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The Admin from... Nowhere!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Please join me in congratulating our January Featured Member of the Month, Canary Al. Its been a real pleasure getting to know Al as as I've helped prepared this article over the past weeks.

Name? Al Jobes

Age? Yes. I have aged – beats the alternative as they say. Actually I am old. Old enough to know better, but often don’t.

Where are you from? Weymouth MA

What's the story behind your screen name? I have spent the major portion of my lifetime working as a professional singer.
Here’s one of the glamour shot used in promotions. I was 42 at the time.


Don’t we all wish we looked like we did when younger?

What do you drive? Most often a rental car. I travel 22+ weeks of the year now for business.

How did you come to join MTF? Did a google search for help on repairing a Gravely– discovered there were answers here for my Ford also.

Like many, I read on MTF for many weeks before joining – several months before posting. A couple of the very early threads I started were in the Ford forum about my ’61 Industrial 4000. I heard back with solutions to my problems right away. The Ford has run fine since with the exception of a couple of pressure hoses needing to be replaced. As a result I have not been on it much. Fortunately I have not caught any Ford acquisition syndromes (see below) so far.

I think most of my threads after that have been in the Gravely forum. I often read in other forums like, my place, tech exchange, backyard, growing crops, even Massey Furguson. But I rarely post. I often think I should be widening my interests on here, there are so many subjects available. It is not easy to find the time.

How did you first become interested in Gravely tractors?
My sister had a 8122 she bought many years ago from a Dr she worked for. It had fallen into abject disrepair. Sentimentally it was important to her. Having watched too many episodes of American Restorations I decided I would “restore” it. I didn’t have a clue of what I was doing. Worse yet I don’t think I actually knew I didn’t have a clue. However determination prevailed more or less. When I had it finished I even did the “Big Reveal”. Again too much American Restoration. It was quite satisfying. I even managed to surprise her by getting her initials just as she signs them, on the front and back of the tractor.



Somewhere in the midst of that endeavor I was soundly bitten by the Gravely Bug, causing a severe case of what we refer to as G.A.S. (Gravely Acquisition Syndrome). Mine is the Riders Strain, but I do own one walk behind.

Could you describe your property for us? I own a home on a small lot in a suburb of Boston. It’s a short – 5 houses - dead end street. Mine is at the end against the woods. There is limited application of my tractors here.


My sister and I own a 23 acre parcel in central VT which our grandfather bought in the very early 1900s. The 5+ acres on “this side” of the brook which runs through it, are where my tractors work. We call it “the camp” and the family spends quality time there together in Spring Summer and Fall.
Here’s a couple nice shot of “The Brook”. These were taken by a professional photographer, Kelly M. Brennan, also a longtime family friend.



The Gravelys working in Vermont. Just my own shots.




What do you like most about MTF? The people. The people I know on line. The people I have had the privilege to visit. Since I travel a lot I have made the time to stop by and meet several members. It often adds a very welcome distraction to all the miles and all the business.

And I like the attitude. I think MTF lives up to it’s slogan of “The Friendliest…” I’d add: the easiest, the most informative and several others. Those who know my posts will attest I have asked my share of dumb questions. They of course weren’t dumb to me as I was seeking knowledge. I have never been put down for anything I asked. This friendliness is the sum of the mindset of the people participating, and the deft touch of the mods and administrators behind the scenes.

Anyone thinking of joining or any of the many who right now are reading and haven’t participated yet or anyone who just asked their first “dumb question” and almost instantly received an answer that worked for them - should know this. You don’t have to be the engineer, mister know it all (there certainly are a few on here who qualify for that). You don’t have to be the retired Master Mechanic or even the encyclopedic mind that has absorbed every production nuance and evolution of the tractor brand you admire. (those guys are here too). You don’t have to be any of those people to return a contribution for what you have received. In my experience the guy reading my post and doing nothing more than typing a couple sentences of encouragement, has helped me as much as anyone.

I also think the relative ease with which pictures can be placed next to explanations makes it easy to learn what you seek to know. Anywhere I go where I meet people who use tractors, I tell them about MTF. Because of this an MTF magnet is on more than a few toolboxes somewhere in the north east.

So for any of you out there – with a Gravely - come join the I.F.O.G.B. (eye fog bee), it has no leader, or website, no President, no stewards. It calls no meetings. It charges no dues. There are no initiations. All it has are members and some of them may not even know they are part of it yet.

You say you don’t have a Gravely? That your choice of tractor is green? Well you probably are part of the I.F.O.JD.B. Heck I can’t even pronounce that but I suspect it exists.

If you like, check it all out here. You should at least know what the "I" stands for.

What is your favorite tractor, or piece of equipment, and why? I enjoy each of my tractors for doing the tasks they are set up for. I guess if I had to pick a favorite, at this point it would be my 816 restoration which is not finished yet but has come quite a distance. Here’s a before and current.

As it came to me: It was a runner – rare for me. I’ve started from scratch on all the others. Some “runner”, huh?



Tell us some of the tasks you use your tractors and/or equipment for? The Ford has allowed me to clear debris, install a new culvert, re-route water run off to reclaim part of my meadow, and remove stumps.


The Gravelys have provided power to brush hog, and mow primarily. I also use them to skid fallen trees to the wood pile and brush to the area where I chip it up. I’m using them to reclaim the overgrown land.

I have expanded the tasks my Gravelys can do. In 2014 I will be able to transform the property even more. I do enjoy working on my tractors, but I enjoy even more working with them.

My 20G with the grass catcher on it. Not pretty yet – wait until this time next year. Really works great!

The Gravely slogan Power over Drudgery really speaks to me.


Is there a tractor, or piece of equipment, you'd love to own someday? I’d like a Crane so I could rebuild the bridge over the brook on our property in Vermont. Before storm Irene did damage to the stone landing on the far side, I had realistic plans to do so that would not have involved a crane. Since Irene …. I am not really sure.


Here I’m using the Ford to set up my I-beams for the bridge:


Is there something you'd love to build or restore someday? Yes, a build, but am not going to discuss it here now. That could possibly jinx things. Also this getting long.

A couple of my best “Gravely Buds/collaborators” know about it. Yep – just 2. When I do the project, and I will, I will post about it. I’ll just say it is an accessory for my Gravely tractors that I have never noticed anyone ever doing.

If you could only own one tractor for the rest of your life, what would it be? One tractor? One? I’m a Gravely Rider Guy! With G.A.S. Did you notice my avatar? One tractor? Really?

Actually I can only think of one Pure Gravely guy. who limits himself stubbornly to one tractor. But even he talks every now and then about changing that when he retires. BTW I define a “Pure Gravely” guy as anyone who Gravelys make up 80% of his total tractors. I can do that since I made up the term!

Earliest tractor memories?
I worked on a 500+ acre farm in the finger lakes region of upstate NY for 3 consecutive Summers starting the Summer I was 13 between 8th and 9th grade. The farm was owned by a Christian School I attended and students could pay for tuition by working on the farm.
After putting in what seemed like more than my share of mucking out stalls, I eventually graduated to driving the tractors. The one I spent the most time on was a tall Farmall IIRC, with the narrow front axle. My first assignment was to haul a massive harrow over a 40+ acre of flat field – all day. The long traverse from one end of the field to the other was uneventful. Even boring. But at the ends there was a lot of ruts and unevenness which required fighting with the wheel. I was under strict instructions to go full throttle in 3rd gear only. About 4 hours into it the first day I became bored and decided 4th gear would be more fun. Everyone else was a long way from me. Who would know? It was a bit scary especially at the end turnarounds. But I hung in there. I was dumbfounded when Mr Hodge was all over me at the end of the day saying he knew I had been in 4th gear all afternoon. It took a while for me to understand how he could know that from so far away. I loved that job. The sun, the smell of that tractor, the power under you, the smell of the earth as it was opened. The fact I was driving. Nobody else but us farm boys got to drive at age 13.

Most memorable tractor moment? Mr Hodge the farm manager drilled into my head constantly that I was not covered by insurance since I was not yet 14. I scarcely understood what insurance was but knew I had to be careful. Late Summer day with dusk upon us, and imminent rain, and dry hay in the field that needed to be gotten inside, My friend Fred and I were high atop probably 8 layers of 80 lb bales, on an overfull wagon. Mr Hodge driving the tractor pulling a baler and us. On a downslope the front right wagon wheel hit a woodchuck hole and the whole load with us on it collapsed onto the field, over the front right corner of the wagon. It was quite a roll! The sides of those bales are sharp against the shirtless sunburned upper torso of a young boy! I jumped up shouting to Mr Hodge I was OK and that he shouldn’t worry about the insurance. He laughed so hard he rolled on the ground and probably came close to peeing in his jeans. Truth is I would have worked on that farm that Summer for nothing. I loved it.

What do the other people in your life think of your "tractor" hobby?
My immediate family who live nearby are supportive and say little. I know they enjoy what the tractors have made happen up at camp. The neighbors just smile and wave as I go by with one I’m working on that doesn’t have a seat mounted on it yet.

Do you have any other hobbies or interests that you'd like to share with us? My family is everything in my life. I have 2 grown children, a son and a daughter. Christopher and Sabrina turned out great and I am very proud of both of them. They have blessed me with 3 awesome grandchildren. Alyssa and Dylan live in CA so I don’t see them as often as I would like. Claire lives close by and PawPaw spends all the time he can with her. My daughter-in-law and son-in-law are terrific additions to my life. Jennifer is lovely and understanding lady, and Billy who lives nearby shares my interests on several things. He can figure out anything mechanical. Absolutely anything. In addition I am blessed with the occasional companionship and affection of 3 step grandchildren, Billy, Amanda, and Zach who shares a 400 series Gravely with Grandpa. My Ex and I spent 28 years together and remain cordial and considerate of each other when life puts us across the room from one another. Life is too short to hang onto the bad stuff.

above photo courtesy of Kelly Brennan
GrampyandAlyssa_zps9023d71d.jpg GrampyDylan_zps9806f4c8.jpg

I love to read, particularly history. Particularly biographies. At the moment I am just finishing up 3 books about Charles Lindburgh – probably the first person in modern history to attain rock star type celebrity. Reading about his life and the incredible changes that happened to mankind during the time he lived add yet another layer to my knowledge of American history. I think a book about Will Rogers is next.
At this point in life my very best friends go waaaay back. Guys I fell off of hay wagons with. Although scattered all over the country we stay in touch these days enjoying another passion of mine, Golf.

Here’s a few shots of the Gravely Family as it looks right now. Another couple years it may look good enough to mount the family up and drive it in the 4th of July Parade in the local town up in Vermont.




I Love All Color Tractors
22,321 Posts
Congratulations Al and thank you for being a wonderful part of this forum. I have always enjoyed your posts, your projects, and your enthusiasm for everything you do. Thank you Al and I look forward to what the future holds.

Super Moderator
15,641 Posts
Congratulations Al. Glad to get to know you. Thanks for sharing.

21,671 Posts
Congratulations, Al! Nice article about a great member of MTF.

Not only will you be the recipient of our prize package (which will include a gift certificate from Heavy Hitch and a nice assortment of gifts from Steiner Tractor)

you will get a brand new badge to sport in your signature. Wear it proudly!


Administrator - We’re all friends here
15,740 Posts
Congratulations Al! Very interesting story. Nice camp. Looks like there is always plenty to do up there. Good job on the 816. :fing32: Great looking bunch of kids you have there too. Now you just need to retire! :)

Premium Member
7,052 Posts
Congrats Al! nice gravelys!

12,862 Posts
Congratulations Al, great read! Nice bunch of Gravelys, cute grand kids, and the camp looks like a nice place to be in the summer. Your a lucky man! :fing32:

Super Moderator
13,592 Posts
Al congratulations! I enjoyed the write up!! Well deserved!

Premium Member
3,734 Posts
Congratulations Al an award well deserved. I really enjoy reading about your projects and repairs on your machines. I don't have a gravely......yet because after reading I think all of your threads I may need to own one. Good to get to know you better. Thanks for all the contributions to MTF.

Premium Member
7,815 Posts

well done sir!

you have some good stories and sounds like some really good times!

as a music lover you have me curious about the singing any sound bites???

congrats again about FMOM:)

Super Moderator
22,970 Posts
Congratuations, Al!! Well deserved!!

:congrats: :congrats: :congrats: :congrats: :congrats: :congrats: :congrats:

500 posts and climbing
543 Posts
Well deserved recognition.
I have always admired your tenacity and drive not only with your projects but also with others.
Thank you for your positive contribution to this forum.
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