Monday, August 9, 2010

working with what you have . . .

My dad was full of ideas and built all sorts of gadgets for himself to do his work. He was a machinist and worked with his hands all his life, and he came up with some REALLY useful ingenious devices. One creative idea that I learned from my dad was this dust-blowing tube that keeps your work clean while you work. Since I use the scroll saw tons, I needed something that would blow the dust away while I worked so I could see the pencil lines on the project I was working on. After years of blowing it off with a puff of breath (and nearly passing out) I rigged up a tube that is attached to the arm of the saw using a wire. Under the saw is a bulb syringe, attached to the tube, and being pumped from the movement of the arm. The result is the small puff of air that seems like a continuous stream to blow the dust off.

While I am at it, I'll share some more of the creative ways I am using some of the materials that I have found around the farm to a good purpose. First, there are my upcycled fencing that I am using as tomato cages. Out in the woods I have a metal/concrete graveyard. We call it the graveyard because all this junk/material was just put there to die. Anyway, I started to visit the graveyard and see if I could re-purpose some of the materials to a better use. Once old and dying, now new and usable. Ildi needed 80 cages made so I decided to use the rusted rolled up fencing to make them. I had originally thought to make them vertically, but then got inspired to try to work with their natural bend. They have sat in the woods for years rolled up. Here I cut them in the middle of the 13th and 14th square making sure to leave some wire to push in the ground. They naturally drape over the plant and have enough space for the plant to grow UP THROUGH the holes creating support for the blossoming plant. I am thinking that I might have to add a larger cage on top if the plants gets much taller. I have enough fencing to last a lifetime!

And these are my upcycled blocks of concrete turned garden markers. We have four paddocks of garden so I put 16 pieces, one on each corner, to mark out where the garden starts and ends. It also makes a nice border for mowing the grass next to the first rows.

I found some flat blocks and decided to make a patio of sorts outside my wood shop door. The step over the doorway was a little high so I put some sand down, added the concrete pieces as pavers, and then brushed sand between them much like you would do for a brick patio. I am in process of making the same thing on the back of the house for a patio. My goal is to let the grass grow up between them to give it all a cottage design look and feel.

Using the same kinds of blocks, the family has been enjoying some outside fire pit cooking as well. A few months ago I built the pit using the concrete, and lined the inside with really small stones. The blocks are movable so if I decide I want the fire pit elsewhere, I just move the pieces to the new site.

And lastly is our skid recycle bin. One skid on the bottom, four around the sides to create a great place to put scraps of plants, manure, and the occasional dead chicken or groundhog. On top I have my compost sifter that fits over top of my wheel barrel. I just heap a bunch of compost on it, shake it down, and then return the larger pieces for more decomposing time.

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