The photo at the left shows two tools that not only do their job beautifully, but are inexpensive and have been around as least as long as I can remember. The red jack on the wheel of the tractor is a Hi-Lift jack. It has a tested load of 7,000 pounds, and can lift a load to a height of over three feet. It can also pull and clamp. It is extremely simple to operate—kick a lever up and it raises the load, kick it down and it allows you to lower it.
It is sometimes called a farmer’s jack, since it rapidly does its job , absorbs tremendous punishment without breaking, and has enough capacity and stroke to handle most farm jobs. I am not a farmer, but I use mine constantly to do household maintenance, work on cars, and pursue my old machinery hobby. Incidentally, these jacks are manufactured by a number of different companies, but I have had the best luck with those made by Hi-Lift, a company that was started in 1905 and seems to be as dependable as its jacks.
The silver colored object on the ground is a come-along, called by many other names, since it is widely manufactured. It is a compact cable hoist that is capable of exerting large force for its size and weight. The one shown is rated at 2 tons and inexpensive. Of course, it would be easy to get one with more capacity (maybe a four ton one would outpull a Hi-Lift), but although I often need to lift heavy weights, I seldom need to pull that hard. My 2 ton one will pull any vehicle I own and lift any thing I need to.
But the real miracle can be seen from the more close up shot on the right of the come-along hanging on the Hi-Lift. No electric wires, batteries, leaking hydraulic fluid, failing seals, or hidden complicated mechanisms. I love them for that alone. They are all hanging out there allowing one to see how they work, and fix if they misbehave. In particular the Hi-Lift seems to be almost fail-proof, and should something break, replacement parts are easy to get and simple to install. And I must admit, I do like kicking a lever better than pushing a button—especially if I am the middle of a frustrating job.