Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Fergy's Home

1955 Ferguson TO35
 Saturday was something that I have waited for at least 10 years now, the opportunity to acquire my Grandpa's old Ferguson tractor.  With the reality that it was not going to be used by Wes anymore, they finally agreed to let me pick it up.  My cousin Greg had a nice car trailer for transporting it so my first stop was in Hudson and hook it up to the truck.   Along the way I decided to call my other brother Jon to see if he wanted to tag along and with little going on he was happy to ride shotgun.  I was glad hedecided to join me as it gave us some time to spend together and an extra set of hands would be helpful if I ran into any issues.   A quick stop in Ellsworth to pick up a few packs of fresh cheese curds for the road, picked up Jon, stopped at Kevin's and helped Ben solve his depth finder problem, we arrived in Onalaska to pick up Steve and his wife Jean.   Jean grew up in Prairie Du Chen and her dad Wes bought the tractor from my Uncle Keith some 24 years ago.  Jean's brother Richard was up from Kansas helping out with things and met us as we opened the garage where the tractor had been stored for a few years.  First things first, it needed a battery.  A quick trip to the nearby Walmart solved that issue.  With the battery in we double checked all of the fluids and hit the starter.  Although it cranked over pretty good, it refused to start.  It had been sitting for over a year and the ethanol gas had taken it's toll.  The rubber hose connecting the air intake to the carburetor was a complete mess and the plugs were pretty black.  Another trip to the tractor supply store for replacements, we installed the plugs but she refused to start.  Suspecting we weren't getting gas I removed the bottom of the carburetor and as suspected, the needle valve was stuck.  Tearing it apart, using some spray carb cleaner, and reassembling we first confirmed that gas was filling up the bowl, turned the key and Voila, she fired right off!  Steve did one last repair on the driveway before we loaded it on the trailer and headed home.  She's in pretty good shape as it was fixed up years ago with new front tires, repainted, and converted from 6 to 12 volts.  There is some hydraulic oil coming out of the housing which leads me to believe the seal in the transmission may need replacing.  On Sunday I put her to work first fixing my own driveway for my pole shed before hooking the brush hog and doing a little mowing.  She performed flawlessly on both fronts however when I unhooked the mower I noticed a wire had gone through the back tire sidewall.  The tires are liquid filled and will require a mobile tire service to come out and fix it for me.  Oh well, the price for having fun.  I will probably have the tractor fully restored this winter, fixing the leaks and repainting.  There is alot of information online and by putting in the serial number I have learned that Ferguson, made in 1955 is the same age as I am.  I am sure she still has a lot of life left in her!
Nice Smallie from the wall

So playing farmer on Sunday left little time for fishing however with the river so close by, it takes little incentive to head down and fish for a couple of hours.  The river was down at least another 2 feet from where it was last week which meant we would have more time to fish the hot spots.  My neighbor Tom decided to go with me as he really enjoys fishing smallmouth and the time frame was perfect.  As usual we motored upriver for 20 minutes or so then drifted down casting our Bombers along the shore.  The water is still pretty dirty, more than likely coming from the Crow River that dumps into the Mississippi at Dayton.  The Crow always seems quite muddy as it flows through the farmlands of central Minnesota.  I think it's enough to affect the water clarity downstream from where it meets the main river.   Along the shoreline is a mix of deeper holes, artificial rip rap to prevent erosion, docks, and railroad walls to protect the homeowners and to provide a safe access for their boats.  In one stretch there are a couple of timber type walls with step openings that still have water covering them.  These are perfect ambush points for big smallies as the one pictured on the right slammed my bait as my cast put the lure tight up to the inside of the step.  My buddy Pete loves fishing redtails along this type of cover and one day I will have to bring down a few minnows and try it.  For now the river is still a little high to read the structure below but it is getting better.  In one area you could see the shallow riffles forming excellent places for the fish to hide out and with the reduced current flow the fish start
Tom with a respectable fish
leaving the shorelines and spread out into these areas.   We nailed a nice one that was about 30 feet from the edge of the shoreline, it should only get better. Between Tom and I we caught 9 smallies in about 2 hours of drifting, as well he landed a couple of smaller northern pike that hit his crankbait.  Here's Tom with a nice 17 inch fish, one of 3 that he took in a small area that was hot.  No catfish this trip, however it is getting to the time of the year to really start fishing them with crawlers and stink bait.  Maybe Sunday night!

This weekend is the rebirth of Bogger Hollar, the annual Fagerland Family Reunion that was hosted by my dad's late cousin Ronnie Olson.  This year his niece has decided to hold it at her place and I am looking forward to seeing all of my relatives on my dad's side of the family.  I tell you it is sure better than seeing them at weddings and funerals.  My garden in growing like weeds............wait, those are weeds!  The cucumbers should be starting, the corn is beautiful, I have ripe Amish Paste tomatoes abound, the string beans are almost ready, and the new potatoes are ready.  With the rain, fertilizer, and heat, nothing makes a garden come to life.  Unfortunately much of the stuff will be ready by the time I leave for Alaska.  I guess it will be good for the neighbors. 

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