Growing up, we did our Christmas shopping at the "Farm Store."
Midland Farm and Home Supply was the official name for the retailer, but as per usual, we gave it a nickname. We even coined an unofficial slogan for the establishment: "If you can't find it at the farm store, you don't need it."
Judging from the responses to my recent Twitter post asking for Christmas gift ideas under $500, many farmers feel the same.
Messages came filled with practical suggestions, many of them tool related. Forget fancy ... just give us some warm gloves and if you really want to splurge, perhaps a battery powered grease gun. Who doesn't need a more convenient way to deal with the "zerks" in life?
What I confirmed (I already knew this) is that yellow (DeWalt) versus red (Milwaukee) loyalties can get as heated as arguments over farm equipment paint colors. Strong gift buying hint here -- it is wise to determine what brand the recipient of your gift already uses because batteries are typically not included and using them interchangeably sometimes requires an adaptive personality.
Extra battery packs are a great stocking stuffer, too. They aren't cheap and heavy enough to knock your socks off the mantle. Still, gifting them will likely get you a few more farmer high fives than socks, underwear and a box of chocolate-covered cherries. Just don't forget to throw a few 9/16th-inch wrenches and a pair of pliers into the mix.
Alligator lopping saw. Automatic hose reel. Battery powered chainsaw. Impact wrenches (of various sizes). Drill bit sharpener. Extension wrenches. Tire pressure gauge/inflator. Volt meter/amp probe. Portable generator.
There were several respondents who recommended a battery powered leaf blower to clean chaff off the combine or a battery powered vacuum to clean out tractor and combine cabs. Several votes came for floor sweepers for the shop. A cart to load up and wheel to the work area seemed thoughtful. There was a mention of a device used to measure the flow rates of sprayer nozzles.
Rechargeable head lamps or flashlights still make the want list. So does beer and/or something with a more spirited punch.
If road conditions allow, there's still a little time to find your way to a local farm store before Christmas. Make sure to stop at the threshold as the doors slide open and breathe deep to let the new tire smell mix with the essential coconut oil that almost always coats the free popcorn.
Soon, you'll be pushing a cart full of all sorts of things you never knew you needed. Oh wait ... are we supposed to be shopping for others?
Pamela Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN
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