Cultivate your knowledge of farm, garden equipment via the Web
By JIM BROOKS
I'm admittedly a city boy. My exposure to farm life as a kid were visits to my aunt and uncles' farm east of Springfield, Ky.
The farm equipment they had seemed to fill a couple of barns, and as a youth, getting old enough to operate a tractor was my goal in life -- though riding was about all I ever did.
Now that I'm living out in the country with a few acres to call my own, it didn't long for me to discover that my once-adequate 12-horsepower riding mower isn't up to the task of keeping several acres mowed (OK, it mows it now, but cutting it 36 inches at a time means lots and lots of mowing).
I decided several months ago to start looking for a larger mower, and my search has taken me in the direction of some classic small tractors, like the Farmall Cubs and the popular Ford "N" series.
I've seen a great many older small tractors for sale, but I had so many questions I didn't have answers for. What makes one old tractor preferable to others? And what features are there to look out for?
My first search on the World Wide Web gave me plenty of information.
Neil's N-ternet Site was the first place I found that covered the venerable Ford "N" tractor series. And his coverage is complete and extensive.
There's a section to explore the differences between the 9N, 8N and the 2N models, as well as a clickable tractor photo that compares and contrasts the three. If you're in the market for one of these classics -- or own one -- you'll do well to check out this site.
N-series owners can send a photo to Neil for his tractor photo section, or read his section on how to properly perform routine maintenance on them. This is a site for working tractors, so be prepared to see "real-world" examples of "N"-series tractors performing real-world tasks -- scraping snow, plowing, bushhogging, etc.
Visit Neil's N-ternet Site at http://home.ptd.net/(tilde)neilreit/.
The next logical stop for anyone seeking info on classic farm equipment is the Yesterday's Tractors electronic magazine Web site at www.ytmag.com.
As the name implies, the 'zine is all about the use, care and repair of older farm equipment.
The June online edition featured an in-depth article on troubleshooting generator-equipped tractor electrical systems. You can search the archives, take part in online discussion boards, or browse the online classified ads.
There's even a section for the kids that offers an online Java-enabled tractor coloring book, reader-submitted tractor drawings by kids and even an interactive story.
The menus are easy to navigate, and the content is very in-depth. If you like tractors, there's enough content here to keep you reading for quite some time.
Tractors Online is another good place to check for parts and equipment for sale.
The site has a online discussion area, an assortment of book titles of interest to farmers, and a large assortment of links to other farm-related places on the Web.
As with any Web site that accepts for-sale ads, be aware that a heavy part or piece of equipment advertised at a bargain price may be very expensive to ship.
Visit TractorsOnline at www.tractorsonline.com.
The Small Tractor FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) Web site, at www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/kb13/TF_home.htm, offers a comprehensive overview of buying and owning a tractor.
It offers in-depth content and puts emphasis on safe tractor operation. Wonder what the difference is between a garden tractor and a utility tractor? You'll find it explained in plain English in this FAQ.
The site is hosted by Carnegie-Mellon University, and is frequently updated.
Comments and questions about this column may be sent to email@example.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.
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