I’ve been busy working on some winter preparations. First I built a wood shed addition and I’m proud of it. I had a little guidance but did all the work myself. I spent a little time thinking about how not to dig post holes and came up with using a railroad timber.I started digging out the area to level it. That was probably the most work of all. When I got to the part where I had to put the railroad tie down, I decided why not just dig only as far as needed.
All the materials came from stuff left at my cabin when I bought it except for the two pressure treated 4×4 posts.
Next I worked on a snow fence. There was some old fencing here when I bought the property. At first I thought it was a visual barrier, hiding some junk behind it. But then I was told it was snow fencing. Last winter I had terrible drift near the road, so I brought it to the beginning of my driveway and placed it way high up.
Not knowing about snow fence placement, I had some help from my neighbor.
“Trial and error.” he says.
My son and his friends had put in the posts (also used) and I ran the fence. But when my neighbor came by, he said “You need some stringers in there and bracing at the ends.” Before I knew it, he was over with his buddy and I had two 85-year-old men fixing fence for me. I was learning from the experts, but you should have seen them work. First they decided that the posts weren’t in a straight enough line. So they got their handyman jack from the truck and within minutes had 3 posts pulled, realigned and then repounded in.
Next they drove a post at a 45 degree angle, one at both ends, while I hustled up some old barbed wire that another neighbor was about to dump. JB got out his hammer and twisted it around and around till it pulled real tight. Then they set two stringers of barbed wire behind the snow fence, used my fence stretcher (I sure hope the guy who invented that tool is rich!), and tied the snow fence to the stringers with some of the rusty old wire. I was amazed, and I got a real kick out of being helped out by these two old guys.
In fact, just a few weeks ago, I was trying to change a tire and couldn’t for the life of me get a few of the lug nuts off. These wonderful old men came to my rescue and showed up the 20 year olds hanging around. They’re stronger than most guys you’ll meet, good natured, and probably faster.
JB told me that same morning he’d taken an old 50 gallon drum he’d sawed in half, laid down an old hose around the sharp edge securing it with liquid nails, and placed it in his upper pasture for his horses. Then he and his friend helped me with my snow fence, and afterwards they went fishing!
I keep thinking that JB ought to teach a class called ‘Don’t Recycle, Reuse.” If he sees me throwing something away, he wants it. My neighbor had some old twisted metal fence posts I was bringing to the dump. “Don’t toss them” JB said. “I’ll straighten them out and use them.”
Luckily I had saved those rolls of my neighbors barbed wire cause we used some of it on the snow fence. “Use the rest and put two wires as a top wire on your fence. That way the elk can see it better. They were throwing away some cable when the Power Company did work around here. I took it and used it along with the top wire on my fence. I had to stretch it with my ‘come along’. The elk see it and know where to jump. That way my fence never needs fixing.”
I do have to say he’s got the best fence in the valley.
When I was working on fixing my driveway JB told me that several years ago (like 18 now) they were paving the main road and had base rock left over. He took that and paved his driveway. “Just wait until they’re working on the Beartooths and get some of their leftovers.”
When I go over to his house, by the kitchen sink they have a bowl of all those little leftover pieces of soap. You know, the parts when the soap gets too yucky and small and you throw it away. Instead, they put them all in a bowl and use them.
My favorite of all his ‘reuseables’ is one of his hats. “I’ve had this since 1940.” Its not a fancy thing. Its synthetic, but where its all worn through, JB has put duct tape. Now that’s creative reuse.