the addition on his parents' home, and helping his dad or me whenever the opportunity arose.  Now, almost nine, he looks forward to visiting the farm to drive tractor and work with his poppa.



During the last visit, I was building a long promised deck.  This time, I showed him how to hold the cordless drill to get the maximum power from it; easing the trigger until the screw began to catch and pushing with his free hand.

I would leave every other screw up for him to finish and he would follow behind with the second drill.  It was a multi-day job and he would wander off to do other things at times, but always came back to his "work".



Grandchildren have a wonderful way of helping you remember your own youth; the mastering of a new skill, the pride of accomplishment. 

 Being part of their growth is the greatest joy of all.