Farmer’s Friend

Ode to the Trusty Toolbox

By Clark Ballard

Swathers hadn’t yet been developed for haying season when I was a teenaged tractor operator on farms near Fairfield during summers in the mid-1950s. We operated the now-defunct Farmall tractors that were popular for their versatility. We had two mowers, two tractor-pulled, side-delivery rakes, and a tractor-pulled baler.

Opinions varied strongly among the crew about whether the mowers or rakes required more skill to operate. In any case, most of us were teenagers with short attention spans who were interested in anything that relieved the boredom of twelve-hour work days. One of our prime sources of entertainment, comfort, and even occasional emergency supplies was the toolbox.

Nowadays there’s a big emphasis on vehicle conveniences such as air conditioning, cupholders, screens, and cell phone holders. Back then, conveniences on a tractor came in the form of the toolbox. Nevertheless, in my experience, virtually all of them were filled with an inch or so of dirt that had accumulated over months or even years.

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Clark Ballard

About Clark Ballard

Clark Ballard is a retired filmmaker who has lived in Florida for almost forty years but retains deep family ties to Fairfield, Idaho. He still considers himself an Idahoan living in Florida, and says he’s the classic example of, “You can take a boy out of Idaho but you can't take Idaho out of the boy.”

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