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The Manure Spreader: Recycled treasure

Tim Moffett for Progressive Dairyman Published on 18 April 2016

I’ve never read an instruction manual or how-to book in my life, but somehow people keep giving me their broken stuff – and this perplexes me. Even if it were working, why would I want it?

A good friend of mine lives in a rather large neighborhood community in town. Twice a year, they have a neighborhood yard sale. The first one is just before the holidays in order to clean up the house before the in-laws come over, and the second sale is on April 14.

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After everything that was worthy to be sold is gone, the community donates leftover items to churches, needy families and the goodwill – which I think is awesome. My friend then gathers up all the remaining items to give to me.

Last time he showed up at the farm, I asked him, “Why didn’t you donate this stuff?” His answer, “Oh, we would be too embarrassed to give this ol’ stuff to anybody.” Then I asked, “Well, why didn’t you just take it to the dump?” His response again, “Tim, these items are too good to throw away.”

What? Let me get this straight. These items, which were discarded by an entire neighborhood and three charitable organizations, and too good for the landfill, are somehow perfect for me. My friend said he thought I could use this stuff on the farm.

We all know, as farmers, we are thrifty and try to “re-use” as much as possible. Having the willpower to throw things away is not exactly one of a farmer’s superpowers. These people are turning me into a hoarder without my consent. I was in my barn the other day, and I noticed some of the broken things people have given me over the years.

I have two broken toasters, and one of them is engraved to Larry and Daisy. I don’t know a Daisy and Larry, but apparently they were married on July 7, 1964.

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I found a one-legged mannequin; of course, he was leaning against the wall. I nailed a 2x4 to him and made a peg-legged pirate scarecrow. The one true treasure uncovered was a unicycle. Someday, I hope to make it in the circus.

I plan to entertain tens of people riding my re-furbished unicycle while juggling the six broken chainsaws I found next to the Barbie bus.

Maybe farmers should take it as a compliment that people have such confidence in us that we will find the best in everything. I mean, we did teach society how to make alcohol from fermented fruit and vegetables.

With leftover scraps, we invented the pet rock, quilting and pork rinds. So tell your friends when they come to the farm and see a wooden-handled screwdriver in the electrical panel, that is not a sign of ingenuity; that’s a sign of desperation.

Farmers are more apt to fix things by accident than planning on making it better. We are a persistent people. We keep trying things until it works. And then we just hope we can remember what we did to fix it. PD

Like Tim’s humor? Have him at your next event. Tim the Dairy Farmer Agricultureal Comedian website.

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