week I was out in the pasture rebuilding part of my goat shelter. I removed one
wall and added ten feet of length to better accommodate the Nannies during birthing.
More room is better for the ‘kids’ and the whole herd. I put in a small hay rack
and a feed trough, too. And, for those cute little things, I added some hay bedding
for these cool nights we’ve been having lately.
Goats are very curious
creatures. Some of them came up real close in an effort to ‘help’ me. They had
to almost stick their nose right in the action, staying close and sniffing around
to see what is going on and what changes were being made to their abode. But,
I like to see that! I don’t blame them. Being a Capricorn myself, I understand.
I’m a lot that way too.
I caught myself, out of habit, straightening the
old bent nails I had pulled out of the boards, in order to use them again. Now,
I don’t have to straighten and reuse old nails anymore. It’s a habit instilled
in me back in the 1940's and ‘50's by necessity and the frugality of my parents.
We reused everything we could. Sometimes over and over several times. And over
When my Dad had a little building project around home, old boards
with nails still in them, were often used. As a kid and his helper, my job was
to ‘clean’ the old nails out of the boards. I would drive the nails out backwards
and pull them out with a claw hammer or a crow-bar. Then I took each nail, laid
it on a board and hammered the crooks and bends out of it, making it straight
and reusable again.
I don’t have to do that any more. It is not very far
to Home Depot, Lowes or the True-Value Hardware. But, one reason we had to practice
conserving, frugality and reusing things was because we lived far, far from town
and the hardware store. Not to mention, money was not in abundant supply for my
rural, near poverty family. We raised our vegetables, chickens, eggs and a lot
Many other old things were routinely reused. Like rusty
screws. Rusty and used bolts, nuts and washers. Anything that was not ‘used up’
and still had some life in it, was reused. Going through the “Great Depression”,
people had to save and reuse many things. Dad even had a shoe repair kit; a stand
and awl with glue, tacks and supplies to resole our old reusable shoes. He sometimes
put ‘taps’ on shoes for dancing.
Some years later, my Mother wore a lot
of double-knit clothing. Usually pant suits. Double-knit wore like steel and seemed
to never wear out. A neighbor encouraged Mother to get her some new clothes and
quit wearing all that double-knit. Mother said, “I’ve got to wear these out first.”
The neighbor said, “Why don’t you get you some new clothes and let someone else
wear those out?”
Just a few years before Mother passed away, a homeless
person stopped by her house and inquired if she had an old coat she could give
them for the cold weather. In her frugal, saving and ‘reusable’ spirit, she asked
them, “What did you do with the coat you had last winter?” But, she did finally
relent and find a good ‘old’ coat for them to wear before they went merrily on
But all this just reminds me once more, when I was growing
up, I wore patched pants; patched shirts and socks darned heel and toe. Occasionally
I had new shirts and new underwear Mother had made from twenty-five pound flour
sacks she had saved in the kitchen.
That is another story in a previous
life, better told later.
January 1, 2011 Column