Thursday, August 30, 2012

Reuse, Recycle, Repeat. It will save you money in the long run

"Good God Boy! You have got the junk in here"
That was what my dad said on one of his visits to my barn.

Yes I am, I admit it. I am a pack rat, a hoarder and a junk collector. He told me one time that if I keep going, by the time I get his age I will need fifty acres to hold all my junk.

You have got to have a junk pile or two or three and maybe even four. If not, you have to buy every little thing you need. I don't know how or understand why people throw away the stuff they do. If I throw it away you can bet your bottom dollar it needs to be thrown away. My trash has been used and used well. 

Here is one example why I have junk piles,
A few months ago I bought a greenhouse kit. No I didn't build it, I bought it. I thought it would be better that way by saving me time and money so I just did it. The first big storm blew through and blew out several of the plastic panels to the roof and walls of the new green house. I was only able to find three of the seven that were missing. I knew those cheap clips were not going to hold those panels in place for long with this wind out here, but I tried to have faith that the Engineers knew what they doing when they designed the thing and so I went with it. I should have listened to myself better and screwed them the first time.

I priced some new replacement panels and quickly found they cost more than the original greenhouse as a whole. Talk about a marketing scam, it would have been cheaper if I just bought a whole new greenhouse kit rather than buy the replacement panels. They don't sell just a few panels at a time. You have to buy all of them that came with the kit. I guess the Engineers did know what they were doing when they designed it. They found a way to make more money after the greenhouse was sold.

When I lived in town me and the girls built the wife a small greenhouse off the side of the back porch for Mothers day one year and when we moved I took it apart and saved the lumber and all the clear sheeting it had on it. I almost didn't take it, but like always I thought I might need this stuff sometime down the road so I took it and stored it.

The wife had already planted the fall/winter crops in the green house last week and I thought it was kinda sad she was working in a greenhouse that was missing panels so last night I found those old, used plastic sheeting panels and screwed them in place. It's not pretty but it works. 
The clear sheeting has been sitting for three years and turned a little yellow but it fits, kinda. With a little "Southern Engineering" it is good or better than new now.

By saving the sheeting and storing them all this time saved me $500.00
So I am okay with being a pack rat, hoarder and a junk collector. I have a functional greenhouse again and it didn't cost me a dime.

The moral of the story, think twice before you toss it and if you still want to get rid of it ask someone else if they want it before you trash it.          

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekend Getaway

Most people when they want to get away from it all go to the more popular places like Cancun, The Bahamas or even Hawaii. The more upper class of folks may vacation in Rome, Martha's Vineyard, Bora Bora or some other place spending several thousand dollars to have a good time and relax for a few days. Me, I go to little ol' Jefferson Texas.

This weekend was my 22nd year to be married to my lovely wife. I thought we needed to at least do something nice, just the two of us. Being we spent all summer spending time and catered to the kids, taking them everywhere we could and being a family, a romantic getaway was in the cards so we did it.

I can say is was worth it. If you are within 4 to 6 hours of the little town I would go. Being that I am a history buff, but more so on Texas history this was the place for me. We took several tours and even did a ghost tour. Yes, believe me if you want too, this place is haunted and I can tell you one thing, they aren't lying.
The town is set up just for tourists with around 50 bed and breakfasts in old Plantation homes, dozens of antique shops in the historic downtown, bayou boat tours, romantic carriage rides and at least four museums. Needless to say we couldn't see it all in one weekend. It was a Texas getaway with a touch of South Louisiana thrown in, loved it.

Now back to everyday grind for a while. The kids started school today, the oldest has been back to collage for a week now, the house is quite once again.



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Redneck Hypocrite

This is the dialog at the latest RH meeting I attended; 
"Hello, my name is MDR and I'm a Redneck Hypocrite."
"Hi MDR and welcome"

My shop has taken a back seat now for almost three years. In that time I have built everything here at the Mini Farm by hand except the green house and we all know how that turned out.

Giving a idea your blood, sweat, tears and even some of your religion here and there is what it's all about. Using your own skills and intellect to build that same idea into a structure, plus having the feeling of accomplishment after the project is done gives a man a high not many drugs could match. Then, the everyday self worth when you look out and see what your own two hands have built is something that can never be outdone or taken away. Yes it is a man thing and yes it's what drive me on.

My shop has been designed in my head at least a hundred times and then drawn out even more, but that is as far as it gets. Lumber and materials have been gathered, but always used for something else more pressing.  When the work shop reaches the top of the ever changing priority list it's only there a short while until knocked back down to a more lesser spot. At this rate the shop was never going to get done and everything tends to be more important, even the smallest of things.   

Over the past three years I have worked out of a little yellow wagon, pulling or dragging it along flat tires and all to the next bigger and better idea that had to built. The small wagon is so full that every time I hit a bump I have to stop and pick up whatever fell off. When it reaches it's final destination I unload the cart onto tables spreading the tools out so I can efficiently find what I need when the time comes. At night I cover the tables in tarps to keep the dew off my used up equipment and bungee them down so the high winds will not expose the tools to the same.
When the project is completed, I repeat the process in reverse by packing up my little yellow garden cart and storing it away until the next project develops.           

 A couple of years ago my buddy Dave bought a complete, turn key shop building that he had delivered and set up. They handed him the keys, said "Here you go" and that was it, an instant shop.
Of course in my manly way, I thought that was an atrocity to mankind.
I made fun of him for not building his own shop with his own bare hands and I even posted about it for all to read. I think I even used the words, "Well, I would never"

A shop to a man is like a bathroom to a woman, it's where the magic happens. It's where you transform a raw piece of material into something stunning and beautiful.
I am sure I will get some hate mail on that one, but stay with me here.
In most cases you woman have the majority say in everything about the house decor to the flower gardens. You may be shaking your heads no but look around, did we really care what you planted in your flower beds we built or the girly way you fixed up our master bath? No we didn't because if you are happy, we are happy. But a shop is our land, our last frontier to having testosterone we can call our own.
In our shops we feel two pounds heavier from our new growth and can beat our chests giving out the deepest Tarzan yell we can muster. I am man, hear me roar!
It was really hard to do that when I was pulling around a little yellow garden wagon.

Enough is enough, I decided to move forward with my shop so I did.
After much consideration and eating a little crow, I figured my buddy Dave did not have a bad idea after all. I had it delivered yesterday. Call me a hypocrite, it's okay.
So what if someone else built it for me. I still have to build all the shelves and storage spaces. I still have to design and build all the work benches and add all my own touches. I still get to decorate it to what I had pictured in my head so many times before. I will still stain the floor with my sweat and my blood and I can almost bet I will still loose a little of my religion here and there when needed.
I am not worried, with confidence I can say I am still a man. A Hypocritical Redneck maybe.

Inside my new shop sits my little yellow wagon. Her name is "Getty Up Go"
She was a brute when she was new, top of line and ready to work. 
With all she has done, her duty is almost over, just one more project left. She has seen a lot of use, been abused and even broke a time or two, but she has been there through it all and even held me up when I was too tired to stand on my own. She it hard to pull now so we had to carry her inside, tools and all. I tell ya, we have been through it and I almost hate to see her go but I will always remember the times we had, me and Getty Up Go.