Monday, July 13, 2009


The human desire to collect things is a peculer thing. Nobody needs hundereds of anything. Yet there are enough collectors in the world to prove that when people find something they like there is a natural desire to attempt to aquire more of it.

When I was a kid I collected broshures. Everytime my family would ride on a farry or stop at a rest area, I would examine the banks of brotures in search of a flier from some local travel destination I didn’t have yet. My broshure collection didn’t take up much room, I just rubberbanded my stack of advertizements together and stashed in on a shelf in my closet.

One of my friends from college collected Planters Peanut parifinalia. His collection began as he saved old peanut jars and stashed verious small toys inside. Then his dad found a Mr. Peanut apron at a flea market and desided to get it for him. That started the obsession. As a college student my friend regularly checked ebay and cregs list for peanut parifinalia. He had a storage unit full of the stuff, and even attended peanut conventions with other peanut pals. I did find my friends peanut enthusiasm a little odd. But he was a cool guy when he wasn’t talking about nuts, so I tried not to let it bother me.

I guess I have come to accept the need to collect. On my very first date with my husband he told me that he had collected tractors as a kid. Not model tractors, but large pieces of farm equipment, perfurably the kind that didn’t run so he could rebuild them. Fortunately, I live in Oregon, and all of his antique machinery is off at his parents house in Pensilvania. I probably should have viewed this as a warning sign and run away while I still had the chance. But I didn’t. Instead I found this cute tractor enthusiast fascinating. I didn’t know anyone who collected tractors, and figured I would have lots to learn, and therefore lots to talk about.

The problem is that I am now married to a collector of rusty metal. We don’t actually own any tractors. My hard and fast rule is that we can’t own a tractor until we own land to tract. Since we live in suberbia, the treasures in our back yard are limited to a fork lift, an oister shell grinder, two steam engines, a hit and miss engine, and a giant wood shop with every power tool imaginable inside.

Last week we went on an 8 day, 3000 mile road trip that lead to the aquisision of a milling machine, a universal machine, a tenon machine, and a band saw. These tools are all in various stages of disrepare and will need a lot of TLC before they become opporational. Naturally, my husband is just as excited about the act of restoring these machines as he is about one day using them.

The sad thing about this voyage of rusty metal is that we got all our new treasures from my realatives. My uncle is a junk collector by trade. He specalizes in buying old broken lethes and restoring/rebuilding them before selling the off. Naturally my husband was like a kid in a candy store as we wandered my aunt and uncles acrage staring at falling appart pieces of old broken down machinery.

I didn’t view the massive piles of useless equipment with quite as much enthusiasm. Instead I felt like I was looking into a crystal ball and seeing my own future. I’m married to a collector. I don’t have a stack of broshures sitting on my bed side table, and I don’t have a storage unit filled with peanut jars. But 30 years from now, I will probably have a dozen acres of land that’s covered with tractors that don’t run and bushes built out of antique machinery. Oddly, I think I’m okay with that.

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