The EcoWongs

Thoughts, Aspirations, and Projects of the Wong Clan

Frugality is the mother of ingenuity February 24, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — gnowetan @ 2:22 pm
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For those of you that recall our pallet retrieval adventures, you might be interested to see what came of the second pallet.  Well, we originally had the idea to cut the second pallet into three pieces and stack them up on cinder blocks.  However, we found this piece of wood near where we found the pallets (they were probably from the same person):

Having this piece of wood available to me got my mind churning and I conceived a design that would produce the shelves that we were looking for without having to procure any cinder blocks.  The result:

The pallet was cut into sections of four slats on the bottom, three in the middle, and two on the top (it was supposed to be 3/3/3, but I cut incorrectly.  I forgot the #1 rule: measure twice, cut once).  I cut matching triangular slots into the legs:

and I added a brace to the front to provide some front-to-back stability:

The whole time while I was cutting the wood, I heard someone using a circular saw somewhere within a block of me.  I almost went over to ask them if I could make a few cuts, but I decided it was better for me to build this without any machinery.  Better for my cardiovascular system and better for the environment.

Now to stock it with some plants.

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Garden update: February 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — gnowetan @ 10:02 am
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Because Christina’s been home over the weekend, we’ve had the opportunity to do some work on our “garden”:

We got two plant hangars from Big Lots! ($3 for 2) and have hung two tomato plants.  This may change later, but well see.

We got two plant hangars from Big Lots! ($3 for 2) and have hung two tomato plants. This may change later, but we'll see.

Our Rubbermaid planter is continuing to sprout Cilantro.  Should be coming up with leaves any time now!

Our Rubbermaid planter is continuing to sprout Cilantro. Should be coming up with leaves any time now!

We think this is a pinto bean.  God knows whats going to come of this.

We think this is a pinto bean. God knows what's going to come of this.

The China Doll that wont die.

The China Doll that won't die.

Our little garden helper, helping.

Our little garden helper, helping.

The peas are getting pretty tall!  We had to add another tier of twine for them to grab on to.

The peas are getting pretty tall! We had to add another tier of twine for them to grab on to.

Interesting story about this pallet.  We were walking to the Post Office and we came across two of these pallets in the alleyway (we have alleyways running between all the blocks here in uptown Whittier).  Christina says to me, “we should take it.” (people often leave unwanted things in the alleyway.  In the alleyway = up for grabs).  I said,

“It’s too big.  We don’t have a car right now.  Maybe I’ll pick it up on the way back.”

Emmett fell asleep before we got to the post office, so Christina headed back home before me.  As I’m on my way back, I get a text message:

“All done?  Pick up the pallet?”

So I grabbed it on the way back.  Now, the pallet is slightly taller than my shoulder height, so I couldn’t just sling it over my shoulder and walk back, I had to hold it about 3 inches above my shoulder (which I could only sustain for about 10 yards at a time).  It was about a block back to our house, and after about 2 or 3 stops to readjust my grip, I finally made it back.  So pallet #1 was safely delivered to our backyard.  A few days later, I resolved to turn that pallet into a table:

Pretty good, no?

As I was cutting the legs and nailing them to the pallet, Christina says (with Emmett sitting on her shoulders), “I’m gonna go get the other one.”  I replied,

“Huh?  You’re crazy.”

About 5 minutes later, between sawing and hammering, I hear a distant, yet distinct, “MR. NATHAN!”  I run out into the alleyway to find my wife walking down the alley, one hand holding on to Emmett’s ankle and the other hand holding on to the other pallet (remember, it was difficult for me to carry, and I’m a good 5 inches taller than Christina).  Emmett, meanwhile, is gripping on to Christina’s hair for dear life.  As I’m soaking in this moment, Christina yells, “WELL?  ARE YOU GOING TO HELP YOUR FAMILY?!?!”

I ran over and grabbed the other pallet and we all made it back to the house safely.

Oh the things we’ll do for free things.