Nearly There!!

Looking back to the before all this idea of restoring Charlie’s tractor got off the ground I remember just how much I had to encourage Michael that ‘of course there’ll be enough time’ and (in my naivety) ‘no, no, don’t be silly it won’t be that much extra work’ and other such insightful phrases. Little did I know! Gosh, ignorance really is bliss, he knew exactly what kind of an undertaking he was signing up for.

D40L Interior

I guess it’s a measure of how much the whole project means to him. Even as I write tonight he is gone again, over to Peter Jones and the D40L tractor on the north side of Dublin, I’m not even sure what for tonight. But I don’t mind, it’s all getting very exciting now! All through July he seemed to bringing over copious amounts of paint, enough to do a house, and also lots of different parts.

 

D40L Interior

 

Although it seems like I never see him, some days I can’t get away from him as he has me chained to the computer helping him communicate through the intricate World Wide Web to some distant part of the globe about some tractor part or other, before he zooms off again. 

Electrical parts from the Netherlands have arrived been delivered over to Peter so the rewiring has begun, but you can see the tractor’s ‘interior’ here in this video. It is easier to fit the electrical components and trace the wires and then assemble the body parts than do it the other way round.

Yesterday the last of the brass bonnet trims arrived from Air Cooled Technology in Galway. Earlier in July Michael brought the front rims over to Peter but they weren’t the right size! So he ordered new rims from America, which caused a bit of nervous waiting but they have now arrived and are painted and fitted.

IMG_0760

New locking pads for the wheel nuts couldn’t be found anywhere so he had to have them made by Yoruba Ltd in Kilcoole. You can see by the pictures the tractor is nearly ready, every part of it has been cleaned either by sandblasting or using the Evaporust product, and is now painted. The tyres have been mounted onto the rims and are ready to go onto the tractor. Once the wiring is done quite a large part of the job now is assembling the D40L together!

The plough has been completely taken apart and transported to Soda Blast Ireland also in Kilcoole, to be stripped and blasted down there. Michael couldn’t get proper bolts to fit the original bolt holes so he had to drill out a bigger size. He couldn’t do this at home as the steel was too hard to drill and needed a bench press to get the job done. C+C (Springs) Ltd made new springs for the back of the plough as they also could not be found anywhere. 

The usual farm work has been ongoing at its normal hectic pace, with our own potatoes, beetroot and white turnip being sold in the Shop. I feel our customers are really latching on to our ‘fresh, local, Irish, quality food’ ethos and it is fantastic to have such a loyal customer base and great to see the Shop so busy. Especially as our plans for a tea rooms are underway and it will hopefully open mid winter. This latest venture has taken up a good bit of time lately and has really concentrated the mind! My garden did turn into a jungle of weeds but I did battle and thankfully my peas are bountiful and the carrots and beetroot are thriving as well. Just to keep us busy we hope to display the tractor at the local Enniskerry Victorian Festival on September 14th and on Saturday October 18th we are having our annual Harvest Party. I am all brimmed up with hope and bubbling with anticipation, I know how much this whole tractor project means to Michael and his family. It’s so exciting because we are nearly there!

 

 

Getting Closer!

The tractor restoration is coming round the final bend and almost entering the home straight, I am constantly getting that nervous/excited tickley feeling in my belly every time I think about it. While generally it feels like progress has been slow, the reality is that there are just a lot of smaller fiddly bits, like cleaning body parts, happening on an ongoing basis. I suppose it’s like making a giant jigsaw puzzle, for ages you can’t see the picture and then all of a sudden – swoosh – it comes together! In the glorious sunshine we had recently Michael has been hopping between making silage and sourcing parts for the D40L tractor. Since my last blog a new clutch has been ordered from the Netherlands through the clutch and brake company called Murfit in Dublin. I suppose we are chomping at the bit but delivery, for whatever reason, has been frustrating slow and we are still waiting on it.

D40L Restored Engine

D40L Restored Engine

 

Michael visited Peter Jones recently to see how the tractor is getting on and to bring him out paint which he bought from Vinnie Byrnes Paints. I know the tractor is in a transitional phase but it looks completely different and the change to the rust bucket it was a few months ago is staggering! The engine is absolutely sparkling, even to my untrained eye. You could eat your dinner off it!

 

Some of the body parts have now been primed and painted, whilst other body parts are still being repaired and cleaned. The rims were sandblasted and were found to be very poor condition, but our friend Mick Hogan offered the rims from his Deutz 40L tractor which are in much better condition.

Cleaned parts of the D40L ready for painting.

Cleaned parts of the D40L ready for painting.

 

Mick also hopes to restore his tractor one day so we are very grateful to him for his generosity. Michael needs to do a bit of welding on the new rims and then they will be sent off for sandblasting. A new exhaust system from Delegro in the Netherlands was purchased and will be fitted towards the end of the restoration process.

D40L Rims

D40L Rims

 

 

 

 

The Kverneland plough has also been receiving its fair share of attention too. The boards are nice and clean through the bit of ploughing Michael did with it and now it has been totally stripped, disassembled and now being cleaned with the rust remover product ‘Evaporust’ and larger parts being sandblasted. Then it will also be ready for painting.

While the tractor project does need constant attention the other jobs of farming life must be taken care of as well. The silage, haylage and hay making certainly kept Michael busy and then he was flat out dosing lambs, checking the flock’s feet and weaning lambs. After weaning a batch of lambs he was back to more silage making and putting a fence around our potatoes (so the lambs wont eat them), which are coming ready to harvest. No rest for the wicked. The buzz word in the Shop is FRESH, FRESH, FRESH as our Shop customers are enjoying the freshly dug baby potatoes as well as all the other fresh local produce we have in store. Have you met the newest arrival to our Pet’s Corner?It’s the lovely pet lamb Tallulah and she is getting heaps of children visiting her. On Sunday evening she can hardly move with all the food she has gobbled throughout the weekend. It is wonderful to see the raspberry season has kicked off and the local raspberries have surpassed the strawberries and are the new favourite in the Farm Shop. Orders are piling in for our very popular, grass-reared Lleyn lamb and I am busy making all the raspberry and strawberry jam I can. With our lives, as ever, speeding along and the National Ploughing Championships only two months away I’ll be listening hard and I hope I’ll be hearing that ‘swoosh’ soon!!

It’s Arrived!!!!!!

There was great excitement here at the start of May, since my last blog the plough we have been scouring the Earth for has arrived. And, typically, just like waiting for a bus, you wait an age for one and two arrive at same time!! With the help of Kverneland Ireland the plough from the UK, which I mentioned before (pay attention down the back!) was purchased and transported to Ireland. Almost at the same time another plough was found and acquired locally. This was actually a plough that Charlie, Michael’s grandfather, had sold to our neighbour and it was just sitting on his land for years. I could really tie myself in knots trying to explain the ‘plough situation’ but I’ll stick to the basics and hopefully we’ll all understand what I’m saying. *Deep breath* The Kverneland plough from the UK has three furrows and is not a match plough, but is from an older era and does have a square beam that Charlie’s Kverneland Hydrein Match Special plough would have had. The neighbour’s  plough is a Kverneland Hydrein Match Special plough but a newer model and has a round beam. So essentially Michael has been ‘stealing from Peter to feed Paul’ and used both ploughs to turn the UK plough into a match plough – phew! To clean the boards and tidy the plough up Michael has been ploughing all sorts of patches of ground and neighbouring farms fields. A fantastic rust removal product called ‘Evaporust’, was kindly donated to us for ‘The Tractor Project’. It looks like a really exciting product which Michael is keen to use on the plough and also the more delicate parts of the D40L tractor.

Kverneland UK Plough Arrives

The engine of the D40L was collected from Tom Murphy’s and brought out to Balbriggan where Peter Jones is restoring the tractor. Tom completely rebuilt the engine and there are now new wearing parts throughout. Although unfortunately the clutch was ‘making a noise’ and has to be replaced, so a new clutch and truss bearing have been ordered from Deutz. There is a lot of ongoing work with the tractor such as filling panels, sand blasting and using the Evaporust on the delicate areas and Peter is doing a really great job. Crossing all fingers and toes, and touching wood, we are very hopeful that the September target is achievable.

We have been kept busy with lots of exciting family events lately which is partly the reason for this blog being delayed. Although everyone was involved in some manner in making the winter’s fodder this year and they were plenty of late nights. Michael was feeling the pressure as the constant rain in early June was really playing havoc, delaying the silage making and threatening the hopes of it being saved successfully. It took my best soothing noises to keep him sunny side up! Thankfully summer arrived and everybody in the local farming community sprang into action and worked all hours to make sure all the hay, haylage and silage was made and saved. In contrast to the delayed farm work, the Farm Shop is full swing as our ‘summer season’ has kicked off in earnest despite the weather and the delicious Wexford strawberries are going down a storm as well as Burkes ice-cream selling out! In other news my kitchen garden is also bearing fruit. I’m no gardener but whilst weeding I noticed my peas have sprouted, although admittedly I did weed out a couple by mistake, they are thriving. Other vegetables are coming along nicely too and I have waged war with the horrid, slimey slugs!

Ploughing Ahead….

Although Michael is super busy on the farm with the never-ending list of tasks that need completing and always, always trying to keep Mother Nature on his side and wishing for a few extra hours in the day, he still is desperately searching for this elusive Kverneland Hydrein Special plough. He is spending so much time on the computer eyes may have turned square and his ears may be swollen from constant phone calls, following every lead to its final conclusion but, his persistence is paying off and the noose is narrowing!

He has found a 3 furrow Kverneland plough in the UK, unfortunately it’s not the 2 furrow match plough so it would need some modification and a bit of work be turned into a match plough. But further searches and contacting ploughing people in Norway has proved useful and two ploughs have turned up there. A nice gentleman in Norway, Benny Bleckert, is having a look at them to see if; a) they are Kverneland Hydrein Special 2 furrow match ploughs and b) to ascertain their exact condition. Michael has been in contact with Kverneland Ireland and they have offered to transport the plough back from Norway, for free, should he find one there, on condition he gets the plough to main Norwegian factory. To add to their generosity they offered an alternative of financial assistance should a plough be purchased in a different country, which is such a boon!

021

While the D40L body looks like an empty shell the restoration is coming along nicely. There are a few parts that Michael is trying to locate such as an ‘Exhaust Manifold’. Someone may have one of these knocking about, specifically for a F3L712 Deutz engine! Re-conditioning an engine to me, sounds like a trip to the engine salon. Not so apparently. This process isn’t as simple as grabbing a large bottle of ‘Timotei’ and giving it an auld ‘wash and go’ but rather the engine has to be scrutinised with a severe eye. The poor old engine for the D40L tractor needs to be re-conditioned, which means every nut and bolt, bearing, piston, seal and so on and so on has to be carefully examined and ‘re-conditioned’ back to perfect working order so when the engine is assembled again. The pressure! It’d be like sitting your Leaving Cert again! When the key is turned and away she starts up, the moment of truth, that fat lady has to purr like a Cheshire cat! Tom Murphy is carrying out the engine re-conditioning and says he is ‘looking forward to seeing Charlie’s tractor up and running again’. We are as busy as ever on the farm, with all the sheep dosed, fences being repaired and preparation for the silage season in full swing. The Shop is changing seasons too, easing into summer with oodles of fresh, in season, local fruit and veg filling up the baskets, pleasing the customer’s taste buds no end! It’s all go here as we zoom closer and closer to the September deadline, the outlook is positive!

Return Of The Bunny!!!

Three Local Primary Schools Charity Easter Egg Hunt

kindly sponsored by Alderwood

Once again we are playing host to the three local primary schools, St. Mary’s & St. Gerard’s, Powerscourt NS and St. Patrick’s NS, Easter Egg Hunt!! I can’t wait! It is sure to be a super day with organisers promising it to be even better than last year, which is some feat as last year’s Egg Hunt was an excitement overload!!

When: Saturday 12th of April

Time: 10am to 4pm

Cost: €5/child €10/family

What to do;

Egg Hunts for ALL AGES

Rolling the Egg races

Egg And Spoon races

Face-painting

Egg painting

Easter Art Colouring Competition

Pin the Tail on the Bunny

The Weather?? Don’t worry if it is raining, bring your wellies. Most of activities will be indoors in our Market Barn, with the main Egg Hunt and races outside. There will be plenty of seating and delicious pancakes for gobbling!

Other Stuff! Visit the farm animals; the baby bunnies and pet lambs are in the Pet’s Corner and the goats, hens, rooster and Mr. Gobbles the turkey all hanging out beside the parking area. The Waterfall Farm Shop will be open as usual.

Charity Easter Egg Hunt 2014

Charity Easter Egg Hunt 2014

The Plough, the Plough. Wherefore art thou…

The Progress

The immense amount of goodwill we have received since Michael announced he wanted to restore his grandfather’s tractors has been very touching. Really it has been lovely hearing people recall their memories of Charlie, of the win, the celebrations and even of the ‘little green tractor’s put-putting around Glencree valley’. Arising from the unexpected media coverage, which has helped enormously to highlight to the general public and the wider farming community what an insurmountable task Michael has set himself, we have now received several offers of sponsorship, which we are hugely grateful for. Michael hopes that some or all of the tractor restoration would be completed by a vintage restoration expert and with sponsorship secured these hopes can now be facilitated. While he would dearly love to do the whole project himself he realises, that he only has two hands and it would be physically impossible given the short timeframe and that his farm work from now until September will be busy, busy with spare time being little or none.

The Plough

Lots of progress has been made with the ‘Tractor Project’ in terms of sourcing parts, talking to vintage experts and he even has found and bought a set of tyres for the D40L. Yet, sometimes it feels like no progress has been made and the clock is galloping along at ninety miles an hour! Since my last blog lambing is now nearly completed with just a few ewes dragging their heels, no rest for the wicked though and Michael is now discussing ‘taking up’ his silage ground. So really with the constant flow of pressing and urgent farm work there has been no time for any physical restoration of the D40L or D15 tractors, however with the D40L tractor on the road to being restored Michael has turned his attention to finding the plough in earnest.

The exact plough Charlie used to qualify for the World championships!

The exact plough Charlie used to qualify for the World championships!

In all the plough matches that Charlie competed in to qualify for the World Ploughing he used a ‘Pierce Plough’ and Michael, to his delight, has been able to locate the exact original Pierce plough that Charlie used in all the qualifying matches. He knows that it is the correct plough because Charlie, being Charlie, made some alterations to it so it would suit his needs exactly. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree in respect to Michael, as he has altered every machine he owns to his ‘exact needs’ for as long as I have known him!!

The extra piece Charlie welded to the Pierce Plough board.

The extra piece Charlie welded to the Pierce Plough board.

 

 

 

 

Getting back to the Pierce plough though, Charlie actually welded an extra piece to the boards so they would suit his own specific requirements and the weld mark is still there today!

 

 

 

The Appeal

While the Pierce plough is in fierce rusty condition, it can be (easily?!) restored to its former glory, but the elusive Kverneland Hydrein 2 furrow match plough is another story! That cheeky plough is like a lost jigsaw puzzle piece, hiding somewhere at the back of a shed, or half fallen into a ditch only waiting to be found and given the chance to make the picture complete. The picture below is from a Kverneland advert that Charlie featured in and is the exact plough we are looking for with the SQUARE beam (not a round beam like the later model).

Kverneland Hydrein Plough 2 Furrow Match Special

Kverneland Hydrein Special                                                    2 Furrow Match Plough

Michael even had the opportunity to talk on the Today FM Ray Darcy Show to appeal to Ray’s listeners to help in the search for the plough. Please have a listen as Michael describes the plough in detail. Thank you so much to Ray and Jenny for their help!

 

So once again it is a Kverneland Hydrein Special 2 Furrow Match Plough we are searching for so please, please, please have a quick look at your old plough and see if it’s our missing jigsaw piece!! You can see a video on Youtube of the plough being used in Norway by clicking here and here.

The Tractor Project Update.

It is coming up to lambing time here on the farm and Michael has been quite busy making sure everything is ready for the expectant mothers in the sheep shed. Even if he has taken on this massive project of restoring his grandfather’s two tractors and endeavouring to find the exact plough Charlie used, everyday life and farm work continues!

The D40L Tractor Feb 2014

Since I put up the first post there has been quite a bit of interest in the whole story. Lots of people wished us luck and some people offered sponsorship and other forms of assistance, which we are most grateful for. The media also seem to like the story and there was a lovely feature on Michael with the tractor capturing the whole story on tonight’s RTE Six One News by Philip Bromwell.

 

There will be a blog post about it on the Irish Country Living website from Wednesday the 12th of March, where you will also find monthly updates of how the whole project is progressing.

 

About 2 weeks ago he made the time to drain the D40L tractor engine of the old fuel that has been there for quite some time, clean the filters, and put the old ones back in because he has no new filters. Pop in a bit of juice (diesel!) and turn the key! And he heard…. nawda, not a thing, nothing. So our friend and neighbour Mick Hogan came round the tractor was pulled up the yard and way-hey, it started! This was the first time it had been started in maybe ten years. It was actually filmed by Cyril Byrne of the Irish Times and was featured in the paper in an article written by Alison Healy. You can watch the film and read it here. Michael was like a little boy, the engine seemed in good order although it’s making a ‘funny noise’ which warrants further investigation. A full set of new filters have been ordered and we are searching for new tyres. The tyres that are on the tractor are Dunlop Fieldmaster but unfortunately Goodyear Dunlop doesn’t seem to make tractor tyres anymore.

The hunt has begun in earnest for the Kverneland Hydrein Special 2 furrow match plough, so if you have an old plough knocking around can you look a little closer before you scrap it. It could be the one!!

For my part I am making encouraging noises and trying keep Michael’s (and my) feet a little bit closer to the floor. Finger’s crossed that lady luck will stay with us!

The Story… The Tractor… The Project…

The Story…

Lots of you will know and many of you won’t but Michael Keegan is the grandson of Charlie Keegan, the 1964 World Ploughing Champion. By all accounts Charlie was a very nice person, described as ‘a perfectionist, almost Germanic in his ways’  he believed in ‘a place for everything and everything has its place’. I’m sure this sort of precision went along way to to honing his natural ploughing ability and why he had the neatest farm you could imagine. Michael also carries that neatness gene, my messy ways land me in trouble, a lot! Charlie was born on the 21st of March in 1926 , to Norman and Lydia Keegan. He farmed all his life and was ploughing with horses before farm machinery came on the scene after the World War II. He was a quietly talented man and his World Title win was a massive achievement at the time.

Charlie’s D15

When Charlie returned home from Vienna in 1964 he was carried off the plane with the Golden Plough in arms, shoulder high by a huge crowd, pictures can be found here at the Irish Photo Archives website.  It goes without saying that all his family were and are hugely proud of Charlie’s achievements. It was the first time the Golden Plough came to Ireland and I believe it was the first time an Irish man brought a World Title home to Irish soil. Agriculture was the main industry in Ireland at that time and Charlie became a national celebrity overnight. His winning prize was a Deutz D15 tractor, pictured above, which is still here in the yard.

The Tractor…

This year, 2014, is the 50th Anniversary of Charlie’s win in the World Championships. While I was the curator on the Tweeting Farmers account I was tweeting about Charlie and his achievements and it was suggested that it would be a wonderful idea to restore the prize tractor, the D15, and exhibit it at the National Ploughing this September. The D15 is in working order and is used for odds jobs around the farm. It’s a little rusty and does need a tidy up, but Michael has kept it in good nick over the years. The tractor that Charlie actually ploughed with was a D40L and he sold it in the 1980′s and he actually had several tractors of that same model over the years. The plough he used was a ‘Kverneland Hydrein Special’, a 2 furrow match plough and it was scrapped it years ago.

The Project…

Sadly Charlie’s two children, Stewart and Alan, predeceased him. Michael always had a great relationship with all his grandparents and, when his father Alan died in 1999, Charlie became Michael’s mentor and he guided and helped Michael on the farm in anyway he could until his death in 2003. Well Michael is very like Charlie, a total perfectionist with the attitude ‘if you’re going to a job you might as well do it right’ and as such the hunt was on for Charlie’s D40L tractor. This was the tractor, the one Charlie actually ploughed on to win the Championship. It would make the picture complete. The trouble was, Charlie had several models of this tractor over the years and they all had to be tracked down to find THE ONE! Eventually it was found, and not too far away as the crow flies, but the man that owned it was fond of it and not very keen to part with it. Michael was very distraught and did explain the sentimental value and offered to buy, replace, trade for the tractor. Michael begged him for the tractor and prevailed upon him explaining the importance and sentimental value the tractor held for him, but to no avail.

Charlie’s D40L

Until one day in late January Michael called in to the man on spec, one last time, just in case, and lo and behold he decided to part with it! Michael was elated and quickly met the man’s terms and closed the deal before anybody changed their minds. Michael is now walking ten feet taller and I am trotting along beside him trying to keep up with his giant wave of enthusiasm for life!! It means so much to him to be able to restore the two tractors, honour his grandfather’s memory and mark the 50 year Anniversary in such a fitting manner.

So both these tractors, to me, look like rust buckets! Not that I would have a clue. The D15 doesn’t look too bad, but the D40L…. Oh dear.

This is not an exhaustive list but, it needs;

New tyres. A new clutch. To be re-wired.

New mud guards.

A new steering box (whatever that means!!).

A new seat (important!).

A re-spray.

A new steering wheel.

A new exhaust box.

To be sand-blasted (a day at the beach??).

And lots more (I fell asleep while he was talking…. It’s a long list!).

 

And The Story Continues…

Not to do things by halves he is now looking for the plough Charlie used, a ‘Kverneland Hydrein Special’ match plough, apparently only about 100 were sold in Ireland and I imagine that most of them have been scrapped. Good man Michael, take the easy road!!

 

Keep following the blog where I’ll be posting any updates I have on the trials and tribulations of this giant undertaking. Any offers of help would be gratefully accepted and most appreciated! You can contact Michael directly on +353 (0) 86 384 1046 or visit the Contact Us page.

 

Christmas Market Info

We are so excited about this year’s Christmas Market! It is bigger and better than ever and we are delighted to be having Sheep-herding demonstrations! Don’t worry about what ever the weather will be because it is mainly indoors in our Market Barn. Santa Claus will be there from 11am to 2pm and the Christmas Market runs all day from 10am to 4pm. Please see below for more information.

Christmas Market 2013!!!

Here at Waterfall Farm we love Christmas!!! In fact we get so excited about it the planning starts in January. Having our family all gathered around us for a big Christmas dinner is so important to us as I am sure it is to you too. The special Christmas crockery, napkins, plates, dishes all get dusted down to make a triumphant appearance for Christmas dinner. And what’s the most important thing for Christmas dinner???

Turkey

Well some say it is the Turkey! Here in Waterfall Farm Shop we take orders for locally grown free range turkeys. So if the Turkey’s your most important thing this Christmas be sure to call in store before they are all gobble, gobble, gone!! These are all hen turkeys and have almost NO FOOD MILES!!

Ham

Some people prefer ham on Christmas Day and we also take orders for Christmas ham’s in the Shop. These come to you direct from Hick’s Pork butcher’s and you can also order all the added extras like cocktail sausages or sausage meat and so on. Just drop in and fill out a form with your requirements.

Cakes, Puddings and Presents!!

Everyone knows that Santa Claus only brings presents to good boys and girls, however if you are looking for that unique and perfect Christmas gift be sure to visit our Christmas Market on Saturday the 14th of December, where there will also be home-made Christmas food for your table!

Christmas Market 14th December

Our Christmas Market is packed full of fun this year! Santa Claus has given his word that he will be in the Pet’s Corner from 11am to 2pm on Saturday the 14th of December.

We will have loads of food stalls with home-made Christmas cakes, puddings and other delicious goodies. There will also be craft stalls to find the perfect, hand crafted gift for your special loved one. A stall of fun children’s games, all the proceeds of which will be donated to the three local primary schools in Enniskerry. All the farm animals will be on their best behaviour begging for treats and pet’s from all the children.

We will have beautiful, locally grown Christmas Trees on sale on the farm from the start of December and are available at the Christmas Market too.

The Christmas Market starts at 10am and finishes at 4pm.

Entry is free.

Parking is free.

Good cheer is free.

We look forward to seeing you!!!!