WHY DO FARMERS keep so much junk? Spotting old cars, trucks, tractors and ancient combines parked in the fields, I'd think, Why don't they haul that stuff away?
I think differently since we moved to the country. Too often, I've tossed away an old screw, bolt or nail only to find I need it to fix something the very next day. I have to climb in the truck, drive to town and spend $15 in gas to buy a 10-cent item. Like my neighbours, I now keep anything that might prove useful somehow, sometime.
Take Brian, who has lived down the road for nearly 20 years. He has acquired practically every tool known to man, because you never know what might be necessary.
Recently, my wife, Jackie, bought a beautiful antique piano stool with a round seat that swivels for height adjustment. The weld attaching the metal post to the seat had broken, and I had no clue how to fix it. After a little brain scratching, the dust-covered light bulb above my head sputtered on, flashing Brian can fix anything! I called him, and within 10 minutes he'd fired up his gear and repaired the stool. I got my first welding lesson, too. Don't glance at the welding arc unless you like polka dots on everything you see.
Neighbour Ross also collects things. He raises horses on his property and has an array of permanently parked vintage cars, trucks and tractors. If it's nuts, bolts or washers you're after, he's the man. With all his tool sheds and outbuildings, you'd think he'd need a map and a compass to find anything. But he knows exactly where that oddball little cotter pin is, the one he pulled off a 1945 Massey tractor years ago. He's better than any hardware store.
Inspired by these guys, I'm keeping everything. I realized the benefits last summer when I sheared a bolt on my riding mower. The thread on it was finer than on any bolt I could find. I imagined I'd have to place a special order and wait weeks for delivery. Then I peeked in my old toolbox. Eureka! Stuck in a greasy corner under a morass of ignition wires was the very bolt I needed. I'd saved it years earlier from my 1970 Rambler. I don't know why I kept it. Maybe I knew I was destined for country life. When I slid the bolt into the mower linkage, it fit perfectly. I could ride again.
Now I'm taking a second look at everything we're prepared to toss. Jackie says her car is dying, and she wants to trade it on a new one. I think we should just park it in the yard next to the old trailer. Who knows when those car parts might come in handy?