Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 19, 2015; The Dandy Oliver

This is Don Pierson, sitting on his "dandy Oliver.  I worked for Don and Eva on their dairy farm in Bow, WA for a couple of years right after Janice and I were married.  Don had a couple of "newer" tractors, an IH Hydro with a loader that we used to plow and green chop, Big John, (a JD 3020 gas spot) we used for heavier fieldwork and pulling the corn chopper, and Little John, a 2010 with a loader which was the scrapping tractor.  But the "dandy Oliver" was Don's favorite.

It caught on fire once, long before I worked there, so any evidence of the green paint job was long gone.  The transmission was a little suspect, jamming now and again requiring a 9/16" end wrench and screw driver to pop it back into the right synchros.  As Don used to say, "It uses some water, but very little gas," and then shuffle off chuckling to himself.

I'd use the Oliver to pull the smaller manure spreader and rake hay.  However its real mission, the main reason it stayed on the farm since World War II, the Oliver pulled Don's two row corn planter.  As the fields were prepped for corn, there was always a bit of tension in the air.  The Oliver often wasn't running that great, and although the IH could pull the planter, that, in Don's mind wasn't an option.

"Corn won't grow if you don't plant it with the dandy Oliver," he would tell me.

Was he kidding?  I don't think so. I honestly believe Don's success in raising silage corn hinged directly on the dandy Oliver, with Don driving, pulling that planter.  Hard to start, missing, carburetor leaking gas, no matter, in the first warm weeks of May, one way or the other, the dandy Oliver had to be field ready.

When Don retired from farming and his machinery went on the auction block, I took one last photo of him on the dandy Oliver.  As I recall, a young fellow bought the tractor with the intent to restore it.  Whether he did or not, I don't know. 

I sometimes wonder, if restored, would the corn grow as tall?

1 comment:

Bryce Lee said...

Sort of odd, seeing an Oliver as it was built and not as a variant of something else. Oliver-White also had a hand in purchasing Cockshutt here in Canada. The former Cockshutt plant in Brantford Ontario has just been recently demolished, ditto Massey-Harris, later Massey-Ferguson plant in Toronto.
The sound of the exhaust was often the identifier of the tractor.
The younger friend I worked with, sold his farm two years ago to the next door cemetery and all the farm equipment was sold. Ironically both the IH Cub and the Massey-Harris(yes the tractor was still labelled ...Harris, went blindly fast to collectors. The implements ended up being cut up for scrap and hauled away in a bucket.
Sort makes ya think, eh?