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Junk

Here on the prairie, life is good.

Fall weather started out dodgy, but turned good, stayed good and now the ten day forecast is so promising that not only have I polished off my to-do list, I've started an entirely new list.

This just doesn't happen. Over the years I've spent a lot of time moving snow early in November. A very clear memory is shoveling a path to the snowblower the third week in October, so I never take the gift of good weather for granted.

Once I had the firewood stacked and the snowblowers greased and moved into the shed, I had time to look at work on the optional list and in a burst of optimism, my eye fell on the junk pile.

The thing is, I live on a farm. And a farm can accumulate junk. And after a few decades, the pile can become big and very ugly. Think of the pile of catalogs and magazines on the corner of your desk that you're planning to read. My junk pile was like that, except for being twenty feet long, eight feet high and made of old concrete and other construction waste.

Because of the time I've wasted over the years trying to earn a living, I dealt with the junk by carefully not looking at it. Times change and I've become more aware of how things look, and parts of the farm were looking pretty tacky. Because of the lovely weather, we're on the verge of not having to hide any part of the ranch from visitors - for the first time since 1975.

East of my shop was an outside concrete pit that used to hold hog manure. It was an unsightly reminder of a past profession, used mainly by me to pile stuff on that I didn't want to mow around. Almost fifty years ago, a carpenter named Roger Lundberg, along with his crew, did a heck of a job constructing it, because it took a giant excavator many ground shaking thumps to smash the lid in. Once smashed, I had a lovely concrete-lined junk receptacle. A friend of mine hauls scrap iron and miracle of miracles, he fit my project in on short notice. Everything that he didn't want would fit nicely in the pit. The whole enterprise went very smoothly, except for the three flat tires on my Bobcat. After the first flat, my friend offered to loan me some solid rubber tires. Despite his experience in cleaning up scrap iron, I declined the offer because I was too lazy to change four tires and thought I was done dealing with the tire dangerous material. As it turned out, I wasn't and changing three tires plus taking them to get fixed is quite a bit of bother as well.

On the upside, I did find three nails that I could add to the scrap iron pile.

I'm writing this Sunday evening. The junk pile is almost gone and I have a grandchild with an open day later in the week. With luck and his help, by the time you read this there will be a nice, two-foot clay cap on the old concrete pit.

Unless I get another flat tire.

Copyright 2023 Brent Olson

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