Self Justifying Recycling Story

Visitors to the farm cringe at the slovenly pile of scraps next to the garage.  I like to think of my piles of offcut wood and steel as a carefully curated collection of resources available for later reuse.  Rachel doesn’t agree with my assessment.  She suspects I’m just building a monument to Tetanus.

But this is a story to bolster my argument that it makes sense to keep heaps of junk around the farm.  This is a story of redemption, of second chances, of trash raised to noble heights.  Per aspera ad astra, or some such.

We store the pigs’ feed in a gravity wagon.  Normally I’d tow it a short distance toward the fence, auger grain into the feed bin’s hopper, and tow the wagon back.  The wagon is fully loaded and weighs 10,000 lbs.  Two weeks ago we had a major thaw, causing the tires to sink a few inches into the mud.  This weekend we had a major freeze, causing the mud to harden and lock the wagon wheels in place.  The tractor, which only weighs 6,000 lbs, couldn’t break the wagon free, even in 4WD.  It was really stuck.

Unloading Chutes

Since I couldn’t bring the wagon to the feeder, I brought the feeder as close the wagon as possible.  But it was still about 10 feet from the outlet of the auger.  Thinks I to myself, “Let’s use that scrap ductwork”.  I ended up splicing together a lot of short 8 and 10 inch diameter pipes to just barely reach from the auger’s outlet to the feeder.  Of course, to be an authentic farm project I made sure to cinch the top with baling twine and fence wire.

The ducts have some holes, so a little grain leaked out, but it worked better than I anticipated.  And it cost nothing. A clear justification for the junk pile, right?

2 Comments on “Self Justifying Recycling Story

  1. Oh jeez. I’ve spent a lot of time this winter trying to ‘organize’ my barn. I’ve made a lot of headway, but I keep running into the precise issue described in this post. I want to save too much stuff, “just in case” I need it. It’s so easy to picture wanting a fluorescent tube light fixture from the 1970s (that doesn’t work AFAIK, but it has a heavy duty metal hood), or 32 quadrillion unmatched little screws of every length, thread space, and head shape imaginable, or the PTO that has a busted U joint and doesn’t fit any of the implements I own even if I did fix it… shall I go on?

    • Edmund, join me in founding the Central New York chapter of Hardware Hoarders Anonymous. If we’re going to get through this, we need a community.
      “Hi, my name’s Dave and I’m a Hardware Hoarder.
      I had a hardware problem for years, but I always figured I could throw it out any time I wanted.
      I knew I hit rock bottom when I was squirreling away rusty 7/16 bolts. Nobody uses 7/16 fasteners anymore, but I was hanging onto them. That was when I finally realized I needed help.”

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