rusty old red tractor drawing art

If you love farm life, or think highly of farm life, chances are you have fond memories of growing up or visiting a farm when you were younger. Some of these memories could include witnessing the birth of an animal, playing with baby animals, playing in the hay mow, the hard and tiring work, hot summer days, or even fresh produce fresh from the field or garden. But the pinnacle of memories on the farm often surrounds learning how to drive.

Farm kids often learn how to drive much earlier than most kids, and it was a special day when you were given the chance to sit behind the wheel for the first time. For many farm kids, this first-time driving was usually on a tractor, sitting in a parent or grandparent’s lap or under their guidance as you navigated. Before long, you would be working alongside your parent or grandparent, becoming an often much needed additional set of hands to help with farm work. To become a vital part of something bigger than yourself left you with a great sense of pride and accomplishment.

For this reason, the first tractor that you learned to drive often holds a special place in your heart. It didn’t have to be anything fancy either. The first tractors I drove were my grandfather’s Farmall H and M. These are small gasoline powered tractors that have around 30 horsepower that he purchased when he got started farming. While they are no longer very practical for modern or large-scale farming, they were a huge step up from using mules or horses, and both were used nearly daily on our dairy farm until 1998. These tractors have since been fully restored and hopefully will be passed down to future generations to preserve the history of our family’s agriculture heritage.

“Behind the Barn-Farmall F20” pays homage to those “first thing I learned to drive” tractors. This particular F20 belongs to my father-in-law. I am not quite sure the history on this tractor, but I have never seen it do any work on the farm since I married into the family. But many of these tractors that we first learned to drive end up much like this- sitting behind the barn, grown up in weeds, with rust taking over. They may not be practical on the modern farm anymore, but the significance and sentimental value of these tractors prohibits us from parting with them.

So, there they sit with their memories. Maybe someday another generation will take interest in them and restore them to their former glory.

My granfather’s Farmall M and H shortly after restoration.