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Why Be Normal?

December 20, 2013

Be creative in solutions! Here’s some ideas. Off beat – yes they are.

They also kept one appliance out of the landfill, and provided decoration and function!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe needed a quick way to keep some wood covered, and a small teepee did it while also using “scrap” items – plastic and a few long pieces of wood.

It went up in a short while, and has kept wood dry and added more storage space than we had otherwise.

A larger one offers not just extra space, but enough room to, in fair weather, provide space for a cot to sleep outside. I don’t know that we’ll do that, but it’s an option!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe larger one can be used to get things out of the weather too, especially in the rainy months.

The painted decorations was a guy thing moment of inspiration. 🙂  Some extra paint from another project was put to use.

The bigger creative project came with an oven that no longer worked due to a short. It’s sat around for a couple years as we tried to figure what to do with it. Haul it off? Find a way to do something else with it, and then what? Dehydrator? Smoker? It was broken beyond repair and “junk.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe thought was on to find something to use for it. It was stripped down, and fashioned on some blocks for the heat source under it.

Blocks around it help hold heat in, with a fire spot below it as a heat source. It takes a little practice to get it down, but yes it bakes things and during the hot months when we don’t want to heat the kitchen, it’ll be good for cookies and other baking as well as heating pizzas or other meals.

FramesA ‘waste’ frame for shipping lawn mowers. These are often torn up and thrown “away” – which means littering a landfill somewhere, in many cases. Then we buy lumber to make shelters with. Madness!

And wasteful. So we OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAstrapped this down and hauled it home. Tipped it over, framed it in, put a piece of plywood on top. Instead of junk it’s a shelter for birds, with an option of a raised roof to raise chicks in (future alteration!). It’s not as pretty as many of the cute hutches we see, but we didn’t have $500-700+ to spend at the time we needed something quickly. This has been functional – giving the birds a place out of the rain and weather – for about $25. It’s been in use for four years and two people can move it if needed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother opportunity when a fridge permanently died. It would bring a few dollars, maybe, at a recycling spot (if we’d had a truck to get it there!), or created a hazard if stuck in back. We took the doors off, made needed adjustments and made it into a raised bed. With clear plastic or glass on the top it could be used to start seeds, and in a pinch we transitioned chicks to the outside in it! The block around the base can be used for extra planters, or stored out of the way for the next project we need it for.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABroken up blocks are ‘waste’ at many construction sites. Overlooked, it is often scooped up and – yes – hauled to the dump. How much trash (and land) is used burying “junk”? I think we’d be shocked! So this is a project that sprung from the availability of pieces – a walkway between the raised bed. We could have used mulch or other material, but the availability of pieces of block, some creativity and patience on Scoutman’s part and it gets new life!

There’s never a shortage of a need for shelters – wind blocks and keeping rain out doesn’t take a high dollar fancy OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbarn. While we’d love to have a modern barn with conveniences, starting where we are with what we have means much lower expectations. A frame with plastic does well for a turkey shelter in our mild climate.

Notice in the background the bigger hoop – it’s been in operation for a few years now, and still works well at keeping the birds within dry and protected.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA couple of chickens moved in to join them…and Scoutman & Connor recently made a fence across the front – it’d look nicer with a saw to even up the ends, but the birds don’t care!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACompact takes on new meaning with this small spot. The pallet and tin is another bird shelter – cornish chickens at the time of this writing. The far side is a compost bin, and on the lower right (the tire) there’s a framed in raised bed. The compost and raised bed also offer some thermal insulation for the birds inside the shelter.


We’d enclosed the deck here and, in time, put a small ‘house hen’ pen with a 4×8 shelter inside the covered area. In a day of inspiration Scoutman decorated the plain white with chickens and bunnies.

I’m quite sure there will be critics. I’m sure there are people who will look down at this means of reusing “junk” – but if we wait for a windfall of money to do things, it’ll never happen! It makes use of materials that otherwise would have been thrown away and provides a functional, if not exactly eyecatching, use for them.

Most importantly, it provides dry shelters for birds, and allows us to use what funds we have on other things. That elusive angel investment funds may come – or may not, but suffice to say that land and all we can make use of money! And maybe it will show others that you really can start where you’re at with what you have.

We did.


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