Sunday, February 14, 2010

Puertas de Fierro

Only God can know how many countless thousands of 25 to 30-foot lengths of steel sucker rods were used to draw up the oil riches of Duval County in the last century. The shallow wells ran dry and the oil boom went bust, but there were still riches to be found in the acres of rusting oil field bone yards. Those same steel sucker rods, now abandoned above and below the surface, would serve as a low-cost steel-fabricating resource in the decades following the bust. Much of it was reincarnated as indestructible ranch gates, las puertas de fierro that a decent self-taught welder could cut and bend with an acetylene torch, then fashion and weld to fit and secure any gap in a corral or fence line.

When the supply was plentiful they could be had as cheap as ice in Alaska. Today, sucker rods, if they can be found and aren't too pitted, will set you back nearly as much as a Somali pirate's ransom demand.

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