Homestead Repurposing 101

| 1/4/2018 9:51:00 AM

Tags: repurposing, homesteading, fixing things, Wisconsin, Laura Berlage, handy man,

tractor tire sand box

I recent watched a TED talk that shared a study on the level of genius thinking in school students.  What is genius thinking?  Here’s an example.  Grab a piece of paper and, as quickly as possible, write down all the things you could do with a paper clip.  Go!

Got that?  So, most folks will think of 15 to 20 things they could do with a paper clip.  Genius thinkers will come up with upwards of 80 or 100!  This is because they are willing to take the idea of a paper clip but free it from its current restraints.  “What if,” the genius thinker asks, “the paper clip is 40 feet tall and made of foam rubber?”

What the study found, using similar methods to the question above, is that 95 percent of kindergarteners are genius thinkers, but by 6th grade that number has shrunk to less than 10 percent.  Kids get carefully trained to get the answers “right,” rather than free associate outside of the box.

For the homesteader, it’s essential to be able to draw on that kindergarten ability for genius thinking.  For instance, there are all kinds of things on a farm built for a single purpose:  a dog collar, a tractor tire, a fiberglass fence post, a shepherd’s crook, a broom, and baling twine.  Let’s run with those fairly ordinary farm objects for a minute and see where the genius thinking goes.

See, the reason for this exercise is the well-known fact that stuff breaks on a farm.  Yes, I know, it breaks more often than I would like it to.  So then what?  Throw it away?  No!  We’re way too thrifty for that.  But the piles of “I’ll use that someday” can quickly overrun the working parts of the farm, so it’s critical to put that obsolete thing to a good purpose.

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