Monday, January 17, 2011

Freecycle and Re-use

Truck O' cabinets
Today we headed into town to pick up a load of kitchen cabinets someone had on Freecycle.They also had some landscaping timbers (I absoulutely love Freecycle and Craigslist.)

These are upper cabinets, all wood, old style, but at least they all match, and they are solid wood--good quality. With a little paint they will be a wonderful and welcome addition to the work space in our kitchen/dining room.

Before he had to go to work, Richard finished hanging  them up above the desk we created a few weeks ago. Wonderful! Now some of the canning supplies and maybe our stockpile of egg cartons can be put away, out of sight. I hate looking at clutter, but with so many tools and items we use daily, what can you do? Find cabinets on Freecycle, that's what!
Freecycle cabinets

This is the beginning of my bigger plan to turn our ugly and "modern" clean lines and open space modular home into something I can bear to live in. I know I can't recreate my old Victorian house, or give this double-wide the feel of a lovely old adobe, but every little thing we can do to make it less commercialized and more artsy and unique, the better. I must give it character. Somehow. Maybe some painting is in order...soon.

I always had this vision for our farm to be a work of art. Why can't we have beauty and a functioning farm too? Why does everything that is so utilitarian have to be so darn ugly? Yeah, I'm a big fan of the cute little farmhouses with red barns and white rail fences, but I know that only money can turn a farm into that stereo type, and we never have enough of that, so...what can we do to make our space, our little piece of dirt here in the high desert a little more attractive and inviting?

No offense to Richard, but I really don't like the look of unfinished projects, lumber sitting around waiting to be used, or stacks of tires. I suppose in this case, as I have been reminded by recent readings, that those people I have issue with are mirrors of myself, and the covenant police is really just me, trying to see our farm from the neighborhood perspective. I really have no idea what people think. Nor should I care. But I do care what I think, and looking at stacks of tires just doesn't make me very happy.

I'm all about re-using and recycling. I have no problem with compost piles or salvaged glass. I like the idea of re-using the throw away tires to build our retaining walls, but when the projects never get finished, all we have is a lot of junk sitting around, making me feel claustrophobic. When we do finish a project, it is a day for celebration. I try to find ways to make the compost piles more attractive (is that possible?) by putting planters of flowers around the bins made of pallets. I'd like to plant flowers in the tires when we get them all in place and covered with adobe. They will be like big planters, all in a nice row. Think of the plants that could fill them! I'm still not too clear on using tires as planters for vegetables, in case they leach contaminants into the soil, and there are arguments saying tires are bad and others saying the dirt neutralizes them, as long as the tires are not exposed. I prefer to play it safe and keep the tire planters for flowers we don't use in our foods or medicines.

I am so excited about the possibilities for re-using these wonderful things, here on the farm, but unlike the other aspects of my life that seem to go by way too fast (my kids growing up, personal time, a good night's sleep), the projects here on our farm never seem to get done fast enough. It truly is a work in progress, and much like myself, I can always find things to improve. It probably won't ever really be finished, but is anything? Like people, our farm will always be changing and evolving into something new that I hope incorporates so many of the things I support and believe in (solar, wind power), and hope I can add little pockets of beauty to the chaos of farm life.

We also finished our second Tin Man. Here's an adorable use for tin cans we normally recycle, but in this case I have been saving the cans anyway for seed start pots in the spring. I can spare a few to add a little visual interest to a garden space outside, and maybe scare a few birds or those friendly deer away from my precious plants. He's cute, which makes me smile, and he's recycled art---my favorite kind. It is a blast to reuse anything in art projects...the ideas are endless. Maybe one day we will give a tin man class here at the farm, but for now this little guy is for sale to the first person who wants him. $25 plus shipping if needed.

You can also find directions on how to make your own  tin can man on the web. Find a way to re-use anything before you recycle or throw it away...or freecycle those things you no longer need but might be of use to someone else. By trading things around, we are no longer supporting the consumer economy. Kudos!

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