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"We all learnt a great deal about Farming - it helped the children to understand the idea of Farming more. A real hands on experience!"

By Reading School Year 4 teacher

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Farmer John’s March ’14 Blog

Farmer John’s March ’14 Blog

1 Mar 2014

Farm machinery, and learning to drive it, has always been an attraction for local young men.

Just before Christmas Max White and two of his friends from Theale Green School told me they would like to get our 1962 Ford tractor working again. It all began fairly harmlessly with jump leads, and trying to bump start the engine, which hadn’t worked for years. But as the weeks progressed the tractor in its original state disappeared. At one end of the yard lay the front wheels and axle. The back wheels were parked somewhere else. The workshop became littered with random pots filled with bolts and injectors. Plenty of trip hazards seemed to develop, and right in the centre was this stubborn engine, now much reduced, amid requests for new pistons, con rod, steering wheel, and optimistically, new tyres for the back wheels. My heart sank as money was now involved, and although my young team were enjoying the process I did not share their confidence. I was convinced our now precious tractor, still in bits, would never go again.

At this point Steve from Stanford Dingley entered the fray, and over the course of three weekends lovingly assisted in the reconstruction, with a few minor hiccups. There were screams of delight when the tractor FINALLY burst into life, and was ceremonially driven round the farmyard by the proud team of engineers.

Max came down to the farm on Friday. ‘How was school?’ I asked. ‘Slow, so very slow’, adding despairingly, ‘I don’t know whether I can cope with another 32 days before I leave!’ There had been no limit to the hours of commitment he, Daniel and Josh had put in to repairing the tractor. They certainly did a first class job researching how to do it, experimenting with different methods, ordering parts correctly, learning from their mistakes, and the results were at least GOOD, maybe even OUTSTANDING!

Perseverance must finish its work. James1:4