Lessons from Grandma: Making Do

[Image Source:  Handy Farm Tools & How to Make Them]
My Grandma taught those around her the best way anyone can teach another - by how she lived her life. That's not to say she didn't express opinions. I'm just saying she usually was too busy to sit around talking about ideas, and was more about getting things done!

I used to love hanging out with her when I was a little girl, especially in the summers. Most of the time it was her and me and nobody else, which is how I liked it. Grandma would sometimes put me to work gathering acorns from the yard in the fall of the year. I'm still not sure to this day if that was necessary, or just a clever trick on her part to keep me out of her hair. Either way, I was diligent in my job and had filled a large vinegar jar full of acorns by the time I was done. As I cleaned her yard, I'd get close to her little garden out back, and her shed, which I thought were very intriguing, full of old garden and carpenter hand tools, some of them from the last century, belonging to her father.

One summer, Grandma decided she needed a wheelbarrow. Always having lived a thrifty lifestyle by necessity, by then she was living as a widow on a very limited, fixed income. Her solution? Plunder the plunder pile1, scavenge a wheel, and slap together a homemade wheelbarrow! I was so excited by her project, she even let me help, and I ended up with my own smaller version. I used that thing for a lot of projects around her house and later up at the old homestead where I grew up (and she and Grandpa had built as their original home, as newlyweds...)

1 - Plunder Pile: A pile of items saved for possible use or re-use at a later time, usually consisting of lumber, fence posts, old windows and doors and other such items. Usually stored outdoors in a pile against or behind a building, sometimes in the form of a tee-pee. Very handy resource to have when making lots of inexpensive, homemade projects.