Thursday, May 19, 2011

Outside the Box

D & I have been on an "outside the box" roll. We love figuring out new ways to use things (especially free or cheap things). So, two Home Depot trips ago we noticed these gigantic spools that hold bulk items like wire, chain, etc. The biggest of them (maybe a 3-foot circle) was exactly the perfect shape for a kids outdoor table! Or you could stack various sizes and make some kind of plant or seedling stand. Or you could put axles in them, use two of them, and make some kind of 4-wheeled vehicle. Or you could make stools. Or... :) So we put our names on a bunch of them and we should get a call when the spools are empty. That will be fun to play with and can join the rest of our (free) playground.

Last night, after celebrating Savta's birthday, we went out to some small town in Georgia and visited a man that sells junk. All kinds of great building junk, metal junk, wood junk. The best junk of all is very large fencing panels. Well, they're not actually fencing panels. They're Gulfstream packing crates for airplane tails and wings. They're made out of the pine heartwood (so the hardest part of the pine). Gulfstream used to just throw these in the garbage after opening the crates. They've been importing parts in from northern Europe. BUT (good news for Savannah), they're doing a huge ($500 million?) expansion in which they will no longer be bringing in those parts from overseas but manufacturing them right here. So the crates won't be available for much longer. Tonight, the wonderful junk man will be delivering all we need to do our side and backyard fences! Very exciting. And much, much (much!) cheaper than Home Depot.

But, wait, that's not all! They can also get a hold of 330-gallon liquid transport tanks that we can use for our tilapia growing tanks. They come with metal cages around them. Since they'll be in the front yard we have to think of a way to make them look, er, attractive. One way would be to plant something that vines and can take some shade. So, we'll see! We're going to start with just one for water collection and see if we can maintain a good water temperature for fish in it before we do the real thing with fish.

And then... they also had five-foot-tall translucent white containers that were maybe eighteen inches around. I just imagined it set up as a gigantic Japanese lantern by the front door, sitting just inside the garden, perhaps under our first water tank (which will up high so it has good water pressure). We could even rice-paper the inside (?), or paint the inside (?), or add a bamboo lid/cover (?), or ?. We're hoping to grow a lot of bamboo just outside our fence to use for garden structures, sukkah covers, or ? Dean is really interested in ebony bamboo, and he's figured out a way he could block it so it didn't invade the other side of the fence (i.e. our yard!). So... fun things to think about!

And the other good news... I FOUND A PIANO! A REAL PIANO! A piano that actually sounds very nice and has been taken care of. I'm the third owner. It's a Fischer piano, built in the 1970s. We're buying it from another piano teacher who was very nice to visit with. I'm beyond excited, having looked for a piano for about a year now (!). She also said when she first moved here she had a terrible time finding a piano. There just aren't that many available here. She said she's also had a hard time getting students. Much harder than where she lived in Kansas City. In Portland it was also easy to find students. I always had a waiting list and I often had to turn people down from the waiting list when I had ten waiting! But I also had a lot more exposure then, teaching 14 school classes every week. My studio location was also right at the school so it was very convenient for parents. It will be very interesting to see what happens when I decide to hang out my piano/recorder teaching shingle again!

I'm so excited. After excruciatingly doing all those choir/piano arrangements on a computer (easy if you an electronic keyboard hooked into the computer; SLOOOOOOOW if you don't!), it will be so nice to work at a piano. It also would have been nice to actually PRACTICE playing the pieces I was doing with the choir. I managed well enough, at least. I also really want to start Amirah on piano. It would have been nice to start at seven, but eight is still a good age to start. Nine starts to feel awfully late... I may even start Eli once I figure out how we're going to do Kindergarten, 1st grade, and 3rd grade without the day stretching out too long!

All right, time to go make Raizel's 5th birthday cake. Yum, yum. Chocolate. And beach picnic food, since we were supposed to go to the beach today. :( So turkey sandwiches, potato chips, salad. Happy Birthday, dear Raizel!


Jennifer in MamaLand said...

SOoooo funny! My family's first house was in a new subdivision and my father found a 4- or 5-foot spool and rolled it home. We used it as a picnic table - much to my later mortification because all my friends had REAL tables - for over a decade.

With the tank, how do you plan to get fish in / out? Just having trouble visualizing... the ones I've seen in a cage usually just have a spout near the bottom. Anyway, you ought to be able to find something green that will grow over the cage easily enough.

Great finds!

alpidarkomama said...

Well..... so far they just think it's COOL! :)

I'll ask DH about the tank details. The spout is at the bottom, and we'll raise it 3-4 feet for good water pressure so we can water the garden with all that enriched water. There's an opening at the top, but I forget how big it is. :) We just have to be able to get a 1.5 lb tilapia out. :)

alpidarkomama said...

DH says we're going to cut the top off, and then attach some kind of lockable wire top to the metal cage. Keeps kids out and fish in. :) The 330-gallon ones look a bit out of place in the front yard so we're going to put them on the front side of the house (still close to garden) for water collection and get 220-gallon tanks for fish. :)