As a non-fixer, I have a great appreciation for the fixers in my life. Every small farm needs at least one fixer and I'm lucky enough to have three really great ones most of the time-my husband, my father and Bruce. There is not much that I can break that one of them can't fix. I suspect my brother-in-law is probably a pretty good fixer as well but since he lives a few thousand miles away he lucks out of my messes.
I thought about this yesterday as the interns and I were planting peas using my Earthway planter. I ran the planter down a row to show the interns how it worked. Then the first intern made her way down a row and passed it on to the second intern. She made it partway down the row and the belt came off. I've used that planter to plant every bean and pea and a lot of sunflowers on this place for the last five years and have never had the belt come off. It wasn't any big deal, but I felt an immediate kinship to her because I'm pretty sure I'm in the company of another non-fixer. Some of us can merely look at a piece of equipment and it breaks.
I like to think I've developed a few skills over the past six years, not so much fixing skills as more non-breaking skills. There was a time though when we were first married that III would work out of town for four or five days at a time and would joke that the reason we had to have three tractors was so he could leave a different implement on each one and hope to be back in town before I broke all three of them. Since then though I've learned how to change most of the implements I use, replace shear pins and jump start most of the battery operated things on the farm. Pretty much anything beyond that though I still hand off to III.
Since I try to pass on to my interns as much helpful information as possible regarding starting a small farm, I've decided talking to them about the importance of having a good fixer will be the most important lesson that came out of planting peas. There is no doubt in my mind that fixing things I break could practically be a full-time job for one person. If I had to pay for this, my little farm would definitely be in the hole. Thank you to my fixers!