Fishing For Fords

Today was supposed to be a fairly normal day. Go shovel out the church, plow the Neighbors pond before lunch, eat lunch, and spend the rest of the afternoon working on odds and ends of this and that and organization, maybe help Dad work on the Buick. Unfortunately, I didn’t get past the ‘plowing the Neighbors pond’ part.

The fun part: I get to drive a 1950-something Ford 9N. (Update: it’s actually late ’30s.) The more-fun part: it’s got a 6-volt electrical system and took me 45 minutes to get it started. The slightly-odd-but-still-fun part: it’s got a landscaping plow on the three point hitch, so we plow in reverse. The make-my-day-fun-part: The ice on one side wasn’t as thick as we thought, so we get an afternoon course in Tractor Fishing 101.

After a bit of a ‘kersploosh’ and a startled reflexiv motion that kept the driver dry, the tractor settled (still running) with it’s rear axle in four feet of water about six feet from shore, front end still on the ice and pointing towards the middle of the pond. Since it was so close to the bank, the original idea was to loop a rope around the blade and haul the tractor out with the Suburban. Of course, that’ll dunk the (so far) dry engine and electrical system in. Hmm. Go home for lunch, Mrs. Neighbor has to take kids to Ballet. Dad wants to hear the whole story and immediately starts figuring. We’ll see what we can dig up for useful stuff over at Mr. Skip’s shop – the Buick is there anyway, waiting for work. Collect some useful planks, chains, etc. Mr. Skip shows up and we, not being fools, inquire of advice. “Let’s go take a look.”

If there’s anyone to have around when you’re lifting, towing, hauling, or otherwise moving anything big, it’s Mr. Skip. Grow up on Farm equipment (they guy was backing haywagons at seven – you try that) and spend a few years in the house-moving business, and you have what you call expertise. We end up with a trailer load of planks, cables, chains, miscellaneous ice cutting tools, and the big Hough Payloader. All for the sake of Ford 9N. It got her out, though, and six hours later she sits in the barn with a shiney coat of greasy ice and pond weed and a fully drained engine and rear end, awaiting the kind services of somebody. We didn’t manage to manage to get her out without dunking her nose, unfortunately. (To quote the neighbor, who saw her when she was nought but a steering wheel and the top two inches of hood, ‘That doesn’t quite look like where she’s supposed to be.’)

A short word to the wise: Don’t sink tractors in ponds. It’s a pain.