Our parents were kids during the Depression, and the examples they set fit right in to today’s philosophy of recycle and reuse and don’t waste.
Sometimes we do that on a fairly large scale. Our men were offered the job of taking down the two story grain elevator in Emerald in exchange for the wood. Since it had been built flat board on flat board (instead of edge on edge) we gleaned something like six MILES of mainly useable boards. We re-floored the second story of our barn, able to reuse most of the wood, and then built a very useful shearing area. Mezzanines were built which immediately filled with ‘stuff that will come in useful someday’. The shearing area is storage for our Wool Shed products 360 days/year, and emptied for shearing for 5 days of shearing.
Our boys learned basic carpentry, being allowed to reuse the broken or too short pieces building tree forts and platforms.
When Jake rebuilt the barn this spring, there was not one significant purchase needed. Virtually everything was scrounged.
A portable saw mill was hired to cut our own logs into boards for our use. It was satisfying to discover how to reuse the off-cuts to make effective compost containment, turning dead plants, weeds and roots into great compost to feed the garden.
A horse-drawn milk wagon became a tow-able warm-up shack for construction (with an old pizza oven for warmth). Parked in our back yard it was reused as a duck brooder, a boys’ clubhouse, then rebuilt into a sauna with scrounged cedar wood lining and another reused wood stove.
Our Wool Shed was once a milk/ice house, then was farm storage, candle production shed, ATV shed, boys’ music room, and now a neat little outlet shop.
One loader tractor is an amalgamation of two elderly tractors. We are now scavenging an ATV and another tractor for parts to reuse.
Scrap bits of metal have been stored for years, then found to be just the thing for some patch job, welded on. The pole for our Purple Martin house was made out of a grain auger tube.
But sometimes we get ridiculous. Each bale of yarn for the Wool Shed is wrapped with double thicknesses of string. For some years, we’ve painstakingly saved those, wrapping them in a knot-filled ball, used for tying newspapers, tomato plants, bundling herbs etc.
Our depression-era parents would be proud.