Editor of the Iowa Soybean Review

(Photo: Joclyn Bushman/Iowa Soybean Association)

Rural Route 2: If these shop walls could talk

July 19, 2022 | Bethany Baratta

There are boxes of stuff nestled on shelves in our garage and in our basement “just in case.”

You know, just in case we find a use for one of the computer cables that are likely incompatible with any technology in our home. Need a badly worn paintbrush? It’s there.

‘Lucky Bucket’

It turns out this is an inherited trait passed through the family tree. My materal grandfather, a business owner and electrician, carried around his “lucky bucket.” Inside were wire nuts, measuring tape, screws of all shapes and sizes, screwdrivers, pliers, wire and other essential items. This lucky bucket was in addition to the van that housed ladders, tools and additional supplies to get the job done.

Treasure Trove

The “stuff” hanging on my parents’ shop walls came in handy during a recent visit.

While we were unloading hay bales from the wagon and onto the elevator, the conveyor chain snapped, rendering the elevator useless.

A walk across the yard to my parents’ shop revealed a treasure trove of spare pieces and parts – just in case. There are nails and screws sorted by size and shape in containers, and another pile of assorted wire and pieces that can be used to mend a fence. To an outsider, this could look messy. But like the boxes of stuff on the shelves in my garage and house, Dad knows exactly where the pieces and parts are located.

One of my favorite parts of the farm – other than my parents who live there – are the walls of this shop. Each time I walk in there with my dad, I learn something new about the history of the farm, which my grandpa started. Dad shares memories of the tools spilling from the wooden drawers and hanging from nails on the walls, including the pieces grandpa had for the two-row planter, and the parts they used to harvest corn and store in the corn crib. I often wonder what other stories those walls could tell.

We found spare chain that, after decades of hanging on Dad’s shop walls (and with some mechanical encouragement), ended up being the fix we needed to finish the task at hand.

What’s On Your Walls?

As we were putting this month’s magazine together, I wondered about the shops of these members. What will they look like decades from now? Will technology replace spare elevator chains? Will there be a need for spare parts?

What do you think? I’m curious what’s on your shop walls? Is there anything you keep ‘just in case?’ How long has it been adorning the walls or drawers of your shop? Drop me a line at bbaratta@iasoybeans.com; feel free to send me pictures. I just might use them in an upcoming magazine.

I hope you’re enjoying this summer; and I hope you see the rains needed to carry this crop through to a bountiful harvest.