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Corn Planter

by @ 10:39 am on April 17, 2012.

“And that is how Ern came to get an H for his birthday and why we cultivated the corn. Next year we’re getting a new sprayer, going with round up ready seed, and spraying before the corn comes up. Or at least that’s the plan.”

Well, that WAS the plan. For the full backstory, read this post.

So Ernie has the best wife in the world. Seriously. In the span of two weeks we took trips to pick up three new tractors, two new cultivators, and a new corn planter (although dad will tell you “new” is a relative term).

Cultivating resulted in the best corn Ern ever raised. You could see where the corn grew an extra set of water roots, and wow. The 20 acres that was supposed to fill one silo (360 tons) also filled our smaller silo (100 tons), we chopped and fed all the milk cows could eat for an extra month, and still had some we sold to a neighbor as picking corn. We looked at sprayers this year, but old fashioned as he is, Ern just likes cultivating. Not to mention how good the corn did with it. Add to that, sprayers are expensive and the government has made herbicide use one giant pain in the butt.

I can’t recall who Ern first talked to about it, but some old timer who had actually used cultivators told him that mounted cultivators were just the nicest thing in the world to cultivate with. Ern has me start keeping an eye out for a set. They are few and far between. Ernie Schrock told Ern he had 3 old sets sitting on his lot, and he thought he could piece them together to make one full set. We ran with that, figuring he could. The Schrock’s move at an Amish pace, so we settled down to wait till Schrock got a chance to dig them out and look at them. In the mean time, Ern keeps chatting up these old farmers. An H will work to cultivate with if you don’t mind a big club, but apparently a C (slightly smaller than an H) is just the best thing ever. And if you could ever find a mounted corn planter? It just doesn’t get any better.

I start searching. I look and look and look and there are just no mounted corn planters out there. At all. And then suddenly one pops up on craigslist. But it’s for a Super C, not an H, and it’s way the hell on the other side of MD. But it comes already mounted on a Super C. Ern calls. This was on a Saturday morning. Time passes, and no call back. We kinda figure it’s been sold and let it go. Ern is so disappointed. Then Sunday night the phone rings.

As it was told to me, once upon a time there was an International dealer. Eventually he sold his dealership and decided to be a produce farmer. He kept two brand new tractors, both Super C’s. One had the advertised planter, and the other had a set of cultivators. He passed, and eventually the current owner bought them along with many other items from the estate to resell. And by the way, he still had the tractor with the cultivators if Ern was interested. After several phone calls back and forth, he decided he could part with the cultivators as well. Ern couldn’t talk him into meeting us anywhere, so that Thursday we headed to… can’t even recall the name at the moment. But it’s north of Frederick, MD. and actually just like 10 minutes south of Gettysburg, PA. It turned out to be a little over a 4 hour drive one way. And we needed to get there and back between milkings. Yikes!!!!

As it turned out, that trip was a complete and total bust. We FINALLY get there, and the setup that was supposed to be field ready most definitely was not. The tractor wouldn’t even start, and the corn planter was rusted so badly Ern was afraid it would break off if he tried to move the tractor. Why, oh why, are people such freaking liars? It was a huge effort and a major trip for us. They knew that. It’s not like we were coming on 5 minute’s notice. They had DAYS to get a new battery and make sure the tractor would run. The ad for that tractor is still up, so as far as I know they are still stuck with the piece of junk. We had hoped to have a few minutes to stop and see Gettysburg. But we didn’t stop on the way in, and we took so long there we didn’t have time on the way home. Instead of immediately walking away like we should have, Ern tried to negotiate to at least get the planter and cultivators. As part of that, I was comparing prices on Craigslist and found another Super C with cultivators in KY. Ern tried to call but got no answer right then. In the end, the guy wouldn’t separate and wouldn’t come down in price. So we came home empty.

On the way home the guy in KY called back. Of course Chester was screaming right then so Ern couldn’t really talk. On the way home we talked about what to do. To back track a minute, I had also found a very pretty painted H with cultivators on the WV/VA border. Ern had called about that set. The guy wouldn’t sell the cultivators separately but did agree to meet us in Beckley. That trip was planned for Saturday. The main point of the C was for the planters. We were only moving on it because planters are very rare. And since they also had cultivators, well, why not. Cultivators for a C are not common, but they’re not super rare either. Cultivators for an H are harder to come by. Since we already had a set for the H on tap to pick up (planning to resell the extra tractor) we decided we needed to let this C go for now and maybe in a year or two think about the idea again.

We get home and start milking. Ern calls the guy back to at least tell him we’re passing. Ern’s problem is he gets chatty. Next this I know, he’s coming back in the barn with this little grin that never fails to cost me money. He’s telling this guy about our trip, and saying how dishonest they were about the tractor. And how all we’d really wanted was the corn planter. Well now, this guy had a mounted planter. He wasn’t really interested in selling it, but would part with it in trade for a two row, three point hitch planter which were impossible to find in his area. Well now, wouldn’t you know Ern had two of them? She he worked it out to trade for the corn planter, and then agrees to buy the tractor and cultivators to go with it. Ern gets back on the phone to the guy in VA with the H and talks him into meeting us in Charleston. So on this mega trip, we pick up an H with cultivators in Charleston, roll on to KY and get a Super C with cultivators and corn planter. At least this trip, everything is what it was described to be. And while we missed Gettysburg we at least got to see an iron furnace.

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The coveted corn planters:

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Once we get the tractors home we start the debate of what to do with them. Ern gets the Super C out and it doesn’t quite hold oil pressure like he thinks it should. And the new H, while a decent tractor, is just not quite as mechanically good as his old one. The new H is expendable, but we do need a C to use with the corn planters. And so back on Craigslist I go. This time I find a professionally restored, newly painted C just north of Connelsville. Apparently it was originally a C, but had been rebored to make it a Super C. We figure why not, and arrange to go see it after church the next Sunday. This is my size tractor, and I adore it.

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In the mean time, I get ads out for the other C and H. The C sells in two days to a guy just out the road a piece. The new renters in Arden’s actually ended up buying the H. In the end for what we sold the tractors for, we got two sets of cultivators for $50 plus gas money. And that ain’t bad at all.

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