The slough has not shown any sign of life for the past three weeks, it’s mating season. A few ducks and Geese were flying around fighting with one another, it’s a bit of a strange chain of events that unfolded over several days. Three birds appeared to be a mating set (?), I’ve seen it while competition for a mate is at full throttle but to settle in and accept it is a little odd. But there they are three Canadian Honkers and three Mallards, something must be in the air. Other than the big Blue Heron and an Egret no one else is on the wing.
We’re still cleaning the old place up, after making 3 trips to the dump one would think there wouldn’t be much left. There is a lot left however, so much that we don’t miss any of the stuff that is by now deeply buried in the piles of the refuse center. Customary on the Island is to set items on the shoulder of the road if it’s free for the taking. When something is on the road for a few days the feelings change from one of benevolence to disbelief no one wants my stuff and finally embarrassment when it’s dragged back to the garage.
But that’s the free stuff, we all have treasures that are too good to toss away, too crappy to give away, but is still worth something, so hello social media. Almost as bad as a yard sale listing items on one of these sites can be a lesson in human nature. Depending on the location the results vary, the site “Next Door” doesn’t work well in my area, but my neighbor told me it works great in silicon valley. A well-established area may be part of the formula for success, this is an old town but there are hundreds of new homes that have been built over the past few years. The purchase of a new home will drain the finances and it shows in the offers people make on the items being sold. I’ve listed several items on Craigslist and have received a number of inquiries, all scams, I will let them peter out and figure out somewhere else to try. I was leery of Craigslist anyway, it’s a good platform but like everything else, it only takes 1% of the users to disrupt things.
Yard sales for me are terrible, we had one 25 years ago before we moved to the Southern California Desert, I ended up giving most of the valuables away. I sold a highchair my wife did not want to sell, I still hear about that. Now that I think about it some of the stuff we tried to sell remains in the garage to this day, but it’s days are numbered. The goal is to go through everything and end up only with those items we will use. We’re uncovering gems we received as gifts and is still in the original boxes, my idea is to give them out as Christmas presents this year. My wife thinks we’ll end up giving it back to the people that gave it to us because the gift fits them well. I’m becoming of the mind that when someone comes over I will just ask them “Do you want this”?
In the spirit of getting rid of stuff and attempting to sell that which still has some life left in it or is valuable in some other way, some of it has to be replaced. After cleaning for a year a lot of forgotten treasures are unearthed, in some ways I feel like an Archaeologist, unfortunately, some of it needs fixing. That’s one of the biggest things about getting older we reach a point in our lives when everything wears out, most of what I have is broken. Some of it is needed, shovels, rakes, hoes, and hedge trimmers, it doesn’t matter how old a guy gets we still use that stuff enough to warrant keeping it around. We built a list of stuff we need, not want but what we actually will use, yeah OK. We like to repair things, or in the least, if a small part is needed don’t we all take pride in repairing it and making is useful again? I do, but then there is another side to that coin as well, is it worth fixing?
I bought a new shop vac, I hated to do it, there is nothing wrong with the old one except one small thing, the filters are 1/2 the cost of a new vacuum. A rule of thumb when repairing equipment in the industry as a Millwright is if the repairs exceed 50% of the new price it is cost effective to buy a new unit. The problem with that is I end up keeping the broken one, I’ve already dreamed up uses for the old vac, I really don’t want to keep it but I know my self too well.
They make good water evacuators, the receiver acts like a tank and expansion chamber allowing the heavier moisture soaked debris to settle on the bottom. The compressed air is allowed to exit the vacuum most likely cleaner than when it entered.
A good source of compressed air is needed for when I make “worm tea”, the practice of using worm manure and brewing it into a liquid. Using a paint strainer bag (cheesecloth), filling it with a pint of worm manure (castings) and suspending it in 5 gallons of water with air circulating around it produces homemade fertilizer. A source of compressed air is needed, I use my air compressor, or an old air mattress pump, or in this case a modified Shop Vac. While running the irritating noise they make would convince most of us to just shut the thing off. My wife tossed the last one away, I didn’t realize it was gone for several weeks, it was a good thing otherwise it would still be here somewhere.
There is some sort of a lifting device with a 1500 pound capacity hand winch, I don’t know what it is. That is strange for me because my life was spent around equipment of all shapes and sizes, plus being mechanical I am normally able to make sense of this sort of thing. I put it on Craiglist anyway listed as a pickup truck bed cover hoist, I think it can be used for it, I don’t know 50 bucks, whatever.
A lot of it is just old stuff, a lot of tools I have are antiques, the young guy’s look at some of my battery tools and talk about how old they are. At my age it’s all still cutting edge technology, our youngest son gave me all of his tools with electrical cords on them. They aren’t worth anything to anyone, but there is a lot of it like that, I have an exhaust manifold for a 1979 boat, it is actually valuable to a person in need. I can not give this thing away and it will be a shame if I have to toss it in the recycle, but there comes a time.
Oh, and the stereo system in the garage, well actually everyone we own is an antique. Years ago we sold all of our LP Vinyl records, and guess what now we have twice as many CD’s, and an equal number of Cassette tapes, Yikes. The Sherwood Amp and 1960 era Pioneer giant speakers play well but they are so old, in fact, I have two sets of the speakers. Our surround sound amp has flamed out on us as well so now we have to figure out what we’ll do about this 30-year-old Bose system, I think they are all wireless now.
Our biggest hurdle to get over is realizing we don’t need this stuff. When my wife shows me something and says “this is going”! Typically I look at it and reply “No! I use that all the time”. We go back and forth like that until the keep pile never loses anything, one accomplishment is it all gets dusted off and neatly placed back to where we got it. The Pool Table made in 1885 is a case in point, it’s in pieces and we’ve been moving it for 30 years, one trip my wife made with it from New York to California.
I appreciate the time you took to read my blog, now I’m going back to sorting this stuff out with a diminishing “good” pile, I’m hoping.
Jacques Lebec Natural Self Reliance