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  Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Five gallon buckets
were versatile, useful farm equipment

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
I can proudly announce to my readers that with great resolve, strong character, determination and counseling, I have finally kicked the habit. No longer does my heart skip a beat and my hands get sweaty as I hit the brakes, shift into reverse and squeal my tires backing up to retrieve an empty 5-gallon bucket lying beside the road.

Proof of my accomplishment comes from the fact that for the past week I have driven right by a clean, plastic 5-gallon bucket on my way to and from the coffee shop every day. Each trip is getting easier as my hands are more relaxed and my brake leg doesn't twitch and jerk in passing.

Some of you young "whippersnappers" may not relate to the significance of a 5-gallon bucket to the well-being of the old-time farm family. Back in my day, these containers (metal, not plastic) were the most-used piece of farm equipment on the early day farmstead. Products were often purchased as much to get the bucket as to get the product inside.

Uses included: carrying feed and water to livestock and poultry; slopping the hogs; gathering the eggs; and picking garden produce. Buckets were also used to sit or stand on, and for packing grain, fuel and tools to and from the fields and carrying skim milk from the cream separator.

My mother suffered in her later years from "carrying chicken-water elbow" which hurt each time a cold-weather front came through.

I'm sure some of you can think of more uses. In fact, I'll send a free "It's All Trew" book to the person who sends me the most uses for a 5-gallon bucket. I'll publish the winner's name in this column.

My habit of picking up items along the road reminds me of a problem my father had in the old days.

He hated trash and weeds. If we weren't chopping weeds we were hauling off trash.

The problem came when the trash haulers, (me especially) returned home from the county dump ground with more junk than we hauled off in the beginning. The old adage of, "one man's trash is another man's treasure" contains a lot of truth. Dad finally did not allow anyone but himself to go to the dump.

Since retirement in 1985, Ruth and I have been guilty of collecting items from garage sales, estate and farm auctions, junk shops and antique stores. The "hunt" for these items has provided us with many hours of enjoyment plus filling our home, bunkhouse and cabin with unusual and beautiful antique items. Lately, as we find our walls crowded and shelves sagging, we are slowing down in our hunts.

We are continually amazed to find young collectors trying to acquire many of the same items we still use in our home today. We have mixed emotions about this as it is depressing to think we and our items are finally getting old. On the other hand, we are elated to realize the items we now use every day will soon be valuable antiques.
Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" July 7, 2004 column
 
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