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Sunday, February 01, 2009

A Self Supporting Home

[risa] Feeling a little timid about the next tree to take down, which is a hefty cottonwood, not that I mind the tree, but it's surrounded by quite a mature blackberry patch ... and timid, too, about getting back into the attic or under the house ... but a weekend is a terrible thing to waste, so I thought -- aha! Yes, organize the garage, inventory what's out there, and prepare to shop to fill in gaps in our "holdings."

Quite a few tools have flown the nest along with the kids, and we have been feeling the pinch, so it must be time to invest in some sockets, spanners, and the like.

Also, it's dark in there, and the CFL I put in place of the 300 watt incandescent casts a puny-ish light, so as I go, I'm also painting the walls and shelves white. This will absorb quite a lot of paint, as the whole garage was built of rough-sawn timbers and barn boards sixty years ago.

It's slow. There are so many haphazard nails protruding this way and that, from which old fan belts and rotting inner tubes hung for decades, in the way of painting, that I've resorted to pulling them all so that I can get at the wall with a brush in the first place!

After 2 days I'm about 1/3 done, but I'm pleased with how it's going and I'm not all scratched up from blackberries or worn out from the attic! Nice ...

Meanwhile, I've been reading a book, A Self Supporting Home, written by Kate V. St. Maur and published in 1905. In it she tells how she talked her husband into moving to a country place; he commutes to work on the train and she goes into poultry in a big way. Also, she gardens, runs an orchard, milks a cow, and keeps bees.

I wouldn't try everything she recommends -- can't see myself whitewashing a chicken shed with carbolic acid in the lime -- but 100 years ago, some things were done differently than we do them, I'm sure ... but it's quite a look into another world, as she describes assembling and using kerosene powered incubators and such.

"By the way," says she, "can you use a hammer and saw? If not, start in to learn from any handy boy you know; for a chicken woman must be able to mend and make things."

I can relate.


  1. This is delightful! Thanks for sharing with the rest of us - I'm anxious to read these entries. My circumstance is not so different. I too talked my husband into moving to the country. He also commutes to the city to work, while I work mostly from home and tend to garden and livestock. While things are quite different now than in 1905, I suspect many things will still ring true! MY two big priorities right now - become a better shot, and learn to pull a trailer!


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