This lawn is no yawner

Once people hear Bob Schelling likes to collect odd things, it seems items just fall into his lap.

“They know what my interests are,” he said. “I’m just in the right place at the right time.”

Many of those items can be found in the yard of his rural Marshalltown home just south of LaMoille.

Among the dozens of items in his yard are two working stoplights he bought at a swap meet, two gas pumps that were given to him, a merry-go-round and slide, a railroad junction box and an antique potato digger.

“I’ve always been a hot rodder since I was a little kid and I always wanted auto material,” Schelling said. “I’ve been collecting this stuff for at least 40 years.”

Schelling, 66, is a Lennox retiree after working for the company for 30 years.

One of the stoplights on his property was purchased in Des Moines and the other in Cedar Rapids. He then was able to make them operational and they run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One is located near a shed north of the home and one by the home’s back deck.

So why get the stoplights?

“I have no idea,” Schelling said. “They are just something that I wanted. Usually people have them and they don’t operate.”

If you think he’s got unique items outside they are just as unique in the garage, including a 1931 Reo Speedwagon fire truck, which is often a hit at local parades and was given to him by friend.

Bob’s wife of 47 years, Linda, doesn’t mind the unique yard items as long as she can mow around them. She is fondest of the stoplights.

“They light up the yard and you get a lot of comments on them,” she said.

There is one item that is missing from his yard collection that Bob has always coveted, though he thinks he’ll never get it.

“I’d like to have a railroad car and some tracks but I’ve never run across one of them that was affordable,” he said.