Friday, June 4, 2010

Rusting farm implements

Driving about during storm chases gives one a fair amount of time to ponder. Yesterday (03 June 2010), I noticed a lot of farm equipment sitting in people's yards, much of it showing signs of rust and other neglect. I couldn't help but think of my Uncle Irving - he was a farmer who held some strong feelings of pride when it came to his farm. When a farm implement's duties for the season were complete, he didn't leave it higgledy-piggledy somewhere outside to rust until it was needed next year. It was cleaned up and prepared for its off-season (repainting, covering unfinished metal areas with a rust-resistant coating, etc.) in a barn, out of sight and protected from the elements. He always got a special break from the implements dealers because when he brought something back for a trade-in, it was always in great condition! Moreover, his farmstead was never cluttered with rusting equipment.

In this society, which treats everything as disposable, I have to say that I was raised to be more respectful of the tools I use. And to not clutter up my yard with them.

And he didn't tolerate the unchecked growth of weeds anywhere on his property. When the weeds got bad, it was our job (my cousin and I) to go take care of that. No, sir! No weeds. He took pride in the appearance of the farmstead, and my Aunt Fran always maintained flowers and other adornments, as well. Driving into the farmstead made one feel the pride of ownership and the responsibility of stewardship for the property (and the land).

Dashing about the plains makes me realize how special my aunt and uncle were. I still miss them ...


John Monteverdi and Thom Trimble said...

It's an ethic that I share as well. Whether it's neighbors not taking care of their property, or willfully cluttering their place despite the fact that they know it looks's the other half of the coin you tagged with the SUV guy who blocked the motel driveway.

It's "me, me, me" and I don't have time to worry about anything that might bother "you." In fact, if it bothers you, tough blippies. It's a troubling part of our soceity.

Kenny Blumenfeld said...

Chuck, this may be a longshot, but the sucker in me that likes to give benefit-of-doubt wonders if (many of) the farms with the rusty implements are the ones suffering financial hardships as well. Perhaps the shed has collapsed, and replacing it would break the bank. Again, a longshot, but it's worth considering the circumstances that modulate our decisions.

Here in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin, among the steep hills and pronounced valleys, we often find fields of dead, beat-up, and never-to-be-used-again automobiles. It is so visually abrupt, it could almost pass as art, or even an art movement. I often wonder, though, what led to this uglification of the landscape? I imagine it being very gradual; "store the car here, I'll fix it later," but later is yet to come. Who knows?

Chuck Doswell said...


You can give folks the benefit of the doubt if you wish ... and perhaps a few might deserve it. But I chalk up the majority of what I see to a lack of responsibility regarding the equipment and the farmstead.