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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Shopping In My Own Front Yard

Secret #7
"Trash has given us an appetite for art".
Pauline Kael

Burn Pile:  My personal recycling center
Over the years, I have accumulated a lot of "stuff".  The barn is full, the front yard is full and the burn pile (don't tell Becky and her environmental  friends we have one) is full. Trying to live by the "do no harm" creed (especially to Mother Nature, and particularly in Oklahoma where she will pay you back) rarely do I actually burn the burn pile because it is a great source for refurbishing ideas.  Whenever I need anything, the first place to look is my own front yard.  I love flea markets but the shameful truth is:  I probably have more stuff than they do.  

Circa 1900-1910
 As previously mentioned, we have a really small kitchen.  Therefore, we have a really small refrigerator.  After we put a 2 1/2 gallon pitcher of filtered water in there, it leaves very little room.  So during the cold Oklahoma winter months,  we need to think outside the box (the inside refrigerator box that is).  Remember the "good ole days" when they called it an "icebox" for a reason?  They actually put really big blocks of ice inside to keep it cold. No wimpy temperamental modern day electrical appliances for these early settlers.

Shopping in the burn pile, I find an old entertainment center. Hm mm.  The creative side of my brain kicks in.    What if..............?  Seeing new life breathed into an item that has been here since we moved in 18 years ago, I drag the item out of the burn pile and back to the front porch.  Needs a little something.  Digging around in my craft corner, I find a box of fabric Joyce gave me.  Lo and behold, I find a homemade curtain begging for the chance to be used again.  It is the perfect color and size.  Standing on my porch, I spot a favorite lawn ornament that has a detached head.  Broken but still usable.  O.K. everything is coming together in my mind (a frightening place to be in the best of times).   

First, I thoroughly clean the entertainment center using lots of soap and water. I know, I know, you don't use water on wood furniture.  It's been outside in the elements for months (prior to that it was stored in the garage and the barn) so I don't think a little soap and water are going to damage it, for heaven's sake.  Unbelievably, it is still rock solid as far as structurally sound goes.  They don't make them like the used to, do they?  Next, I assemble my trash treasures and begin the process of creating something with a purpose.  Sometimes you have to look past the exterior to imagine what can be.  This is true not only of "stuff" but with human beings as well. "God don't make no trash", someone really smart once said (can't remember who). 

Once the cleaning is completed to my satisfaction, a tension curtain rod is located (in the unlikely place of where it is suppose to be).  Now, it is time for the under appreciated curtain to be hung.  Then I drill a hole in the lawn ornament (the little dog) and it is ready to be mounted and spying a wooden cat that has been laying on the porch, I throw it in for good measure.  On second thought, there is a metal dog ornament that Becky gave me that will look much better!  Part of the creative process for me is frequently changing my mind.  Joyce, on the other hand, gets it right the first time. Darn her!

From trash to treasure

Now it is time to carefully identify items that can safely be stored here.  SAFELY is the key word here. Nothing that is dairy, thank you very much. That leaves things like pop (soda for those of you not from the South), water and some juice products.  I check the labels on the juice for proper storage recommendations.  Cleaver is cleaver only if it works without  harming us.
Upper level of refrigerator

Bacterial growth seems to slow at around 40 degreesF. since freezing occurs at 32 degrees F., the                recommended safe refrigerator temperature is between 32 and 40 degrees F.

Every fridge should have a thermometer
This is all part of my winter preparation.  After the first ice storm, I was whining (yes, I whine) that I lost all my food in the fridge to spoilage due to the power outage.  One of my neighbors asked why I didn't place the food in containers outside?  Well...because....can you do that?  If the temperature outside is freezing and there is ice coating everything in site, then the logical answer is "yes".  Why didn't I think of that?

Thank you for visiting me today for more tips about Simple Living.

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