Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ridiculous Household Hacks

Mr. Chanclas is the king of ridiculous household hacks. He once repaired a speaker in his car with a twig and two twist ties. Today I present Chanclas' Improvised Door Latch:


Last week the latch broke on the storm door that leads from our semi-enclosed workshop to the carport. This meant that the door would either hang open, inviting chickens inside to lay eggs amongst the workshop tools or poop on the rubber floor mats, or it would jam closed, preventing us from entering. This was a problem. So while we look for a replacement latch Mr. Chanclas rigged  this ridiculous, yet entirely functional, assembly. Knowing us, I wouldn't be too surprised if it is still in use six months from now.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Scavenged Wonders Never Cease

Is there no limit to what one can scavenge from the trash?

This is the question I am asking myself this week. It was bulky trash pickup in southwest Austin this week and I am astonished at what good stuff I found. Check this out:


I found a WORKING, gas-powered weed eater (Echo brand) and a WORKING, gas-powered Ryobi leaf-blower with several attachments.They even had gas in them. My first thought when I saw them on the curb was, "They must be broken." But there was something about the way they were carefully laid out that made me think maybe they weren't. So into the van they went and I brought them home. Mr. Chanclas rolled his eyes when I unloaded them but then I pulled the ripcord on the leaf blower and proceeded to blow all the leaves off of our enormous patio while he watched in wonder. It takes me over an hour to sweep that patio and now I can blow it off in five minutes. We didn't own a weed eater, either, which is maybe odd because we have a LOT of yard. Both items are things we needed but I didn't want to have to buy. So I waited. And waited. And they came to me. As things nearly always do. I just have to be patient.

I also picked up the two wood-and-iron patio chairs that you see in the above photo, as well as that white round thing. The white round thing is a Roomba, which is a robotic floor cleaner. The Roomba also came with a box full of all of its accessories (docking station, power cord, etc). I will probably sell the Roomba but it appears to work.

The Ryobi leaf blower with attachments.
Another interesting thing I found on the curb was this old wooden filing cabinet. I have been waiting patiently for a four-drawer filing cabinet to replace the two little metal ones I currently have. (And which I find to be unbearably ugly.) And who knew that wooden file cabinets even existed? I didn't.


The message printed on the back of the wooden filing cabinet

Side view of the cabinet.
I also picked up this basic Ikea bookcase. It matches some of the Ikea furniture in our house and goodness knows we are always needing more bookcases around here. Somebody painted the back panel bright red but I will either repaint it or tear it off.

Ikea bookcase and the back of the wooden filing cabinet
These were my main scores from this round of bulky trash pickup. The following morning I also scavenged some fence pickets, several metal T-posts, some pretty red brick pavers, a pair of concrete blocks, a full set of Rubbermaid car mats, and a large panel of new sheet rock (which I needed for some sheet rock repairs).

Scavenge on, my friends!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Old School Joe: Percolator Coffee


I love coffee. It's really my only vice. (Unless you count poultry and goat ownership as a vice, which I sometimes do.)

I also really love old things. Which explains why my house and belongings look the way they do. Mr. Chanclas also loves old things. This is his favorite old thing (not counting his wife):

Mr. Chanclas and his 1968 Volkswagen Squareback
I just love to imagine the back story of all of my old things. Old stuff has a story to tell and it's often well-made. (If it weren't it wouldn't still be around, would it?) I just inherited this wonderful Corning Ware electric coffee percolator. Isn't it pretty? I'm drinking my first cup of coffee from it and I have to admit that it's a little bit burnt but it would be perfect for camping. It does require electricity but most camping spaces have an electrical outlet and I'm not against using it.


Coffee percolators were invented in the early 1800's and were very popular until the early 1970's when automatic drip coffee makers came out. The nice thing about a percolator is that it doesn't require a paper filter. Some, like this electric one, have their own heat source, but others are for stovetop use.

Does anybody else have a sweet spot for percolated coffee? I'm going to keep using mine and see if I can perfect my method.