Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Boot Strappin'

I think the first engineers in the world were farmers.

Had to be engineers.  There is nothing on a farm that does not break, stop running, fall down, go amiss, tangle up, want to kill you, not cooperate, or wants to die on you. Fact.

Farming has low profit margins, if not negative profit margins. So, thrift and economy are mandatory.  Fix it yourself, make it yourself. 

Take it out of your pocket, or take it out of your hide, I always say. 

Not every convenient tool is close at hand.  If every convenient tool is close at hand you are either an 85 year old farmer, whom has bought every tool known to man over a lifetime of fixing things, or you are well-to-do person whom likes to spend free time by being shat upon by various livestock.  You know, the good life.

If you are medium to borderline strapped for cash or if you have full on crossed that border, then you must be a Boot-Strap farmer.

I claim this with pride, as I doggedly refuse to go into debt.  I dumpster dive, pick up used 2x4's on the side of the road before the garbage man arrives.  Same with old windows.  Yes I am that crazy lady with the Subaru going through your trash pile.  I shop classified ads for gently used farm equipment (means not broken, much).

I don't own trailers. So you arrive at scenes like this:
Yes you CAN fit a 4 ft bush hog into a Subaru.

And it was darn heavy I might add.

Most of the success at Boot-Strappin' comes from a skill that is tough to learn once you have lived a life replete with petroleum muscle in the form of tractors and machines, and easy access to cash to solve a problem.  This skill is what is called "outlier thinking".  It is the innate ability to break down a farm problem into the most simple, cost free, useful and sustainable solution. A person has to train themselves to think this way. It is the opposite solution, to the money solution. You have to think of what you could do to fix a problem if you had zero cash and zero mechanical advantage.  Often the solution is wild, and off center, but you have to think this way and let it percolate to the top.  Then you must embrace it, and get to work. Think of using what you already have, what you know you could trade for.

My Boot Strap guru and mentor, has this outlier thinking honed to a fine skill.  Hand him a problem, and watch that brain turn to create a solution from nothing.  I give you Farmer Leaf, of Broadened Horizons Organic Farm in Pilot, VA.

Have a look at Boot Strappin' in action:


Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.

Broadened Horizons Organic Farm
Farmer Leaf's hand baler machine.