The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Grandpa's bookcase

Adrian EckbergMy maternal grandfather died when I was six, so I can't actually remember anything about him.  But lately I've realized that I probably get my obsessive list-making from Grandpa Eckberg.

Grandpa's bookcase

I also inherited this little red bookcase from him.  The story goes that Grandpa made this bookcase out of orange crates while he and his family were stationed in California during World War II.  Were the wooden orange crates disposable, a slightly more sturdy version of the half bushel cardboard boxes of oranges you can buy today?  Was Grandpa reusing the wood because he couldn't bear to throw the boxes away, or was it just an example of Yankee frugality?  Either way, I figured that Grandpa wouldn't mind me adding a couple of extra shelves and a back to his bookcase to make it easier to fill up with containers of screws.

Making homemade chicken waterersThe pile of miscellaneous stuff awaiting organization in the middle of our office doesn't seem to be getting any smaller, but the space is already easier to use.  This photo of Mark working on our homemade chicken waterers doesn't look like much, but you have to realize that just a year and a half ago Mark was making waterers under a tent in the backyard.  When you start with nothing, every little improvement is exciting.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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i am sure grandpa would have been very proud

good job roseanell

Comment by roseanell Tue Dec 7 10:04:03 2010
I suspect he would have painted all of the shelves the same color... :-)
Comment by anna Tue Dec 7 11:19:09 2010
So, at present, I am sitting here next to my maternal grandfather's bookcase. It's one of few things that I have from him... It's nice to look at it and remember him occasionally. On the wall across from me is a painting and some rocks from my maternal grandmother. And in the kitchen is some pots and pans from my maternal step-grandmother. She used to make the absolutely most wonderful gumbo (I know, I know... we had that discussion! :) in that pot. I wouldn't give any of those things up for the world!
Comment by Shannon Tue Dec 7 15:31:35 2010
Our cutting board came from my maternal grandmother. Not sure what I have from my father's side, but it might come to me... I wouldn't want to have my trailer crammed full of everything they owned (needing careful care...), but it is nice to have one or two things from special people. If I was a more spiritual person, I'd say a little bit of their soul's live on in those often used objects.
Comment by anna Tue Dec 7 16:09:54 2010
You have nothing from my side of the family. Here's all I have: my grandfather's knife, pocket watch and a few coins, my father's aluminum hard hat from the oil refinery, a wash stand that was my only dresser when I was living there, a pig cookie jar I won at bingo when I was 4 or 5 and gave to my mother, my father's "Remember Pearl Harbor" necktie, a painting of my father which you did and which hung in mother's living room. Which of these would you like?
Comment by Errol Tue Dec 7 16:55:10 2010
That's a hard call, and you shouldn't give me anything you want to keep! If I had to choose, though, I'd probably pick the hard hat. :-)
Comment by anna Tue Dec 7 19:30:19 2010
When I was beginning to grow up, I went to Girl Scout camp for several years. Besides space under our bunk beds for a steamer trunk to hold our clothes, we each had an orange crate stood on end. It had slats on each side and on the back and one shelf in the middle. You could put things on the top, on the shelf, and on the bottom board. When I was a councellor at a Quaker camp in PA, we had orange crates for storage. They were wonderful for many uses. Now they are either cardboard or plastic and not good for much of anything except to throw away or recycle if cardboard, but not good for storage.
Comment by Sheila Tue Dec 7 23:34:30 2010
It sounds like orange crates were a bit like milk crates are now --- perfect for storage!
Comment by anna Wed Dec 8 10:51:07 2010

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