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.

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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!

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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