Ex Nihilo

I was not hired for my brain.

Technically, I wasn't hired at all. I married into this whole thing. And, because I love my wife, I am obliged to love the farm, as well. Washington is a community-property state, meaning that our little homestead is half mine, whether I want it or not. 

And that's ok. I love fresh vegetables. I love working in the sun. I love the seasons and each thing coming in its own time. And, like I said, I love my wife. 

But they don't pay me to think around here. 

It's not that I can't think. I'm a professor. I have a doctorate. Thinking is what I do. I'm a professional thinker. But they don't pay me to think about farming. That's Tracey's job. She does the planning and the plotting and the predicting and the dreaming. 

Me? I build things. 

I can't tell you how cool this is. By day, I'm an academic, and the bulk of my time is spent in the fine mist of the abstract and theoretical. At the end of a good, hard day's work, I'll have....what? Ideas. Theoretical constructs. An article on Imagination and Affection: Wendell Berry and Global Education's Tragic Overreach (coming soon to an academic journal near you). And it's not that these things aren't important. They are. It's just that after a day of thinking in the Ivory Tower I am desperate to do something with my hands. 

So I build things. 

She dreams it up; I bring it to life. She draws the plans; I supply the muscle. She says, "You know, the chickens need a bigger run;" I look at the supplies we have on hand, redraw the plans that she drew to better  reflect reality, start building, realize that we don't have half the stuff we need, improvise, and then build some more. 

This page is about the stuff I build: chicken runs, rabbit cages, greenhouses, cold-frames, and the like. I have no training in anything useful, so everything you see is seat-of-the-pants, trial-and-error, maybe-I-remember-something-from-7th-grade-woodshop type of stuff. It's not always pretty, but it's almost always functional.


The reflection makes it look like some of the panes are broken. They're not.

In that spirit, here's a little cold-frame that I made the other day out of scrap wood and an old window. It's a Pinterest-inspired creation held together by screws and whatever wood I could find sitting around the garage. The window is on hinges, and it opens quite nicely. 

For my next post: Rabbit cages and an indoor rabbit run. All of this has to fit in our "barn" and leave room for storage. Should be fun!


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