Monday, November 8, 2010

The Nuts and Bolts of Farming

What makes a farm run?  Animals?  Pastures?  The feed store?  Nope.  None of the above.  It's nuts and bolts.  Thousands of tools and supplies...not to mention experience to use them and address problems that arise.  MM is a jack of all trades, and he would be the first to admit that he's master of none...and that's good...because that leaves room for discovery!  Discovering the problem, interpreting the problem, and then applying the "nuts and bolts" saved over 40 years, to be able to make just the right repair at the right time.  I love this photo because I know it illustrates the very essence of self-sufficiency.

If the tractor breaks down, do we head for the tractor doctor?  Admittedly, sometimes we do.  But mostly, MM burrows into his brain and into his stash of stuff and comes up with a repair.  Not many people are truly able to do that.  They have to find someone to make a repair.  They need to have the problem diagnosed.  Thus, they are less self-sufficient.  MM has rarely failed to be able to fix something or to manufacture a part in the nick of time, to --for example--be able to get that last bit of hay off the field and into the barn before it rains.  There's often pressure involved.  And there are countless--COUNTLESS--repairs to be made of one kind or another on a farm!  So you don't just dial up Mr. Fixit.  Mr. Fixit LIVES here on the farm.

I believe MM's most significant repair ever, though, came about when we were traveling by van in the Yukon Territories.  We hadn't seen another vehicle in days.  We were utterly, completely alone.  The radiator on the truck sprang a leak. And it was waaay to big for StopLeak!  A rock had been thrown into the radiator, but had apparently stuck for quite awhile, but decided to give way out there in the wilderness.    MM cogitated a bit and with studied engineering, cut off a short piece of polypropylene rope that dangled from the canoe on top of the van; took out a cigarette lighter, melted the rope, drip by drip and stuffed the drips, one by one,  into the hole on the radiator.  The repair not only got us back into Alaska, but it survived until the old hulk was hauled off to the junkyard five years later!

Here's the inner sanctum of the repair world, out here JOTOLR.  MM has saved screws, nails, plumbing parts, electrical parts, all manner of scrap (which one would assume was trash) and from these collections has made a part, or fixed a part, or patched a hole....or whatever!  This farm runs on nuts and bolts!  And MM IS a master of all trades to keep us up and running!


  1. Elora -- how wonderful for the running of the farm that you have such a talented mechanic as a husband. Do you get into the repairing business with him? And isn't he also a builder? I thought you mentioned he built your home. -- barbara

  2. Elora, your description of MM reminded me so very much of my husband that I had to show your post to him. When he read of MM's brilliant repair solution in the Yukon, he was just speechless with admiration. And then Tom launched into telling me some long, complex repair story that involved a truck breaking down in the middle of the bear habitat (Tom used to be a zookeeper) and how he manufactured a part quickly because being in the middle of the bear habitat quickened and sharpened his problem-solving skills. The story was much too long (with many technical details) to share here, but I did want to convey Tom's admiration, awe, and respect for MM's amazing repair skills (from one resourceful fix-it man to another).

  3. Thank heavens for the Jacks (and Jills) of all trades! Where would we be without them -- especially on the farm!

  4. Hey, all! I'm a bit slow in responding to your lovely comments. Indeed, Barbara! I am fortunate to have MM! He's the consummate DIYer! Rarely will he seek the services of others when it comes to repairing or maintaining tools out here JOTOLR! Beth, I LOVED your comments! What a hoot! Even I have to admit, tho' it was pretty amazing!

    Yep, Vicki! I like your addition of "Jills"...I think I am a "jill." You, too, I know!