Well, today, everyone, I had an adventure. It involved a U-Haul, two fabulous friends (whose gardening love has been part of the elixir that has kept me sane all pandemic long), lots of galvanized steel, a couple of steer, the sunrise (we kept farmer's hours and rose at dawn to make the day thematic!) and, of course, Bernie with me and the cattle panel in the U-Haul:
My friend Heather has been talking about cattle panel since the early days of the pandemic. She has big plans to turn that panel into a trellis/arch for her garden. Kirsten has the same plan! I went along for the ride and the shopping! We have an ongoing text chain about our gardens (they are more advanced than me) and while, at first, I feared my gardening habit was an express train to Nana-Hood, I actually feel more vibrant and alive than ever!
(Vibrant is definitely an elderly person's word.)
Anyway, for a suburban/urban-ish girl (nana) like me, the Tractor Supply Store was a mysterious place. Heather and Kirsten* had researched and pinterested and planned and pre-ordered cattle panel, so I jumped on the adventure and got out of my zip code!
If you are a person without a tractor or a person without a need for horse toys, you might think, why would I ever go to the Tractor Supply Store? Well, friends, I am here to tell you that the Tractor Supply Store has something for everyone! It is like the Aldi of non-perishables and animal-related things that you can repurpose into other things!
Before I tell you what to buy, a couple important notes:
- When you are a first timer at the Tractor Supply Store, they know it---it is uncanny! Well, not really, because they will witness you taking selfies and touching everything (and then hand sanitizing! It is important to be compliant.). They will also hear you shouting: "THIS IS MY FIRST TIME HERE. LOOK AT THAT."
- Most of the items are very large. You will indeed need a U-Haul, if you are not a rancher with your own F150.
- U-Hauls do not have back-up cameras and were made in 1993. Sometimes it will seem like the door is open. It probably is. So hold tight.
- I don't think the Tractor Supply Store sells actual tractors. They are very straight forward, literal people and as their name denotes, they sell Tractor SUPPLIES plus everything else. So it is complicated.
Alright, enough of the small talk! Here's what to buy at the Tractor Supply Store (if you don't own a tractor):
1. Cattle Panel. What's cattle panel you ask? It is a large, flexible metal panel that I think cowboys/dairy farmers/rural jailers use to fence in their cattle/cows/prisoners. I am not clear on its primary use, but Heather and Kirsten are going to bend it, stake it and grow some fabulous vines on it! Growing upward in your garden is an excellent way to maximize your space! So head to pinterest to see Cattle Panel trellises and then order yours for pick up! You'll need some stakes too! Note: I did not buy any because my husband forbid me from buying anything "oversized and ridiculous"
2. Stock Tanks. What's stock tank? Well, it is an amazing galvanized steel vessel that is probably intended to feed elephants or for a goat to bathe in. BUT for non-animal husbandry people, you can use it as planter or maybe a garden pond/fountain. The stock tanks are big, so I also did not get one because of my rational husbands decree. BUT, now that I've seen them, I want one or 7. I think the big, round one would make an amazing flower cutting garden, maybe in the middle of a pea gravel patio area with some brightly colored chairs!
3. Galvanized Steel EVERYTHING. The stock tanks are galvanized steel--and so are all the amazing smaller feeding vessels with endless non-farm applications. I snagged some metal feeding pans that look like extra large pie plates to use on my serving table--maybe for salad or chips or cookies. They were just $3.99 (I'd pay $10 for that at Crate and Barrel!) Then these mini-tubs are perfect for everything--tomorrow, I'll use for Chloe's Candy and Hot Chocolate buffet at her birthday party! A three-pack was $9.99. I grabbed two of these large steel tubs to use for parties now and then when warmer days come, I think I'll paint and patina them to match my existing garden hardware and then plant some pollinators in them to help my veggies along!
4. Steer Heads for Your Wall (that you don't have to taxidermy, because they are made out of plastic and like never were alive): Okay, I know this sounds bizarre, BUT, this is my most favorite find!
These Steer Heads are made for practicing your cowboy skills or something; but I am repurposing a pair of steers to hang above my fire place mantle on either side of our family portrait. And they were just $39.99 each. I might leave them black or I might paint them some strange bright color. I am so excited!
In fact, Tractor Supply has loads of random, unique items like this. There is even a horse toy aisle for people with horses and people who have unique interests not involving horses, but involving horse toys (if you know what I mean).
5. Fabulous Books and Magazines! Tractor Supply has a great news stand section. Kirsten showed me "The Whole Seed Catalog," which is filled with amazing knowledge and cool intel on all sorts of seeds! I grabbed a copy and cannot wait to dive in and plan my garden this year!
Special thanks to my U-Haul Driver/Fearless Leader Heather and my equally Fearless Navigator Kirsten. I can't wait to rent another vehicle without working doors, grab these girls and hit up Tractor Supply again! (I spied some kayaks and paddle boats that I absolutely do not need, but would fit in the Uhaul!
* I never asked their permission to use their real names or likeness in my blog. Hopefully they are okay with it! This post will go viral!