Thrifty is Still in Style

| 5/8/2017 1:41:00 PM

Tags: Wisconsin, Laura Berlage, repurposing, animal housing, thrifty,


Dog kennels are one of those wonderful items that can be used for a wide variety of purposes…and critters!  Photo by Kara Berlage 

Call it odd, call it quirky, call it old-fashioned, call it hoarding, or call it a newer term like cradle-to-cradle, thriftiness permeates the homesteading farmer’s lifestyle.  Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about how old, unwanted sheds would be burnt down and the coals raked through to salvage all the nails for the next project.  Well, times really haven’t changed all that much…save any shed roasting on our part.

It has always surprised me the things people would throw away.  Contractors would come to remodel the old farmhouse or build a new outbuilding, and they’d chuck everything they didn’t use into a huge dumpster.  We’d be out there scavenging, pulling out bits of lumber, pieces of tin siding or roofing, and squirreling it away in our favorite corner stashes.

During the renovation of our 1919 Gambrel barn, some of the boards were so weathered, they were removed and replaced with new white pine.  But were they thrown out?  Oh no!  Those weather-beaten boards came back to life as a run-in pig shelter on skids, roofed with that leftover tin the contractors were going to throw away earlier.

2x4s are gold, never get rid of them!  And screws?  Use them over and over until the heads are stripped bare.  No sense in wasting a good screw.  And old doors?  Put them up in the rafters of the garage—there’ll be a chicken coop that needs one someday.  And the old towels?  Stash them away for lambing.  Rags seem to live forever on a farm!

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