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Published November 07, 2011, 05:16 AM

Tracking things down

TOWNER, N.D. — I think the key to having a few spare parts around the shop for the next breakdown is remembering where you put them so you can find them when you need them.

By: Ryan Taylor, Special to Agweek

TOWNER, N.D. — I think the key to having a few spare parts around the shop for the next breakdown is remembering where you put them so you can find them when you need them.

That’s no surprise to the tidy operators who have the store-quality parts bins in their shop all labeled, cross-referenced and organized with a Dewey Decimal System card catalog. I’ve made the attempt to have a few cupboards and little plastic drawers. I even taped some labels on some of them.

Of course, I have to remember when I’ve made a change to the contents but not to the label. Like the cupboard that says “½-inch drill,” but when the drill burned out, I converted the space to PVC pipe fittings. I just need to remember that the pipe fittings are filed under “½-inch drill.”

Then there are all the little plastic drawers that aren’t labeled, but I usually can remember what I put where. This doesn’t help anyone else find stuff for me. Sometimes it doesn’t even help me because I’ve nearly worn out the drawers by sliding every one of them open to find what I want.

I took a chance and bought a couple extra things at the implement dealer a week or two ago. I got a set of splice pins for the baler belts to start the season off next year and a half-inch drive ratchet that I needed. Haven’t seen them since I bought them.

They may have never made it to the shop to be put in the wrong drawer, hidden behind the wrong label or no label whatsoever. It’s possible they got kicked under the seat of the pickup, but that won’t mean they’ll be easy to find there either.

It’s like the calendar cartoon I saw once where the cowboy’s pickup got in a wreck and rolled a time or two with everything from wrenches to gloves to bull catalogs scattered hither and yon. The cowboy looks at the scene and figures his pickup still will run all right, but he has no idea how he’s going to get everything stuffed back under the seat. I got the same kind of seats in my pickup.

It’s in the genes

I’m afraid I’ve passed this poor memory for locating things on to my children. I had the kids out with me the other day while I was doing a little work out in the pasture. They were playing in some trees when my 5-year-old boy got all distraught about losing his cap.

I walked over and dedicated a fair bit of time trying to find the missing headgear. We retraced his steps. This is where we were playing in the trees, he says. This dead wood is where we broke off some branches to play with. This is where we walked to throw these dead branches into the water hole.

So we walked and looked and stared at the ground and looked some more. We weren’t finding anything. Then I thought about this a little bit — this kid is 5, he shares the same genes I do, he’s got a lot of things on his little mind. I had a revelation.

“Did you leave your cap on the seat in the pickup before you came out here?” I asked.

“Yeah, I did,” he said and smiled. Lucky he smiled or I’d have been really mad. At least we finally found the cap. I’m still looking for the new ratchet and the baler belt pins.

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