Monday, August 30, 2010

Jubilate Deo

I guess the title to this one could have been, 'Purple Hulls and An Old Gray Cat', but that is not a song as far as I know. I had the whole weekend off so I got to go by the farmer's market and buy a few things Saturday morning. I got this mess of purple hull peas, sold by an old, dried up codger of a man, who assured me this variety was a true heirloom and he had been growing them for over 30 years. After I shelled what I wanted for eating that day and freezing, I saved a handful of pods for planting next year. Hopefully they will produce. I put these in a slow cooker with just enough water to cover them, about a 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 1/2 finely chopped onion, two strips of bacon, one crushed glove of garlic, salt and pepper to taste and a few dashes of cumin. They were the best I've ever cooked. Maybe it was the cumin. They got raves from others too.
I had a nice relaxing weekend; I hope ya'll did too.

It was back to the work frenzy today though and I got in fairly late. Just as the last of the light was fading from the sunset, but I looked up as I walked towards the house and spied this. Well, it was so luminous it was hard not to notice. It kind of startled me actually. I took it as a good sign. A sign of reassurance that things will be okay because I had spoken to Daddy Rabbit earlier in the day and he admitted that my time to leave the job is "coming fast". I may not even make it until Friday. As I have stated in the past to my company, it is only fair to lay me off first and keep the men with children working as long as they can. We have no other work and even though this same church wants some work done now on their original building, they have provided no drawings, so we cannot start until they get some and these people are not concerned about anyone but themselves. We must be substantially finished by tomorrow night as the church is going to hold the first service in the new addition Wednesday evening. So, as I have said recently about some other things, we'll see what we'll see.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shoot The Moon

I guess I have always been fascinated by these flowers. Their alien appearance brings to mind faraway landscapes and strange places. Most people who are not familiar with this plant falsely assume the name 'passionflower' refers to the human, physical emotion when, in fact, it actually refers to Christ's passion. It is a well-known sedative and I have to say, in my experience, a tea made from it's leaves mix nicely with catnip to make a very effective sleepy time drink. But, as always, check up on the plant before you use any of it.

I was out for a little walk this evening, enjoying the slight coolness in the air that has lingered the past few days. It hints very subtly of autumn. Days like this always seem to make me very reflective and somewhat restless. There have been quite a few things on my mind lately and sometimes it's hard for me to get my thoughts to line up enough to express them coherently here. I suppose you all are quite used to my babbling anyway, but I do try to keep it to a minimum.

For now though work continues and the weather has become more agreeable to working around the house, so I hope to get some more done in that area. I need to get back on the siding and knock that out. And before it gets too cool, I have to rework my water system or more specifically, the spring opening itself. I have the stuff to work with, now I just need to make time one weekend. It's going to be something of a pain and I kinda dread it but it must be done and then I believe I will not ever have to worry about it again.
I will try to post some over the weekend if I can and if I have something to talk about.

*Norah Jones

Monday, August 23, 2010

What Do You Do?

This photo has nothing to do with the post but ya'll know I like to include at least one regardless. I'm not sure what type critter this is but I suspect it is a type of hornet maybe? It was much larger than any wasp I have ever seen.

Anyway, I worked many hours last week and didn't have much time for my blog or reading any of my favorites either, so forgive me if I haven't been dropping by or commenting on any. I only had to work 8 hours today so I managed to do a little catch up reading this evening. I'm afraid my work may be finishing up even faster than what we first suspected. I had hoped to at least make it to September before being laid off again, and may yet, but it is really getting slim now.

*Lyle Lovett

Thursday, August 19, 2010


First of all, it was dead!! I assure you, I would never have a bug like this in my hand if it were still kickin'. Yet I feel a certain strange affection for these critters. I guess because they are so 'southern', even though they exist all over the world. I could not imagine our sultry summers without the song of these, seeking their mates. And you have to admit, they are so intricately designed. Their wings fascinate me. The delicacy belies their ability to lift such mass.

Well, I'm still working quite a bit and today were heard more rumblings of discontent and instability in our company. Our new company logo stickers for our hardhats came to our job today but only one foreman elected to cover our old sticker with the new. It's a sad time.

After a couple of comments I received recently I know a few of you might be wondering about this fellow I have gone out with some lately. I haven't said much for several reasons. One, I don't know whether he would mind me writing about him, even in a completely anonymous way and I guess I am remaining a bit more stoical about this one. If 'once bitten is twice shy' then what are you if you have been chewed on most of your life? lol! Perhaps a bit too skeptical. Well, we'll see what we'll see and he is fun to do stuff with at any rate. He is a good bit older than me so that is one of my main concerns I guess and feeds my inclination to be doubtful. However, I think it's always possible to learn and enjoy the experience of life with a wide variety of people. Just enjoying each other's company is the main thing.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning

Got a dentist's appointment this morning so I had a little time to put up a quick post. I meant to post over the weekend but was enjoying the company of a nice man part of the time, so I was a little busy. How about that?! I just threaten running around naked and a man shows up! ha! Well, this is a fellow I have been talking to and visiting with for a few months now but I wasn't sure he was interested in any romantic notions; until this weekend. I might tell ya'll more about it later.
At any rate, we are working many hours trying to finish this church in 2 weeks so posting might be a little sporadic for a while. Not much work going on around the house anyway.
Have a good week and stay cool!

*Cowboy Junkies

Friday, August 13, 2010

Curse Of Me

This is about all that my garden has been producing lately. 'Course, this is good too. I use all these seasonings whenever I can and I very much appreciate knowing they came from my garden, tended in the manner I see fit. Despite the wonderful beginning, my tomatoes have crashed and burned. I got a fair amount when they were producing but I still believe the soil is lacking something as many of them were diseased. I cut the plants back severely and they might actually have a chance to produce a few more before frost since our season is so long. I cut them back last year and they put out again before cold weather. We'll see.

Things are fairly boring around here lately other than going out to dinner last night with the BCBs. That's always fun but now it's more work, work, work. I'm not complaining about that either, because in about 2 and a half weeks that may be it. Kinda crappy not knowing for sure if you are going to have a job next month but that's construction.
Nothing going on with the dating front either. I am beginning to think I am truly cursed. Maybe I need to bury a chicken foot by the light of a full, wait, that's for if you are trying to remove a wart or something. Hhhhmm, maybe eat a bunch of chocolate..... while laying naked on the deck.... under a full moon...yeah! that's it!!! that has a much better ring to it!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Life By The Drop

Busy, busy, busy folks! but I thought I would show ya'll a few more pics from my adventure to the Botanical Gardens. I want some of this black bamboo.

Between overtime at work, socializing and trying to salvage something from my garden, I'm not left with much time this week.

I'll try to be back soon though. And my back is screaming at me once again to go lay down. The new bed is helping but this is due to life in general. Where is a good pair of warm, man's hands when you need them?

So, talk amongst yourselves. I'm listening.

*Stevie Ray Vaughan

Monday, August 09, 2010

I'm So Open

I get a lot of comments of people saying they are amazed at how honest I am on this blog and I find that observation interesting or compelling. Maybe it's just them trying to find a nice way to say, "you're freakin' crazy to tell some of the stuff you do!" lol! I don't know but that's okay if they are thinking that. I find the observation interesting because I don't think of myself as being all that open or I think other bloggers, some of who make this comment to me, seem to be very honest themselves. I'm guessing what prompts people to say this is the fact that I will tell you all the defeats and discouragements as well as my victories. Of course, Southerners are well rumored to hide some of the most hideous truths behind immaculate table manners and social graces. And in my life I must admit to actually seeing this on several occasions. Hey, maybe that's it; I'm completely lacking in the social graces so I don't have the wherewith all to try to present myself as something I'm not.
I think basically I just don't see the point in presenting only a rose-colored view of myself if I want to make any real connection to people. Oh, I could get up here and act like I'm some kind of Martha Stewart/ Rosie the Riveter mutation and that I never mess up, break anything or have any other problems. But what would anybody learn from that? Oh, I know there are plenty of blogs that do that and that's fine; most of them are really good for technical knowledge. But what about heart knowledge? You all know as well as I do that the poor soul that has been through the mill is always a much more respected adviser than the little goody-two shoes that has seemingly never had any problems in their life. Hey, I'm willing to show how screwed up things are here because I want to show if I can get through it and still make something of it then any one of you out there can too. Life is a screw up. But you have to keep trying. I think a lot of times though I am talking to myself more than ya'll and I truly appreciate your encouragement.

I realize I don't have to tell you about my health problems or my frustration at not being able to get laid but hey, that's part of real life too and it kinda makes for some funny stories. There may be one other person out there that might read something I write and say, "thank God I'm not alone or at least I'm not that bad off!" and feel better about themselves. That is fine with me. If nothing else maybe I can make you laugh and shake your head. That girl's so silly! Heh!
Another part of it is from something I remember from when I was young. I was in junior high and, like I told ya'll, we had to take a half a year of home ec. and the other half in shop. Well, we built rockets in shop and mine just happen to fly the farthest and in home ec. we made aprons but my Mama had already taught me how to sew, so mine came out a little better than some of the other girls. Now, there was a very popular cheerleader in my class and one day when she saw my apron she threw hers down in disgust and blurted out, "this is not fair! you can make anything and the rest of us can barely put any of it together.!" I was shocked at first that she noticed what I could do but what she didn't realize is that I would have traded any number of my physical talents back then to have had whatever it was that made people....likable or popular. I mean, I had plenty of friends in school and such but was considered very different and somehow this was not always good. I still find myself thinking sometimes now that I would trade some of the things I can do for whatever it is that makes people more approachable or whatever. I'm not going to say 'normal' because that is not it but you know, not so odd. Many times in my adult life I have had women tell me, "Oh, I wish I could do what you do". Yeah well, maybe you do, maybe not. A lot of people we admire often feel less than adequate about many things themselves. I believe I lack something in my disposition that makes people 'attach' to me. I think some people think I will look down on them because they cannot do some of the things I can. Even some men. That's just such bullshit. Most of the time I wish I could do something they can. So, my point for telling some of my social catastrophes is just to say don't be jealous because I can weld and do all this other crap, because I am lacking many of the things that really make life worthwhile. Is anybody really going to remember and give a shit that I built this house when I'm gone? But I'm betting your kids and grand kids will remember all the great times and love you gave them, so don't put yourself down because maybe you can't get the hang of soldering copper pipe or knitting a sweater. Being Ms. (or Mr.) PerfectCrafty isn't always what it's cracked up to be. Let me tell you about this: you know I went shopping and I bought a cute little yoga tank top. Fits kinda snug and sexy like. Rarr! So, I try this thing on when I get home and yeah, it fits good, so I go to take it off and there's where the problems start. Now, my shoulders and upper body are a lot more muscular than most women's and yeah, it looks nice but I've paid for it. I got this way partly through hard work and now my joints don't work so good. So, I get the top up around my head, with my arms wrapped up in there too, and I literally can't pull the top off, so I'm stuck. My shoulders are just too weak in that position trying to pull. Now I'm practically rolling around on the damn floor trying to extricate myself from this stupid top and Grendal is running around nervously making little noises because I guess she thinks I'm suffocating and I just start laughing. I could just imagine if this had been in some 'heat of the moment' kinda thing with some gorgeous man. I'll tell ya, I've never had trouble getting my clothes off before in that situation! He would have thought I was some kind of freak. 'Course, I guess he would have been helping but was ridiculous. I finally ended up pulling it down and stepping out of it.

Anyway, all I'm saying is that everybody's life has validity and purpose and we should not be ashamed of ours, warts and all and share if we feel comfortable doing so. My hope is that someone out 'there' can find something of use in my bungled up, often times funny way of looking at life.

*Cowboy Junkies

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sunshine Day

Well, turns out I did not have to work this Saturday after all so I decided it would be a good thing to take advantage of this and go see the exhibit of artwork by our favorite blogger, Rurality! and another friend of ours, Sharon, although she is not a blogger. Not yet anyway. We keep trying to lead her down that frustrating path but so far she has eluded us. All of us are also members of our informal group, the Blount County Bloggers, along with MountainMelody, MegPeaPie and Laurie, who used to have a blog but no more. We get together a couple of times a month or so basically to eat and rail against men and hear what the last country Melody has visited. That and they like to hear what other travesty has befallen my love life since the last time we met. Anyway, it is a nice little show at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and then you can go visit the gardens!

If you live anywhere in Alabama and have not visited the gardens I would highly recommend it, although I might wait until slightly cooler weather. Not a lot is blooming right now although it is still very interesting. It's a beautiful place with several different sections of gardens. I love the Japanese section but there is also an Alabama woodlands area (looks just like my place), a conservatory, a large section devoted entirely to roses and a Southern Living area (new to me). It contains a wonderful assortment of plants that are native or like growing in our climate.

The Japanese area is very serene as you might expect. I love the stone work here. Or lack of stone work maybe. Anyway, how they are arranged. I wish my company built stuff like this. Well, now I wish they built much of anything. Okay, I'm not getting back on that subject; not now anyway.

It had been a few years I guess since I had seen all the gardens so I took my time and wandered through the whole place. Well, they were about to have a wedding in the rose garden so I just walked through quickly. Damn people in love. Bleh.

I like this critter. I hope to have some more sculpture out and about on my place. So, afterward I went and did a little shopping on the way home. And yeah, yeah, I know what I just wrote a couple of days ago but I did actually need some stuff and there were some good sales going on this weekend. All I bought was one more set of sheets for my new bed, so now I have 2, and a couple of blouses for going out. I mostly have work clothes and am real bad to talk myself out of buying anything for dressing up and then sometimes when I want to go out I'm caught with not much to wear. Or wear the same thing over and over. So, I bought a couple of nice things and hopefully they will not rot away before I have a chance to wear them. But as you see, I do go out and socialize whether I'm with someone or not. I also went to a gallery opening a couple of weeks ago to shed my blue collar for a while. That was fun and I talked to several nice people.

So, today I worked on staining my pantry cabinet and just messing around the house. I hope to get the cabinet finished soon and will have photos shortly. Then I'll just have to pour the countertop. It is still horridly, freaking hot here so I have just been staying inside. It will cool off a little shortly and then I will get back on the siding. Oh, and tomorrow they are delivering a one-ton concrete pipe section for my well renovation, so that will be interesting. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures as I do that.


Friday, August 06, 2010

Just When You're Having Fun

Well, I am just sad, sad, sad this evening. We heard today at work that our last full-time concrete finisher is leaving us. Work is so bad that they have had him driving a dump truck on our job, so he found another job with a competitor. Now, for reference, many of our finishers used to work for a couple of different companies at once because pouring concrete is not something that is always done every day. However, our company was once big enough to support probably a couple of dozen full-time finishers. Those days are long gone. He is going to stay with us long enough to finish pouring the sidewalks on the job I'm on now and then he's gone.

We were once so proud and such a good company. We were some of the highest paid carpenters in the biz and still are really. Everybody wanted to work for us. Now, we can't compete with all the others that work nothing but Hispanics for $16/ hour. We were a family. I've thought all day about so many of the guys I have been privileged to work with. Dal, Daddio, Jimmy, Dominecker, Anthony, Big Daddy, the Cobbster, Daddy Rabbit and all the others. Damn, we had some fun. Most of the stories I won't even write here 'cause I know I'd offend a lot of people but we loved working with each other. And we could work like hell; it was nothing to pour three, four hundred yards of concrete at time. That's 40 of the trucks filled to the brim. We had a helluva time at the railroad. The Cobbster was the boss there. At lunch we would all eat in the trailer and he would have us laughing so hard I thought we would fall out in the floor sometimes. He's retired now and I heard he had another 3 stints put in his heart this past week.
Jimmy was a labor foreman years ago. He's passed away now. We like to have gotten run over together trying to direct traffic in downtown Birmingham. Now, he was one of the most unattractive men I've ever known but he always used to brag about being, well, hung. I remember him popping off one day about having 12 inches. Dal busted out laughing. "Yeah, Jimmy, if you measure it like you measure a cat's tail; from the tip to your butthole." I know that's crude but they were so damn funny.

We would nail each other's tool belt down to the floors or bolt their toolboxes down. Or fill all the pockets up with sawdust or rocks. That's what you got for not wearing your tools. One time when I was just a little apprentice I was on the Cobbster's job. I was wrecking some forms and inadvertently chipped the edge of the concrete. Now, he was very particular about his concrete and he saw me do it. He pulled out his pocketknife and held it up to me. "I'll cut your throat if you ever chip my concrete again", he growled in all seriousness. Man, those were the days. He was also one of the most generous men I've ever known. He took good care of his men.

But we are all slipping away now. A few each week or every other. The company might stay around for a few more years but it will never be like it was. We used to hold around 350 carpenters. Now, we might have 25. It's hard to explain the camaraderie of construction unless you have experienced it. One minute you might be cussing someone toe to toe and the next laughing and carrying on. It's not faked though. I think it is as real as it gets. Lord, I'm going to miss these guys. I think I will be one of the next to go. I'm actually the highest paid carpenter on my job, even above the foremen, and in today's market, that ain't good. They got to cut those costs! Most of the guys are already looking for other work. I'll hang on as long as they will pay me but I think the time is drawing very near. Probably the end of this job will be it. Maybe not but it's not looking good. Hell, they even let our personnel manager go because we don't have any personnel left to manage.
The guy on the left above is Head, whom you have heard me speak of before. His head and his feet are about the same proportion, his feet being about a size 13. Thus, the nickname. His little boy turned 3 today. Bama is the guy on the right. He is our crane operator and a real sweet guy.

T-Dog, the guy in the middle, leaves tomorrow to go to a short term job in Tuscaloosa. When one of us leaves a job we always say, "See you on the next one". I told him I would like to say that but wasn't sure there would be a next one. I taught half these boys welding as part of their apprenticeship training. They used to try to get me to go mud wrestling after class so they could win money by betting on me. They were sure I could put anyone down in my weight category. There's so many stories I can think of. They would always put me out when I set myself on fire welding but in the next breath be ragging me about eating tofu and shopping at Wal-Mart. Anthony and Head standing behind the Switchman acting like me (goofy) to try to distract me while I was talking to him. Of course, he could not see them but I could and they would be prissing around with their chests thrown out. I remember going to a company Christmas party and dancing with Hippy. Someone once described Hippies' dancing as a cross between buck dancing and a seizure. They were pretty damn accurate in that but we had a blast and to hear his tales of his younger days and his unfortunate encounters with some Texas Rangers will just make you sore from laughing. They don't call him Hippy for nothing.
This past two weeks I have woken up several times in pain in my joints and muscles. The work is getting to me more and more. I have to take pain meds more often. But I'll hold out as long as I can to work with these guys just a little longer. Hell, we might even go mud wrestling.

*Cock Robin

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Head Above Water

I have been trying for some time to get a good photo of these cows down the road from me. They have been seeking any relief they can from the heat lately and this little pond is one of their favorite tricks. It has taken me so long because I either don't have my camera with me on the days they are in or they are not there when I do have it. One other time we did sync but they jumped out about the time I got close. I think today they said the hell with it, we're staying put. Now, before anybody freaks, I've seen the little ones get in before and they always get back out okay. This is not as good a shot as what I see in my mind but it will do.

I've been thinking about that post I wrote a couple of days ago about finances and I had a few more things to say about that. First, I always feel kinda stupid writing stuff like that and here's why: I know I have several major advantages that lots of other folks would have trouble employing to build their own house and so I feel kinda silly saying, 'yeah, do this like I did!' First, I work in an industry where free material is easy to come by for us. Secondly, I am fortunate enough to be thought highly enough of by many men in higher positions so I also come by free stuff that way. The men are very generous to me. And before anybody gets all smarmy, no, I do not sleep with any of them to get it. Well, I used to sleep with Allen but that was a long time ago. Heh. Anyway, there have actually been a couple I really would have liked to have paid back that way but they really were just being nice. Thirdly, I was born with a strength advantage over many women; I know I am much stronger than a lot and this helps me build things by myself. Fourthly, I don't have the kids to pay for and this is a major thing. I can spend my money and time on whatever I want. And lastly, I just seem to have good mojo; things work out for me. One friend told me once that I was 'magic'. For instance, things just worked out that I got another acre of land that I had been wanting for $14 and I didn't even have to ask for it really. There are many more examples but for privacy reasons I can't really say, just take my word for it. I keep hoping this 'magic' will bring me a male partner (notice I did not say husband necessarily) but I think my mojo is broke in that area. Everything works out except for that! Oh well.
Anyway, I don't go around telling people how they need to live or conduct their lives but a lot of people ask me how I manage to do these things, so I will tell them in that case because I realize also that a lot of the things I have accomplished have been through sheer hard work and determination and that is something anyone can do. However, a lot of people don't want to hear that. I pains me to see how that living on borrowed money had become so ingrained in our society that the vast majority of people truly believe there is no other way. You must borrow money or you won't have anything. Now, please believe I do not look down on anyone who has a mortgage. There is nothing wrong with that if it is within your means and that's the way you want to do that. But we must relearn the fact that there is ALWAYS another way to do something. You do not have to keep doing what everyone else does. I wonder what has happened to that American spirit of enterprise and flat out gumption. A construction worker knows, there is ALWAYS a way. To be honest, a lot of it for me is this: I work way too hard for my money to give a big part of it to some filthy rich banker or corporation that wouldn't piss on my head if I were on fire. I work for Annie. That blood running down my arms some days is spilt for me and I am going to keep all of that paycheck I can to spend on things I want. Not make a payment on some CEO's Mercedes.

I also feel stupid babbling on and on about shunning some material possessions in order to focus on people and relationships. Yeah, for all the good that's done me I think sometimes I should have just been blowing my money on wine, men and song, so to speak. I've got nothing to show for all these years of trying very hard to appreciate a good partner. Hell, it's a major event if I go out on a date. I guess if nothing else I can be a warning beacon for those who are fortunate enough to have a mate. Do I sound kinda bitter? Well, sometimes I am, dammit, to be perfectly honest. I am a hell of a good woman and would treat a good man well. It kinda reminds me of the couple that most of us know. You know, the loving young couple that would make wonderful parents but by some sucking twist of fate, can't have kids. While around the corner, folks that literally should be sterilized can breed like rats. You know you've seen people like that and thought the same way. And I don't begrudge good people that have found happiness with someone, honestly I don't. I am very happy for them. I just really wonder sometimes what is wrong with me.

So, I guess that is why I don't write a lot of posts like that. I feel like a fraud on some things. I honestly believe in these things I preach but I realize nothing in my life works like most other people's do, so I wonder if I can really have anything to offer someone else, even advice.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


I got my pantry cabinet today!! Yea!!! I'm so happy. I had to enlist Allen to go pick it up because we are now on 10 hours a day at work so I have virtually no time for such. Anyway, this makes me feel so good. Now when I lose my job I'll have lots to work on here! ha! Speaking of such, they let 3 more of our superintendents go yesterday. I think we are in the final downward spiral.
But on to happy things. These cabinets are maple and yes, there is no finish on them. I'll do that myself so I can use as natural a finish as I can. Not sure exactly what I am going to use. I am very pleased with the quality of these and they were made by a local craftsman. Lowe's couldn't even get in the same ballpark on price or quality. I am also going to pour concrete countertops for all my kitchen cabinets.
The sides are meant to be open; I like open shelves and very minimal styling. And now I can put the flooring down!! Yea!!!

The only thing is I may have some trouble convincing you-know-who that these are not meant for a perfect little hidey-hole.
Well, work was hot today. I think it was 100 degrees actual temperature today with the heat index about 110 or so. It's been that way for several days here. I got to weld all day out in the sun too and when I weld I have to wear two shirts to protect myself from the radiation. One t-shirt and a long sleeve denim over that. Plus big leather gloves and a welding hood. Amazingly, it didn't bother me that much. That is how acclimated to heat I am I guess. I mean, I was hot but I didn't feel bad. However, since I welded galvanized steel I did drink some milk when I got home in an effort to not get the fever that you can get from inhaling the fumes off that stuff. I was tasting the telltale sweetness in the back of my throat by the end of the day. I did have a little wind that helped me out with ventilation also.
I'm tired though so I'm off to bed.

*Lucinda Williams

Monday, August 02, 2010

Pay For What You Get

I've been trying to come up with a series of posts that have a little more substance to them; some that explain more how I am able to do some things and my philosophies for building and self-sufficiency. I get a lot of people that wonder how I am able to build a house out of my pocket and avoid having a mortgage. Well, first let me say that, as ya'll know, I don't have any kids or family to incur extra expenses so I know that I am able to do some things that other would have a very difficult time with. Some of my practices could maybe help those with families but I'm not going to find fault or criticize those with kids that don't do some of the things I do because I have no right to judge. I also am fully aware that I have received some incredible gifts in my life. Let's just say some men have been very generous to me, for whatever reason, and I owe much to them for helping me.
Now, to begin with, I saved my money for about 10 years before I started building but even then I only had enough to black the house in. And to be fair, Allen did contribute some money at that point, which I am trying to pay back, but I have paid for everything else from that point. Which is about $22,000 at this point but it has not been a burden or even a particular hardship to pay for the house as I go. Now, by most of our society's standards I probably live a deprived life. I find it quite full and enjoyable myself but ya'll know I'm a little weird.
Basically, I live (or try to) by the words of William Morris, "Do not keep anything in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." (I think this could go for keeping men too, heehee) Anyway, this simple mantra helps me to live a frugal, uncluttered life, which, in turn, saves me money. It is my heartfelt belief that our society has become so empty in it's soul that most people grasp desperately for any material possessions they can get, in an effort to fill a void that they cannot understand. We text each other constantly but can't sit down and have a real conversation with that same person. We claim to embrace God but as soon as the service is over we rush out to gorge ourselves on unhealthy food and the latest sale of stupid shit we don't even need. Now, this is a whole 'nother post so I'm going to get back to my facts but this is a sickness that has enveloped America. A sickness that is driving a large portion of our neighbors into out -of-control debt, misery and broken lives. Even if you are not trying to build a house, now is not a good time to be up to your eyeballs in debt. Well, it never is but you know what I mean. Things are not getting better as our government would like us to believe. I will probably be out of work again in a matter of weeks myself. But here's is the thing: I can handle it because I have no debt.

How do I do this, you ask? Well, several ways. Probably first and foremost, I don't shop unless I truly need something and I mean really need not this 'I feel down and buying something will cheer me up for about 30 minutes' stuff. Now, ya'll know I hate Wal-Mart (and that's a whole 'nother post too) but basically the propaganda that those places spread, that you NEED to shop there to have a good life, is revolting. I hear so many people say, " they have so much stuff I never knew I needed!" Naw, if you didn't think about it, you didn't need it and Mal-Wart is laughing all the way to the bank while you try to stretch your paycheck 'til next week. The little $20- 30 trips to the store a few times a week for junk adds up big time. I don't even shop at thrift stores unless there is something specific I'm looking for. It all boils down to this; you don't need that much to live and live happily. You don't need 16 sets of sheets for one bed. You don't need 50 pairs of shoes. You need a dry place to sleep, a little food each day, something to work to make yourself feel useful and a loving pair of arms, if you so desire. That's it.
Now, granted I do have a fair collection of tools and I even have artwork and music to enjoy but I USE everything I have. If I don't use an object for 6 months to a year (and it's not a seasonal thing like Christmas decorations) I give it to someone who can use it or sell it.

Secondly, I have only the most basic of television, phone and Internet services and I've ranted on this before. Get out and make a life instead of watching someone else's. Trust me, from what I see on TV, those peoples lives should be hid from public view instead of celebrated. When you are lying on your deathbed, are you going to say, "oh God, if only I had seen the last season of the Sopranos!?" I hope not. I do not text or do anything on my phone other than occasionally talk and I don't pay for that crap either. I am a cell phone reps worst nightmare because I don't even want the stupid camera on them but you can't really get them without it nowadays.

I try to grow at least some of my own food or buy locally grown food which is usually cheaper and I use every bit of it. To have to throw out food makes me sick. I take my lunch to work every day and the guys are always peeking over my shoulder to see what good meal I have, while they eat prepacked crap that is way more expensive. I never buy lunch food that is 'individually packaged' for lunches. That crap is way more expensive if you figure the price per ounce. Buy a damn box of baggies and reuse them. That's another thing I do. I don't like using plastic but we are not allowed to bring glass containers onto a job site so I kinda have to, but I can make a box of baggies last a year. Just wash them out and hang to dry.
I don't go out to eat all the time either. This helps me keep my weight down and saves money too. I make a lot of my own cleaning supplies and even some makeup and skincare items. You can get the basic ingredients for very little.

I use cloth napkins and dust rags. I wait for sales and specials to stock up on staples such as cooking oil, pasta, flour etc. I eat leftovers until it is ALL gone. I maintain my tools and truck instead of just letting something tear up on it and it costing me hundreds more. And speaking of vehicles, I don't go buy a new one as soon as I pay off one. I drive my trucks until they fall apart but of all the stuff I buy, I always try to get the best quality that I can afford. I do not buy cheap shit because you do get what you pay for. I buy the best quality I can and take care of it!

I also barter for some things or work when I can. This can go a long way. I've done several post or reclaiming free building material and that has also been an enormous help.
Now, I do a lot of this stuff because I learned the hard way. I have been in debt and I didn't like it. The freedom and peace of mind is much better. And I have at times thrown money up a wild hog's ass on some stupid shit but hopefully, I learned better. However, don't sit there thinking I live in a threadbare, little hovel. I have great artwork and a still growing, major groovin' CD collection. Ya'll know how I like music. I do not deprive myself. I have just learned what is important to me in life and what is not. I eat well and even occasionally splurge on a pair of small, handmade earrings, which I adore. There are also a myriad of other ways to save money that I know I have not mentioned but I think that just learning what we really NEED as opposed to what we WANT is one of the major keys to being debt free.

*Dave Mathews Band