The couple of times I traveled in 2013 I was staying in a far city with family we used VRBO and Airbnb. These experiences at the time vaguely registered what we were doing was DIY lodging. The beauty of it was the feeling of homeyness that you never get while staying in a motel. The kind of satisfaction likened to a job well done. So I began to think other DIY moments I have in my life which I take for granted. What is gained by Do It Yourself is when more of us disrupt common held beliefs and practices the closer our communities are knit.
I eat farm fresh eggs. Been doing this for about a year. I get them from Doug who I see once every couple of weeks. I usually call him and we arrange a place and time to meet that works for the both of us. This is DIY in that I actually save money $2.50 a dozen vs over $4 at the grocery. And these eggs are FRESH. Doug gets to keep every penny of the transaction so that makes the deal even sweeter. DIY value is ephemeral in a sense because it is not out right bartering and my business may only be one time. Bartering I can move on to other sweet deals. Not so with DIY. Doug continues to sell eggs to me and others in the community. DIY is fueling the economy a little more each time one of us has a need fulfilled outside regulations and taxes. DIY is the creator of a destiny more forgiving than the financial hazing we often take when we pay outright for a service or commodity.
This winter brought a boat load of snow in early December. The polar vortex locked over 3 feet of snow on our rooftops and everywhere else. My concern was the load and the fact winter had just begun and more snow was inevitable. Soon after this huge snowfall a fellow stopped his truck blocking my driveway as I was leaving for work. He hopped out and said he wouldn’t take more than 3 minutes of my time for an estimate of the cost to remove the rooftop snow. The gent told me $250 bucks and left his card. That Saturday I went out and bought a “cool” folding/scaffold ladder which can be used indoors and outdoors and a snow rake for exactly $250. I’m still out cash but I’ve got myself tools for this project and future snows. I’ve already been up on the roof a second time. I’ll wager I’ve shoveled five feet of snow and put in about six hours of physical labor. Sweat equity is just another way of looking at DIY.
The king of sweat equity is a family friend named David. He has spent a decade working on the most beautiful log cabin. He started with seven semi trailers of logs. Logs with bark on them. He de-barked every single log himself. Carved log tops to fit with each log bottom. He bought a crane to lift the logs in place. The ridge log is over 70 feet long. Master of DIY. We may not have the inclination of a David. Although the little things we don’t think about can save us both time and money. DIY in the end is about making something and doing something for others and ourselves. DIY is taking opportunities to be in the moment in the place you are living.
Bicycle riding is another DIY practice when you think about riding instead of driving a car. Trips to the grocery or to work and school are a pretty cool way to move around. DIY awareness training without the hassle of paying a guru. Physical fitness without the gym fees. Looking good and feeling good for nothing but your time. DIY is having herb plants growing in a sunny window. DIY is making homemade pizza. DIY is going to the farmers market in June and buying 15 bunches of basil and making pesto for friends and family for the year. DIY is having a chain saw and helping a neighbor with her trees. DIY can be just about everything that gets us to shed some of the armour we carry and drive around in. A fantastic starter project for someone might be tonights dinner instead of going out. Do it yourself.