Monday, March 19, 2012

The Value of Things

Based on the questions I have been getting a lot of people seem to want to know more about my things,… things I use and things I don’t use. First, here are two things I use most often and value most.

The light from the sun is easily the most valuable thing I have. I use it on a daily basis. It helps me get my work done, is extremely dependable, self-sustaining (requires no upkeep, spare parts or repair), always handy, I can use as much or as little as I want with no hidden fees or costs, and it saves money on lamp oil, flashlight batteries and firewood. Dooley likes to lay in it, the goats and chickens like to wake up with it, and plants, well, .....they absolutely love it! (The raccoons aren’t fond of it, but since I’m not currently on speaking terms with the raccoons I don’t really care.)

The second most valuable thing I have here are choices. The opportunities for making real choices are far more abundant here in the woods than in the “other world”. If I make good choices life gets better. If I make a bad one I can change it without having to ask for permission or apologize. My choices are mine and mine alone. (Sorry if that sounds selfish.)

If you insist on more tangible answers, I would have to say two of my most valuable and useful things are my belt and my cast iron skillet.

Naming the least valuable thing I have is a bit more difficult. There are things that I’ve lost, broken or given away and never replaced that certainly qualify and there definitely some things in the kitchen that I brought with me and stopped using. The best example is plates; I almost always eat out of the frying pan or the boiling pot. Moving my food to a plate that I would have to later clean doesn’t make much sense to me now. I still have a few plates just in case I decide to have a formal dinner party.

I guess the best overall answer for least valuable would be clocks. I only need to be aware of hour-specific times in situations where there is another time-reliant person (or persons) involved. The only working clock I have is in the dash of my truck. This is not to say that time itself is not important, but I currently have no need to divide my day it into 86,400 ticks of a clock. My day, instead, is divided into four parts; the two intervals between meals when I’m active, and the evening and night when I’m passive.

In terms of value, everything else falls somewhere in between.

Here are some of the questions I ask myself when choosing inanimate things to bring into my life. They are only guidelines and exceptions do exist.

1. Is it equal to or more valuable to me than the space it would occupy?

2. Would I have to hide it if I left the cabin? I don’t like things that I have to protect or worry about.

3. If it breaks, can I fix it myself?

4. Does it have more than one use?

5. If I were to drop it or leave it out in the rain overnight, would it still be useful?

6. Would I have to pay someone else to use it? I do have gas and electricity (to answer those who have asked) but both are free thanks to the oil companies that have wells on my land. I use the gas for cooking, bathing and refrigeration. I use the electricity for the composting toilet and water pump. If the electricity goes out (which is frequently) I have a manual pump for the water and a shovel to replace the toilet. If I had to pay for gas and electricity I probably wouldn’t have them.

7. Does it require disposal after use? Although the county does have a trash pick-up down at the road it is not practical for me to transport bags of trash that far with any regularity. If I can’t burn it or re-purpose it, I don’t want it.

8. Does it make me smile? Ok, the truth is I’m not as practical and Spartan as this list might suggest. As an example, I recently bought a used radio controlled boat that has a small fishing rig attached to the back (stern) at a garage sale (I just happened to pass it on the way to town). I can send it down the river, park it, wait for the bobber to deflect and then “floor it” to snag the fish. Endless fun. According to an unnamed muskrat informant, down at the river I’m now known as Old Captain Buzzing Hook.

While I’m sitting here and still have some space at the bottom of my legal pad another common question is: “what do I miss most from the “other world?”. I used to answer that question by saying sports, especially college and NASCAR events. Then I would go on to say that I had come to realize that watching sports was just a temporary distraction from a world I was growing to loath and that, up here in the woods, I don’t need many distractions anymore. You know, I think I’ll stick with that.

I am going to spend some extra time in the garden the next couple of days so I won’t be posting. I told Irene she could write and post something if she wanted. Maybe Dooley has some thoughts? If one of you guys wants to submit a “guest post” just send it to Irene via email. Thanks, Roger

Irene Note: If you have any questions about this blog or if you would like to submit a guest blog please use this email address:


Angela said...

I've gotten to the point where I won't buy something if I'm not going to use it a lot or if it's made in China! lol I won't buy anything made in China at all anymore. A few years ago our microwave had paint coming off inside it so I got rid of it and never replaced it. I hardly ever used it except to heat water for hot tea. Last month my tea maker died. I'm now boiling the water and using the pot and strainer that came with it and make tea the old fashioned way. My husband plowed our garden Saturday. I've noticed that some of the herbs I planted last year are still kicking because it didn't get cold enough to kill them off!

I hope Irene does a guest post!

Langela said...

I may have to "borrow" the fishing boat idea. I think that sounds like so much fun and the kids would love it! Of course, there would be fighting over who got to use it.

I also hope Irene does a guest post.

Roger said...

Langela, If you are serious about the RC fishing boat, mine is sold by Aviva Sports of Montreal, Mo...make sure the fising line is set pretty shallow under the bobber so a turtle or catfish doesn't get a hold of that point, the fun would be over.

Roger said...

Angela, Don't get me started on ranting days are over.