The Gadget Man
Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

 The Gadget Man


Recently of friend of mine described me as a "gadget man." I took just a little offense at this because I feel I have only the tools I absolutely need. Later , when faced with banks of cordless chargers and what my wife describes as a collection of gray cases, I decided I enjoy my gadgets a little too much.

The first gadget I can remember was the CB radio. My brother, Dave, had a CB in his car and I would hook our television antenna to my walkie-talkie so we could communicate. Later in life I developed a real affinity for anything cordless. Our house features so many battery chargers that I occasionally will burn out a battery by placing it in the wrong charger. I also like to create my gadgets. A good example would be the "snowbine." This was a Massey 510 combine with a snowblower mounted on the front. It never really worked out for me and I had to sell it. The problem was I became so involved with it that I lost perspective. I had plans to replace all of the control levers with pneumatic cylinders and control it with a joystick. Much like Frankenstein, I had lost control of my monster. I did learn a lot about hydraulics, gear cases and pneumatics and so the project was worth the effort.

I’ve discovered this much in my experience with gadgets. I’m a mechanical guy. I’m okay with hydraulics or electronics but I really shine when I focus on pulleys, belts, gears and levers. I once created an air operated head gate for my cattle but it really never worked. The air cylinder was too slow and it was hard to operate. What finally worked were some fifty year-old pulleys from my dad’s barn, a little rope and two rusty springs. I believe my affinity for gadgets reached new heights this Fall. I had overcharged the spot light I used to check cattle rendering it useless. Now a small flashlight might have been plenty but I needed something more-a gadget. I purchased a spotlight named "Thor." (I’m not kidding) Thor weighs about fifteen pounds and is the size of a small toolbox but really earns it’s powerful name when used. It’s first switch gives you an adequate half million candlepower but that beam serves merely to create a pilot hole for the ten million candlepower switch. I sometimes worry it’s so bright that airplanes may mistake our yard for a landing strip. My dad worries I am going to blind the cattle with it so I use the big light only sparingly or if I want to check for deer in a three mile radius.

I like gadgets but most are very useful. I think I can justify most of them without any problem. Now you’ll have to excuse while I go attend to our cats’ automated, filtered, waterfall cat dish.