My first truck was a basic Ford F150. I bought it used from my father-in-law when I was just getting started in the building trades around 30 years ago. It had a standard transmission so I had to learn to use the clutch and shift gears.
I loved that truck and remember thinking to myself that I would always drive a pickup. I saw pickup trucks as essential vehicles, not only for a carpenters but for anyone who lives in the country, especially farmers. I’ve never known a farmer that didn’t own a pickup.
I drove that first truck until it was well-rusted and mechanically worn out, or so I thought. I ended up selling it to a guy in my town who drove by and saw the vehicle parked in my side yard with no license plates. He did some engine work on it himself and drove it another two years. I admire guys who can do that with a rundown machine.
There would be more trucks: a Chevy S10 and then a Ford Ranger (which I flipped over and wrecked on a patch of black ice one winter morning). Then I bought another Ford F150 (again with a standard transmission, of course).
That second F150 would be my last truck. I drove it until it rusted out so badly that it wouldn’t pass inspection. The motor still started and ran great, and the heater was awesome, even with the cab so ventilated with rust-holes. I ended up giving that truck to a homesteading friend with some acreage. It was a good field truck for a year or so.
Since I was no longer doing carpentry work I couldn’t justify owning a truck any longer. I bought a SUV because it would transport the whole family and get me to work in the morning over unplowed winter roads. For hauling, I bought a 4ft by 8ft trailer and put a hitch on the SUV.
The SUV was a gas guzzler. I got rid of it a year ago and bought a fuel-efficient Honda Accord. It will pull the same 4ft by 8ft trailer and we use it all the time around here. It’s not nearly as nice as a pickup but it is economical and practical.
I have related all of this as the lead-in to something remarkable that a friend of mine recently told me.
My friend is an organic farmer with 200 acres. He owns the land on both sides of a rural road for a mile-long stretch. His home and barns are near the center of the property. There are fields and woods and a stream flowing through the property. It is a beautiful farm and well cared for.
My firend the organic farmer told me that his father bought the land that makes up his farm back in the 1940s. He actually purchased four adjoining farms over a period of time to get the 200-acre parcel. His father farmed the land his whole life and left it to his son when he died a couple years ago.
My friend, a man now in his 60’s, farms the land his father left him and here is the remarkable thing: My friend’s father never owned a pickup truck all the years he farmed.
How in the world can a farmer farm without a pickup? Well, my friend says his father was very thrifty and never saw the need for a pickup. He was able to utilize the family’s one car (a big sedan) for his farm needs. On occasion, he was known to transport a calf in the trunk. Larger farm supply needs were delivered by a local farm supplier.
This man’s father farmed for decades without a pickup truck.
I am not relating this story to say that farmer’s do not need pickup trucks. My point is that I think there are a lot of things in our lives that we assume we must have, but we really don't. This story challenges me to take a closer look at things that I've always thought were a necessity. Are they really?
Bristol Caverns picnic - [image: Bristol caverns] The view from a picnic table at Bristol Caverns.
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