little red

I proudly present to you: Our new shed.

We have been meaning to build this damn thing for over a year. Strike that. I have been meaning to build it (promising to build it) for over a year. And the Beard has been patiently waiting. But then he got tired of waiting, I accepted some help, and we built our firewood’s new house in a few days time. Almost entirely scavenged materials! For the win!

And, yes, those are candles hanging on the front.  Because chopping wood by candlelight is pretty awesome, not to mention romantic (ummm, or something) and doesn’t involve running pesky power lines or remembering to put the solar lamp’s cell out in the sun during the day.

Some of those boards I scavenged in Mainz, with the intention of building a sweet shed out of them one day. (Frankenshed was nice, but this is a lot easier on the eye.) They’ve been sitting outside sort of under a tarp ever since. It’s a wonder that they weren’t all rotten. Other boards came from our red trailer’s ceiling, which we redid because the person who had put it in was apparently drunk—I can’t think of any other reason to just screw tongue and groove boards on top of each other like that without fitting them together.  It certainly made the boards look like they were drunk.  And now they are a shed wall.

We found the bigger beams we needed laying on the bonfire pile at the front of the property.  There were a lot of nails in them, nails that I tried to rip out with a crowbar.  When that barely worked, we hammered them all flat and got on with it.  I put it together, and the Beard did all the sawing.  At the time we only had a hand circle saw, which I—for no actual reason whatsoever—don’t like to use.  (I’ve since bought myself a jigsaw.  Love those things.  Also love my “Japan” saws, as they are called in German.  Fucking best saws ever.)

The roof is made of someone’s old terrace (we saved it from the bonfire pile as well) as well as some old flooring we found.  We covered the roof boards with tarps made to create faux ponds in people’s backyards, which I got from freecycle.  We did buy the paint, a second bit of tarp (my free bit wasn’t quite big enouhg), and a few three-meter boards to finish off the back wall when the firewood came before the scavenger gods had offered up any other solutions.

Having built this, I feel pretty confident that I could build a little house.  I would do a number of things differently, more exactly, and with better materials, but it isn’t as hard as it looks.  It never is.

Hey, look!  There’s my Wagen!

Since the shed, our yard just makes me happy.  (Of course, the weather has turned for the worse, which means things are getting rather straggley, but before that.)  I wish I had done this months ago so that I could have spent all summer sitting outside and admiring our work, and our neat, tidey yard.  Maybe then I would have been inspired to finally plant the herb garden or the forsythia that I’ve had planted in my head for months.  But there’s always next year.  Winter is coming, but so is spring.

Thursday October 17th 2013, 5:56 pm 2 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,daily life,diy,dumpster diving,freegan,wagenplatz

dumpster find of the week: a carboy, score

For years I have been flirting with the idea of buying a large glass carboy at the flea market.  Wine making!  Wouldn’t that be a good skill to have?  But like so many ideas, so many items once hastily scribbled on a to-do list, I hadn’t gotten around to it.  And damn are those bottles expensive.

I happened upon this among a large pile of trash as I walked home from the train station, and I did a little mental cartwheel when I saw it.  Getting it home while also carrying a baby and a backpack was difficult.  I reminded myself of the desk I carried 2 km and the mattress I’d schlepped for blocks balanced on my head.  This was easy! I am hulk!  RAR!  Many arm switches and short breaks later I’d gotten it home.  Sweet sweet trash.  Thanks for that one.

In other scavenging news

I’ve had my attention drawn to a new dumpster diving blog called Things I Find in the Garbage.  Here is somebody walking and biking around Montreal, picking through trash, and documenting it with words and pictures.  A body after my own heart.  Enjoy!

Monday April 01st 2013, 8:00 am 6 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,dumpster diving

dumpster find of the week: scavenging for the kids

Aaah, dumpster diving.  There has been sadly little of it in my life lately, leaving me to live vicariously through the tales of others.  Like this one.  Frugal Vegan Mom wrote me recently to tell me about this crazy-ass toy that her Grandma-ma pulled out of the trash and that her baby loves.  She saw the damn thing a few days later in a store for 45 dollars!  Good job, Frugal Vegan Mom, good job.

Wednesday October 24th 2012, 9:00 am 7 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,dumpster diving,dumpster finds,freegan

dumpster find of the week: another bundle of blankets

I’ve mentioned the phenomenon before, but I’ll explain in a word for anyone who hasn’t been around for that long: bundles of blankets.  At least once every three months I would find one in the trash across the street from Haus Mainusch.  My theory has always been that international students who are moving out were the ones throwing them away.  Why else would you wrap all your bedding in a fitted sheet and toss in in the trash?  If the bedding had been defiled in some way I might understand.  But we’re talking sheets smelling of detergent.  And the universe continues in its absurdity.

Either way, the phenomenon has resulted in an excess of bedding in my life.  These are the latest finds, hung out to dry after a thorough washing.  Coincidentally, many of them were exactly the same color that I have just painted my Wagen.  I’m going to miss that trash corral, now that we’re in Frankfurt.

Wednesday September 26th 2012, 9:00 am 6 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,dumpster diving,dumpster finds,freegan

internet faux pas, moving, dumpster diving, and archery

The weather is perfect.  I love the start of fall.  The outdoors are a’calling (as are a bajillion things that I need to do to my Wagen before winter), and I find little time for blogging.  Perhaps I should take a page from the speed dating book.  A few updates in fifteen minutes or less…

Umm, sorry about that hiccup where the website was suddenly gone.  Whoops. If you tried to come by Click Clack Gorilla the past two days and found scary ugly nothingness, I apologize.  I was a day late paying the renewal fees for my domain name.  This is the second time I have let this happen (though the first time I was traveling, and it took me a long time to notice and an even longer time to get things fixed), and thank frickin cod that nobody seems to be lurking around waiting to scoop up because I renewed and now things are working again.  Having to give that up would be incredibly sad.  Anyway.

We are finally fucking moving.  Like maybe tomorrow.  I had become completely unmotivated again, in all things related to the move.  Then this morning the Beard gets this text message: “We could move both Wägen tomorrow, the baby Wagen Thursday.”  Holy shit!  I felt like springing into action.  “Let’s do it!”  That was me.  “No frickin’ way!”  That was the Beard.  We are hoping to be able to settle on this weekend, if our moving guy can do it then too.  Could be that the next time I write to you, our wheels are settled firmly on Hessen soil.  Fucking finally.  This waiting and preparing has dragged on far too long already for my taste.

Baby Pickles just discovered that she has hair.  Now she is no longer limited to pulling on my hair or the Beard’s beard.  Stroke, grab, pull, stroke, grab, pull.  However, she doesn’t seem to mind when she pulls her own hair out, so I guess this won’t be a lesson in why not to pull my hair.  She also can sit pretty well.  And eat like eating is the same as sloppily putting on make-up.  Peach face! Peaches are by far her favorite.  Soon we’re going to need to get another sack of clothes.  Banana baby!

I did my first dumpster dive with baby!  I felt so proud.  On a walk to get Pickles settled one evening I happened upon a pile of wood that would be lovely for some trim I need to do on my Wagen exterior, and for building stairs.  The following evening I strapped Pickles on, put a little seat for her in a bike trailer, and walked over to get it.  While I pulled useful boards out of the pile, Pickles sat in her chair in the shade and watched.  The boards were a bit long for the trailer, which prevented me from taking as many as I could have used, but damn was I happy to get some decent scavenging done with the baby in tow. I’m going to be even happier to put them to use.

I finally read Dies the Fire. Which other PA (that’s “post-apocalypse” folks) lit fans have been recommending all over the internet for ages. While it is not literature, not even close, it is a great story, and I am obsessed.  Maybe even OBSESSED.  Good thing S.M. Stirling made it a trilogy, and then wrote a six book series in the same world that takes place a generation later. It is making me both want to write a really long review (coming once I finish the trilogy) and to take up archery. Oh my.

dumpster find of the week: the green lady

I kid you not.  Spotted by the lovely Frau Dietz in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Have you found anything good on the curb lately?

Thursday August 23rd 2012, 9:00 am 1 Comment
Filed under: conspiracies,dumpster diving,dumpster finds,freegan

trash to treasure: a dumpster-dived floor

Way back in February, before Baby Pickles had arrived and when there was still snow on the ground, B brought a new Bauwagen back to the Platz. It looked like this.  He needed more space, and he had been planning on doing the inside up real nice.  But, whoops, no money.  So the trash collecting began, and bit by bit, he pieced together a patchwork floor that, in my humble opinion, looks much awesomer than any regular old orderly looking purchased flooring ever could have.  And it has a chess board!

dumpster find of my heart: twigs for nesting

Sheets and blankets and towels don’t make for good headlines.  But from them I built my comfy sleeping nest (well, not the towels), and my comfy sleeping nest is pretty much the most important place in my little house.  Because we live so tiny (our main dwelling being 7 meters by 2,20 meters for those of you just tuning in), our bed tends to serve as both bed, couch, and living room.  When I’m inside, I’m usually hanging out on the bed.

I’ve written about the bed in my Wagen before, about how I built it out of dumpstered materials, got a mattress from a friend, and then clothed it in dumpster-dived pillows, sheets, and blankets.  And the bed in our main Wagen is pretty much the same deal.  Though the main frame was in it when we moved in, the extension that we added to make it huge (so Baby Pickles could sleep in it with us) was largely dumpstered and the mattress extension was cut out of a bit of foam headed for the trash.

Though I haven’t been checking the trash across the street so often for booty (and the university changed the type of trash cans there, which makes for slightly more work for the diver), I still managed to find one of the recurrent “bed bundles” this season.  What is a bed bundle?  Well, it’s when a student, for no reason I can ascertain, takes the fitted sheet off of their bed, wraps all of the rest of their bed clothes in it (blankets pillows etc) and then tosses it as-is in the trash.  It blows my mind every time I find one, and over the years I’ve found quite a few, and it is the reason that all (with three exceptions, one from a flea market and two old fitted sheets from my mom) of my sheets, the sheets (and towels) that you see in that photo, are from the trash.

As usual, thanks to the wasteful students!  (But really?)  How ironic (is this actual irony?  I have never bothered to really hammer the true definition of that word into my head) that I profit from the same waste that frustrates me so.  Oh those twisted webs.


recycling for the apocalypse: things to do with old tires

Oh plastic. The plastic that industrial cultures have been diligently filling the world with since Alexander Parkes created parkesine—the first man-made plastic—in 1862 isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Your average hard plastic thing-a-ma-bob could take up to 500 years to decompose. But as most plastics don’t actually decompose as we understand the term—instead just breaking into smaller and smaller pieces—they are even going to be with us after that. So we might as well find something useful to do with them, eh?

Take old tires. What the hell can you do with old tires? Well, you can build playground equipment out of them. (I loved me some tire swinging when I was a kid.) You can use them to make growing potatoes easier. You can make shoe soles. You can even build houses out of them. Luckily—if you can call it luck—creative recycling options for them are about as plentiful as discarded tires are.

Recently I came across a new tire-recycling idea. This tire basket belongs to Mama Beard, but as I only noticed it as we were leaving her house, I didn’t get a chance to ask for the story behind it. Still an inspiring idea for re-purposing old treads.

Have you seen any other resourceful ways to recycle old tires?

Postscript: I wanted to note that a high school student named Daniel Burd appears to have discovered that some types of bacteria, in the right circumstances, can biodegrade plastics. Fascinating stuff. But still not a good reason to keep making so much of the stuff.

Wednesday April 04th 2012, 9:00 am 1 Comment
Filed under: apocalypse now,conspiracies,diy,freegan,recycling for the apocalypse

dumpster find of the week: baby tub

And you thought I hated that color. Well, I do. But when I went out to take out the trash and found this baby tub and (umm, what do you call these things? ummm…) toilet trainer seat thingy, I shrugged and took them home. There are a number of baby tubs lying around the Wagenplatz that would have worked just fine as well, though many of them were a little on the big side, and none of them had a drain plug in the bottom. (Note to self: do not get cocky and use inside the trailer where it is bound to somehow come open and flood everything.)

What have you found in the trash recently?

Read about why I do a “dumpster find of the week” series here. Or check out some of the other treasures I’ve pulled out of the trash here.

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Wednesday March 28th 2012, 9:00 am 4 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,dumpster diving,dumpster finds,freegan