In my never ending quest for projects to fill up the four off in my “four days on, four days off” schedule, my life has recently gone to the birds. I’m really getting a kick out of this. Not only am I performing a community service, not only do I get to play with power tools and get sawdust in my hair, not only do I get to provide aid and comfort to our feathered friends, I’ve also gotten a couple of my kids interested in home remodeling. Well, tiny homes.
It started last Wednesday when I was browsing country skills websites (yes, I have put in a garden…I have made pretty decent homemade soap and laundry detergent…I am composting and recycling about everything imaginable). But I was struck dumb (not imbecilic, just speechless) by an online article from Backwoods Home magazine. Rick Brentlinger got all entrepreneurial on me and showed me how to stuff some extra cash in my pocket by making a high demand product out of an article that businesses all over the place are all but begging you to haul away for free.
When we had the cafe and used bookstore, I had to pay for raw coffee beans to roast, and I had to pay for the books I sold. I asked myself, “how much further ahead would you have gotten if you could have gotten those things for free by walking into a store and asking for them?” And what if the proprietor had squeezed my shoulder and said, “right this way!”
It sounded like the deal for me. So I drove a quarter of a mile down the street and walked into a store to see if this thing was legit. The proprietor squeezed my shoulder, and…”
And I drove away with a van load of free pallets, with an open invitation to take whatever they had stacked up out back any time I got the itch to haul them away. I was in business. So I got to sawin’. And nailin’. And borin’ and paintin’ and …
After a couple days of easy, enjoyable work, I went down to the craft store, bought a couple of pieces of weather tolerant poster board, a tube of acrylic paint and a small bag of kids paintbrushes, and painted up a sign that said, “Birdhouses for sale $5 – $10 – $15.” I stuck it out at the end of the driveway with a garden hook sporting one of my creations beside it and waited for the painful truth to come out. Nobody would stop their car on a semi-busy road and knock on the door of a complete stranger (strange being the operative word!) to ask if he had any birdhouses.
The sign was up for two hours today. I sold three birdhouses.
I haven’t even approached any stores yet to see if they’d like to sell them off the shelf. I may start with the store that is giving me the pallets if my handiwork gets more professional. But again, I’ve been building for two days and I’ve already learned a few tricks and my work is getting tighter and nicer looking. I explained that I was a hack to a a lady who was forking over her hard earned cabbage for my earliest attempts, but she told me they were lovely. She seemed nice for such a bold faced liar.
I’m going out tomorrow for another load of pallets.