I'll Show You Mine

| 7/21/2014 8:56:00 AM

Tags: Junk, Midwest, California, Do It Yourself, Handy, Welding, Renee-Lucie Benoit,

Renee-Lucie BenoitMy name is Renee, and I’m a junk pile-aholic. There. I’ve out-ed myself. I freely admit I have a junk pile. This is really quite a revelation and really goes completely against the grain of my upbringing. You see, I am Midwestern born and bred, and we don’t do junk piles out there. If you see a junk pile it’s not from a native. It’s from a transplant from another place who hasn’t gotten with the program yet. I have remarked on this topic for years to my husband. He doesn’t get what I’m talking about. Last time I visited back home I took a bunch of pictures to show him what I was talking about. Iowa farmers are so neat. You never see old rusty machinery lying around in the yard. They’re always in the machine shed and well taken care of.


“…you are brilliant and subtle if you come from Iowa and really strange and you live as you live and you are always well taken care of if you come from Iowa.” – Gertrude Stein, Everybody’s Biography

So it’s with obvious embarrassment that I admit to having a junk pile. Californian farmers and agriculturists don’t seem to mind having a junk pile, and so in keeping with the adage “when in Rome …,” I have a junk pile.

I got swayed over to the practicality of the junk pile by my partner. Granted he is not from Iowa or anywhere in the Midwest. He is Californian through and through, born and raised here. He’s never been brainwashed by the Midwestern sensibility. He’s more akin to Otto Kilcher from the series Alaska the Last Frontier on The Discovery Channel. They both can make anything out of almost anything, and it’s ever so handy a skill to have on a homestead. He just goes to his “supermarket” behind the house, picks out a few things, goes over to his welding trailer, and the next thing you know you have this handmade door knob or other item, and you didn’t spend a penny or have to go into town. Well, you did spend a penny on the welding equipment. But at the risk of wearing you out with adages, what was the one about giving a man a fish as opposed to giving him a fishing rod? The welding equipment was a super good investment. If you’re of a mind to have a homestead and you want it to be as self-sufficient as possible, learn how to weld. (Tip of the Day).

Garden edging has come out of the junk pile. Sun shade for the chickens came out of the junk pile. The backyard fence came out of the junk pile along with the T-posts to support it. Speaking of fences, remember the blog I wrote a while back about the Easiest Fence in the World? You guessed it. The materials came out of the junk pile. So all I can say is, all you junk-pile addicts come out of the closet and be proud. The only thing I might ask is put it behind a hedge row so we Midwesterners don’t have to look at it when we visit!

Renee Benoit
7/29/2014 10:08:28 AM

Hi Nebraska Dave, Thanks for your positive comment. Being an old codger I completely forgot about how a junk pile stirs the imagination in the young person. Thanks for the memories! Have a great junk pile day yourself!

7/27/2014 8:40:10 AM

Renee-Lucie, I always knew Iowa was different than Nebraska. I have lived in both states but most of my life I have lived in Nebraska. Many summers during my youth were spent on my uncle's farm. He had the best of the best junk yard. There were pulleys and gears, rods and bars with tools galore. When one shop area became too filled with junk to use another was started. An old orchard of long past productive fruit trees became a grave yard for old non working cars and retired machinery. It was the best ever play ground for a young boy of 10. Big pulleys from old machinery were used as wheels on home made engine less cars that coasted down the hill that led to the home place. Hours were spent pulling those odd looking frames with wheels up the hill and taking the wild ride down into the barn yard. There were no helmets, no seat belts, no brakes, just adventure on the farm from the junk pile. ***** Have a great junk pile day.

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