Wild Blue Yonder #13971

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The Story

Here is the carcass of a hardworking Massey Harris farm tractor with its bones bleaching in the sun forevermore in the high Minnesota prairie grass. However, despite rusting away in a farm equipment junkyard, there is new life reaching out from the old remains. There’s a climbing vine that has worked its way up through the machine and up onto the steering wheel. Did you notice the little sprig reaching skyward for the wild blue yonder? That brave effort is what gave this image its title and also the biggest reason I decided to make this picture. Mother Nature can’t be stopped being the most powerful life force known and this little sprig is a great example.

This junkyard in the western Minnesota prairie was very large and mostly covered by high grass that blew and waved in the slight August breeze. In this farm equipment section, there was a lot of extra room so the tractors were set down anywhere. You can see others poking up here and there all around like islands in a waving grass sea. Of course, I had to wade on over to see what could be done with a wide-angle lens and that even wider prairie sky.

This machine was missing most of its tires but seemed to be mostly intact with a nice combination patina of faded red paint and rust, a good find for any mechanical fossil hunter. I had never heard of a Massey Harris tractor to this point and gather they weren’t that common. This is a Massey Ferguson forerunner: somewhere along the way, Massey eventually partnered with Ferguson and left Harris behind. Interestingly, I met a man in my art show booth who saw this image and said his father had been a dealer for this brand back in the day and has a few restored. He was the only person I’ve met who referenced these.

Out there somewhere is another guy bringing one of these old Massey Harris farm tractors back to life, looking for parts out of a junkyard. Eventually, his search might very well lead him to this very spot.

Location: the prairie countryside near New London, Kandiyohi County, Minnesota.

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