#324 Colors from Sublime to Ridiculous

Hello again Maple People,

Once again, Autumn in Vermont puts me in a "colorful" mood…lets talk colors, colors from the sublime to the ridiculous and all those in between. For the sublime…our fall foliage has been as usual a masterpiece right from God's paint brush! The textures and hues around here were magical, ethereal, and, frankly, beyond interpretation by even the most expensive camera…you've gotta live it to see it the right way. Being a Vermonter, I'm so lucky to be able to live it and share it with folks from all over the world.

The last weekend of September we had some visitors who brought their colors on wheels, the antique tractor people. They moved in on Friday afternoon with pickups pulling trailers and unloaded their wares: John Deere greens, Ford grays, Farmall reds, Case yellows, and Allis Chalmers oranges all lined up to complement the bursting foliage. The tractor folks, all good Vermonters, stood ready with knee-slappin' stories and braggin' rights intact…their purpose, to entertain everyone from English gentlemen to out-West good ol' boys.

I was particularly drawn to a funny little machine that looked like a cross between a Ford tractor and a bull dog. On close inspection, I found the name "Worthington" printed on the side of its grey Ford Jubilee-shaped hood. It stood low to the ground as if ready to pounce. Even with my limited mechanical knowledge, I could see it had the motor of a tractor but the transmission and rear end of a truck. I was craning to see its frame and steering setup when the Worthington's proud owner Paul Garcia came along…"Set up t'mow golf courses and haul airliners" he said. Paul, self proclaimed antique tractor addict, went on to describe stumbling across this strange little machine and how he just had to have it. Talking with him reminded me of another "mongrel" tractor from my own past:


Back in the early seventies, money was scarce and "farmer toggling" was the order of the day. After a tough lifetime of use, the motor blew out on our Allis Chalmers WD-45 Diesel tractor. Since the cost of a replacement diesel engine was prohibitive, Dad and I decided to have a car engine put into it. Roy Haggett, a mechanical genius and Jack of all steel fabrications had a shop up the road in Adamant. One night my father, Roy, and I traveled to the sticks of Roxbury to the junkyard of one Rod Flint. Somehow between the end of a regular work day and twilight, we wrestled a Plymouth slant-six out of a rusted out Valiant and took it to Roy's shop where the Allis sat waiting to be resurrected.

A couple weeks later, Roy called with the message "I can't do this…I give up!". My father, no push over with messages like that said "Aw c'mon…give it one more try". Roy did and a few days later drove into our yard with the thing. He dismounted through a cloud of blue smoke shaking his head…"cussed thing don't know whether it wants t'be a car or a tractah". He punctuated those words with "it'll never work!" He was right. Long story short…a high horse power car engine is just not adaptable to the low horse power needs of a tractor. Roy had done a good job but that old slant six went right back to the junk yard, tractor and all!

At the end of this writing, our beautiful foliage is "raining" down into dry crunchy piles under foot and the tractor folks have returned to haul their colorful machines away. Enter the "ridiculous" side of our color spectrum: those fall political signs are blooming like patches of deadly nightshade on private lawns and every street corner. They come in all shades of "tacky" and stand in total defiance of human intelligence. The only possible sense they make is to stimulate the economy for our paper plants and printers but with due respect, this capitalist says "Baa Humbug!" My biannual disbelief is back…how can these eyesores possibly translate to anything positive in a public servant?

Soon even those signs will be come down to be replaced with nothing but white. We'll live with white for a few months. Through it, this writer'll yearn for a return of the more colorful mix. Yup, in spite of one drawback, you can't beat Fall season in Vermont.



and the Morse Farm family.

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