FROM THE EDITOR
Buy, buy, buy.
Being frugal, and especially in these tough economic times, those are precisely the words I don’t want to hear.
So the day my husband David came up with a plan to construct a much-needed hay shelter out of recycled materials, I was game. In his construction job, he’d torn down a customer’s old shed and hauled off the debris, intending to take the scrap metal to the recycling center. He was sorting through the materials when I told him that our neighborhood farmer saw the square bales stacked in our attached garage and suggested we build a hay barn.
“He’s right,” David said, and he set to work framing the shelter with lumber scavenged from yet another job site. He finished the work in a matter of days. Before loading the shelter with hay, I caulked the nail holes in the metal roof, hung the tack inside and lugged the feed container to the back.
In the end, the hay barn cost us $35 for the 2-x-6-inch roof joists. Our two horses whinnied as we crammed 80 bales into the little addition. The cats love sleeping on the hay. The grandkids want to have a campout.
For David and me, the satisfaction comes from knowing the shelter was sustainably built. By reusing materials, including old nails, our project took less energy and resources to complete. For more on this concept, read Michael Van Hall’s ingenious ideas in Fuss. Talk about frugal! They don’t call him the Cheap-Ass Curmudgeon for nothing.
Remember, sustainability is not something you buy, but a goal for the way you live. If you must buy things, go to flea markets or yard sales first. Buy locally. Think about the energy that goes into producing and transporting the goods you buy. Experiment. Do it yourself. Check the free items at craigslist.com.
And if someone tells you that you have to spend green to be green, don’t buy it.