Building from Scratch

June 5 / Americans are truly innovative folks and New Englanders take that to an extreme level.  At the campground we’re staying at this summer, there’s a gentleman who took a seasonal site even though he didn’t have an RV at the time.  He’s apparently been renting an apartment for him and his wife and 3 kids and has gotten tired of the endless cycle of raised rents and lowered services so common to places of that sort.  He decided to break the cycle by building himself a home.  Of course, his financials weren’t quite up to buying a piece of land and hiring contractors, etc.  They WERE up to finding an old 5th wheel RV on Craig’s List and paying $800 to haul it off to his seasonal site.  This elderly RV had working heat and water systems, and a working fridge and stove, but he’s commenced to rebuilding the frame from the inside out with scrap lumber and hard work.  When he’s done, his family will have a comfortable (if small) 2 bedroom home on wheels they can use to move where they like, when they like, and find work that will support them and their efforts to save for something more.Rebuild1

This reminded me and Everett of Fickett’s Lumber Yard back home.  Old man Fickett had a load of wood “go bad” one year – but being too thrifty to simply get rid of it, he put it in a pile at the back corner of the yard.  If you complained about the cost of building materials up front, he’d calmly direct you to that pile and suggest you could save money by picking through it and paying half what you’d pay up front.   “It’s been sittin’ a spell, but it’s still good for something,” he’d say.  If you inquired further, he’d admit that it might be infested with wood worms, but “they don’t eat that much nor too fast.”  Everett’s father built the kid’s bunkhouse from that worm wood and at night you could hear ’em gnawing away in the rafters.  You’d wake up under a fine blanket of sawdust, but 30 years later that bunkhouse was still standing.  It eventually burned down, but that’s a story for another time…