A Teach­able Trac­tor

This boy is learn­ing valu­able lessons thanks to his dad and his Pappy— and a lit­tle help from Santa.


Our 1957 Far­mall Cub was a gift for my son, Levi. I found it on­line in 2016, and Santa helped get it home for Christ­mas. Levi, who is 10, loves his Cub. It seems not a day goes by that he isn’t on it.

It had been sit­ting for a num­ber of years, so we’ve had to do some work on it. We over­hauled the car­bu­re­tor to clean out years of var­nish and clogged pas­sage­ways, and that got it run­ning. Af­ter a while the charg­ing sys­tem felt ques­tion­able so we in­stalled a new volt­age reg­u­la­tor and over­hauled the gen­er­a­tor. We stuck with the 6-volt sys­tem—it worked for 60 years, it’ll work for 60 more. A few months later the Cub de­vel­oped four stuck ex­haust valves, but af­ter a com­plete valve job, it ran well.

The Far­mall has taught my son valu­able me­chan­i­cal skills. He de­vours books on trac­tors and asks thought­ful ques­tions about them. We live on the fam­ily homestead, so he’s learned much of what he knows from his Pappy and me (though at times I think he knows more about trac­tors than we do).

Levi en­joys tak­ing the Cub to trac­tor shows and pa­rades. This past Me­mo­rial Day he en­tered it in the lo­cal pa­rade to honor his Great-Un­cle Sam, who was killed in ac­tion in Viet­nam. He also takes his mother, his dog and me for rides around the block in the wagon we built. The Cub gets him out of the house and en­sures he’s not in front of the TV all day.

Levi’s goal is to farm and have a land­scape busi­ness. I grew up help­ing fam­ily mem­bers on their farms, and the lessons I learned—re­spon­si­bil­ity; re­spect for ma­chin­ery; and love, re­spect and com­pas­sion for fam­ily, friends and an­i­mals—can’t be taught many other ways.

While we don’t have a farm, we are for­tu­nate to have 20 acres of woods that al­low my wife and me to raise our son in the same way we grew up. The only thing he’s miss­ing is the joy of bal­ing hay on a 100-de­gree day.

Ac­cord­ing to his dad, when it snows, Levi loves to get up on the Cub and get to work.

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