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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It helps to stockpile

Going with what we have, a combination of the ability to visualize a project and carry it out using materials found on the premises, is a nice skill, but it helps to stockpile some useful things. As we've mentioned before, we collect burlap bags from a coffee shop, at fifty cents each. They're good for storing potatoes, or taking on a variety of tasks. A number of things we've done lately, such as blinds and awnings and a tote bag, begin with these sacks. Often we cut them open along the seams with a scallop-edged bread knife, as above, and then sew the panels together with yarn, wire, or whatever, or staple them to boards or laths.

In this case we're using 30-pound-test fishing line, found in an old tackle box left here by my dad. As it's been in the dark all this time, the line has much or all of its original strength -- it becomes brittle in a season of sunlight, which is one reason dedicated anglers replace the line on their reels every year. Whether single-strand or double strand, heavyweight fishing line works well with burlap -- a canvas needle is nice but not required, as the line is stiff enough to stitch into the fabric all by itself. Hundreds of feet of fishing line can be bought, by the spool, for a quarter or fifty cents at yard sales, and even at retail it can be worth it -- we always get the heavy stuff, and also invest in a few sailmaker's needles.

In this case, the newly stitched, rolled-up burlap has been unrolled inside the new polytunnel, to be suspended as shade for fall/winter vegetables soon to be planted. The fabric could also be used to make an awning or a garden path.

Now we suspend the shade, which should cover most of the bed during the hottest part of the day, in whatever way we can. In this instance, fishing line, baling wire, lath, and duct tape were all used. Seed is to be planted underneath, and watered, and when the plants reach the shade cloth, it will be removed, rolled up and saved for some other use, some other day. They make good garden paths. Compostable, too.

Cost of this project, you ask? Umm, was about four dollars. The take-home lesson is: stockpile your burlap! ... or whatever like it works for you.


Oh, as to stockpiling -- if this is where things are going, and I think it might just be, then here is what I think about hoarding, a term which is in some dispute as things do get worse for some of us:

If the "animal world" does it, it's a widespread and quite normal behavior of great interest to biologists.

If the rich do it, it is cornering the market, and it is smart and good business. See under commodities trading, subheading: speculation.

If the rest of us do it, it's dumb, antisocial and as soon as "they" get around to noticing, illegal.

Joseph is said to have advised the Pharaoh to build grain bins. Lots and lots of grain bins. The difference between that advice and a lot of what goes on today was this: when time came that the Egyptian people began to starve, they came to the bin supervisors and were given what they needed. It was an effective use of tax revenues, in the form of a portion of the harvest.

It was prudent.

It was kind.

And nobody sneered about it on cable news and called it names.

If I were everyone, I'd suggest to my local, state, and national governments to build us all some big grain bins. And I'd make a note to self to build a small grain bin.

And come the time to open that bin, if the governments didn't follow my advice, and only the rich are there to offer us the remaining grain for a price we cannot afford, self will open that small bin and share with the neighbors.



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