Friday, November 21, 2008

Remembering the Farm - Our first tractor

While mechanization of Saskatchewan farm power had begun decades earlier with the big steam tractors, the final massive shift of farmers from horse power to tractor power took place after the War. Dad farmed with horses until 1950. At the age of eight years, the summer of 1930, he began working in the fields, helping my grandfather, summerfallowing with a six-horse team on a double-disc.
In 1950 Dad bought a used Massey Harris 44* for $600. The bank would loan two-thirds of the price so the dealer wrote dad a receipt for a $900 tractor of which $300 was paid. Dad borrowed the entire $600 price of the tractor.

Dad bought a used 12’ Massey Harris swather that same year and cut the crop with it that fall. This picture was taken when Dad was working close enough to home that Mom, with us kids in the wagon could take him his late afternoon lunch which would hold him until supper when he got home after dark. When I started running the swather, maybe by 1960, we still had the same one. The platform and the reels were raised and lowered by levers. The swather platform was too heavy for me to adjust so I pretty much cut it at whatever level dad set it. I could adjust the reels to the height of the crop if I used both hands. By the time I was big enough to handle it, we had bigger equipment, with hydraulic controls.
My brother and I went with Dad whenever we could, like this picture of hauling bundles of green oats home for cattle feed. Dad was pretty patient with us as long as we listened and stayed out of the way.

*I always remembered it as a Massey 33 but the website says they were only built after 1952. If any tractor buffs read this and can help identify the model of the tractor in the picture, I’d appreciate it.


  1. Those are great photos, Dad.

  2. Very interesting. My Mom told us about working in the field with a six horse team. I think it was before your Dad was old enough to help.

  3. The photos are so good. You and Ross were pretty darn cute back then. My, how the years have changed you.

  4. Ky - Mom took the pictures on an primative box camera. We sent our film to Saskatoon to develop and in two weeks we got the pictures back.
    DC - Your mom drove an outfit in the field? Wonderful. Who knew? I wonder if our other two aunts did likewise?
    May-B - Careful. I can post pictures of you when you were young and cute too.


Comments are encouraged. But if you include a commercial link, it will be deleted. If you comment anonymously, please use a name or something to identify yourself. Trolls will be deleted