were versatile, useful farm equipment
can proudly announce to my readers that with great resolve, strong
character, determination and counseling, I have finally kicked the
habit. No longer does my heart skip a beat and my hands get sweaty
as I hit the brakes, shift into reverse and squeal my tires backing
up to retrieve an empty 5-gallon bucket lying beside the road.
Proof of my accomplishment comes from the fact that for the past week
I have driven right by a clean, plastic 5-gallon bucket on my way
to and from the coffee shop every day. Each trip is getting easier
as my hands are more relaxed and my brake leg doesn't twitch and jerk
Some of you young "whippersnappers" may not relate to the significance
of a 5-gallon bucket to the well-being of the old-time farm family.
Back in my day, these containers (metal, not plastic) were the most-used
piece of farm equipment on the early day farmstead. Products were
often purchased as much to get the bucket as to get the product inside.
Uses included: carrying feed and water to livestock and poultry; slopping
the hogs; gathering the eggs; and picking garden produce. Buckets
were also used to sit or stand on, and for packing grain, fuel and
tools to and from the fields and carrying skim milk from the cream
My mother suffered in her later years from "carrying chicken-water
elbow" which hurt each time a cold-weather front came through.
I'm sure some of you can think of more uses. In fact, I'll send a
free "It's All Trew" book to the person who sends me the most uses
for a 5-gallon bucket. I'll publish the winner's name in this column.
My habit of picking up items along the road reminds me of a problem
my father had in the old days.
He hated trash and weeds. If we weren't chopping weeds we were hauling
The problem came when the trash haulers, (me especially) returned
home from the county dump ground with more junk than we hauled off
in the beginning. The old adage of, "one man's trash is another man's
treasure" contains a lot of truth. Dad finally did not allow anyone
but himself to go to the dump.
Since retirement in 1985, Ruth and I have been guilty of collecting
items from garage sales, estate and farm auctions, junk shops and
antique stores. The "hunt" for these items has provided us with many
hours of enjoyment plus filling our home, bunkhouse and cabin with
unusual and beautiful antique items. Lately, as we find our walls
crowded and shelves sagging, we are slowing down in our hunts.
We are continually amazed to find young collectors trying to acquire
many of the same items we still use in our home today. We have mixed
emotions about this as it is depressing to think we and our items
are finally getting old. On the other hand, we are elated to realize
the items we now use every day will soon be valuable antiques.