Less Thinking, More Painting

Today I have been painting. Remember the amazingly colourful doors I bought at the tip shop for Rosy's room? When we bought the house there was no door on the doorway up to the attic, which clearly had been intended to be used for storage or maybe a studio. Anyway, no door, so after I received a very scary quote from a builder to build a double door for us in the space, I went to the tip shop and found the very thing for $15. The handyman just cut a bit off the bottom and it fit perfectly. Amazing! But very pink and blue. The girls are away visiting their dad this week so I am spending a peaceful few days painting. I also had some shelves built in my room when we moved into our house, and they need to be painted too. This is why I had to wait for the girls to leave, as I had to pile everything that lives on the shelves (all my clothes. Our whole linen collection) onto my bed for three days while I paint, and I am sleeping in Posy's room.

My room draped in drop sheets after undercoating the shelves and covering myself in paint.

It turns out that in the shed I have enough paint (I hope) to do two top coats of the doors and the shelves, but there was no undercoat. So this morning I did some research on which small business stocked low VOC paint, and then I found one and spent some time on Google maps (I am somewhat directionally challenged) to find out how to negotiate that particular tricky bit of highway (the only one in town, of course) and finding where to park (nowhere, by the looks of it), when I finally switched my brain on and realised it was only about a twenty minute walk away. So I walked in the sunshine and bought my paint, and it was even less than fifteen minutes' walk in the end. 

I have noticed a strange phenomenon - in my head things are further away than they really are. When I start walking I get there quicker than I ever imagined. The range of places I am willing to walk to has expanded enormously over the past couple of weeks.

I am a very messy painter and always manage to cover myself in paint. While I was busy doing this I wondered if I could have acquired the undercoat I needed in some other way. Could I have asked around to find out if anyone had any in the back of the shed they weren't using? Does our local tip shop sell paint? I haven't seen any, but then I haven't been looking either. Could I have advertised on freecycle? My problem with freecycle is that I have signed up twice now and forgotten my password both times. The internet is way too hard for me..

This brings me to the next subject I would like to consider on the Quiet Riot Project. Stuff. What are the ethical dilemmas involved in buying stuff? Well, you know I have held forth at length on this subject. I mostly buy second hand, but this year I have to do some things. I want a rainwater tank. I want solar hot water heating, and maybe some PV panels. I want extensive fencing for chickens. I think these are all excellent things to buy as stuff goes, but it always irks me to make the choice to buy things in order to use less.. I feel like a really resourceful person could crochet chicken fences out of wire coat hangers, whip up a rainwater tank with a piece of old roofing iron and a welder and cobble together a solar panel with more roofing iron and a fan (clever reader Angus did just that). Just buying stuff seems so tame in comparison. I think in my head I live in The Little House on the Prairie with The Swiss Family Robinson. I think this is possibly quite a good thing, because when I think about trying new and odd things like making yoghurt and knitting chicken fences, it seems totally normal.

Does anyone else worry about this kind of thing while they are painting? Maybe I should just listen to the radio..


fran7narf said…
I think you might have to go with a bought rainwater tank but a chicken run need not be something that you have to buy new timber etc. for. Check on Gumtree. There is always timber for sale and usually chicken wire etc. We made our chook run out of old poles we dug up from an ancient patio on the property (we discovered when we pulled all the banana passionfruit off it) and some ex fish farm netting. It has been there for 5 years now and is still going strong. I think you have to (I hate using this phrase but it fits here) "think out of the box" when it comes to finding solutions for your buying problems. We have to do it because money isn't an option for us so aside from ethical and sustainable considerations, we have no way of affording new items (even if we wanted to) so we have to do our homework. We found our 10 000 litre rainwater tank on Gumtree and as it was situated just up the road from us we were able to tow it back home ourselves. I think we get fixated on how easy it is to just head to the shops and buy something new. There are many alternatives but they take more time and effort and energy to facilitate. I love Angus's solution. I wish I was brave enough to just "have a go". I am toying with studying electronics at TAFE to see if I can't get my head around how to fix things myself. I guess it's all about how much you will entertain in your head. Happy Chinese New Year by the way. It's the year of the rooster. Not such a happy year for some of our local population I am afraid!
Anonymous said…
Ummm. I know it's not the main topic, but trying to find your way to a paint shop in Lonnie!?! I found that funny. It's not that big! Sorry, not meaning to have a go. I just found that funny.

As to thinking about buying stuff to not buy, and sourcing stuff in alternative ways, I do think, especially after reading dystopian novels, how would we do this without buying stuff at shops. Would someone rework something as a metal workshop? Would we see a resurgence of the fitter and turner trade?

Do you have kerbside clean ups in Lonnie? If so I would think you'd find wire netting put out when people pull apart old gardens.

I think you need to do freecycle and write down your password. As a user of second hand and a swapper of stuff and talents, freecycle would be great for you. My sister in law needed a new base plate for her microwave. Hers had fracked. She put out a request on freecycle for one for her model. Three people contacted her to offer one for free!!!! Better than buying a new microwave as without the spinning plate they don't work properly. Though I do wonder what sort of horder hangs into a microwave plate without the microwave, as the plates are not much use for anything else. Maybe you could explore a little further afield when you do driving practice with The Girl and go around outlying villages and old small farms. They're always getting rid of wire.

As to a watertank. If it's for gardening, I've seen people use old wheely bins and someone drill in taps at the bottom. But for personal use, it has to be new. I'm sure Mrs Ingells would have loved more new things. Remember how excited she got over the stove?

Maybe instead of thinking if it as buying new you think of it as investing in the future. One year's worth of buying for many of less use of resources!

Actually I reckon if you go on freecycle and ask for old chicken coop materials, someone is pulling down their coop after realising chickens take work and it is not what they want, or their mum has got to old and they are clearing out the yard to sell, and they don't want to contribute to landfill or don't want to hire a skip and will be glad for someone to take all the stuff away. I'd eat my hat if you didn't get a response before this term is up.
Jo said…
Hi Fran, I think all your garden solutions are very elegant and beautiful - things you build yourselves usually are, aren't they? Limits do tend to lead to creative solutions, but like you said, just going out and buying new stuff is so easy, and seeking other alternatives is thought-and-time-consuming. But that's ok, I have time and I can try to be creative with what's around..

Lucinda, ha, yes, you know when I mentioned that I am directionally challenged? I really meant it. I actually knew where the shop was, but ironically, it was hard to drive to being as the highway splits just where I needed to get onto it. So much easier just to walk there..

Do you know we don't have kerbside cleanups here? It's a disgrace. So much good stuff gets put out for those!

Yes, I will try to work out freecycle again, and see what I can do. I think I can get a water tank made locally, so I won't have to take up welding after all:)
Evi said…
Hi Jo, a friend of mine uses old inner spring mattresses and turns them into fences. She just pulls all the fabric/foam bits off, turns them on their side and holds them in place with star pickets, tomato stakes or what ever other long sticklike thing she can find! Double beds get cut in half so can be used too. I'm not sure how they'd go keeping chickens in as she uses hers for alpacas and geese but its worth a thought! And I'm hearing ya on the directionally challenged - I use a road map EVERY time I come over to Lonnie because I never remember how to get about...sigh....
Jo said…
Evi, I love creative reusing, and that is brilliant! I think in my past life I was a Womble. I would love to finish off my house and yard using "things that the everyday folk leave behind'.

And yes, although I have lived here for 20 years I often still find myself wondering which way a one way street goes..
margfh said…
We have a used IBC tank for our water storage. It's hooked up to the downspout with a nozzle to hook up a hose. Do you ever see those where you live?

Angus Wallace said…
Hi Margfh,

Only problem with an IBC is that they're not typically UV stable -- they will degrade in the sun and so need to be covered.

Cheers, Angus
Jo said…
Marg, had to look up IBC tank. Is that safe to use if it's been used for dangerous chemicals? I have seen them about on the back of trucks etc, so they must be around 2nd hand somewhere. I want to get a wood shed built and it does look like a good size for a tank to catch the runoff of that sized shed , and then, thanks Angus, would have to look in to covering them as well. There are probably spare wheelie bins (rubbish bins on wheels) around that would be the right size too.
margfh said…
Hi Angus,

I wasn't aware of that though it makes sense. Of course here in No. Illinois we have many months of clouds so that might slow it down a bit. We've had ours for two years and so far so good but sounds like it would be a good idea to cover it.

Hi Jo,

I wouldn't want to use one that had contained chemicals. A lot of HFCS is supposedly shipped in them. We got ours from a friend and I forget what was originally in it but it wasn't anything toxic.

Jen's Busy Days said…

We got a child's old wooden cubby house on stilts to use as a chook house. The big door was ours and we added on nest boxes on the opposite wall at floor level so you vould get to them from outside. Then a couple perches across the inside away from the door. A ramp went out a small hole on another wall down to the ground outside.

The wooden floor was easily sprayed and scrubbed then dusted with sulphur when needed.

It worked for us and it was from freecycle. Took a good bit of work to get in the ground but it was not going anywhere after that.
Jo said…
Marg, good to know! I thought of you yesterday as I saw an IBC tank on the back of a truck. Now that you have mentioned them I am seeing them everywhere:)

Jen, that sounds like an adorable chicken coop. At our old house I turned the kids' cubby into a chook house, but then we moved:( Now the new owners have a beautiful chicken house, and I don't:( But I like your freecycle style, and will work on something similar..

Popular Posts