“I kept riding, drinking, riding. I thought maybe I might run into somebody. I knew I’d eventually have to bury my dog.” Larry Brown, Big Bad Love
Remember the days before it was illegal to have an open beer in the car? Around here, it used to be something to do, a legitimate and well-known form of entertainment, to just ride around the back roads with an ice chest, the 22s, the fishing poles, and the dogs and have a picnic at some old rotten abandoned homestead or down by the river and shoot greydiggers and catch bass. What in all hell could possibly replace drinking, driving, fishing, shooting? Now that gas is so high I try not to drive much. I like to tinker.
Now that tinkering is my preferred redneck modus operandi, I find myself busy at all the tasks I puttered at previously, but to a previously-unknown amount of detail and scale. You wouldn’t think so but, just like the previous entertainment of drinking beer and fish catching, raising chickens and gardening can get out of hand. I started incubating my own chicks and, just like when I was drinking beers, thought, “This is really neat!!” Now I have over 100 chickens and plenty of eggs to feed the dogs and us. Good thing I like fried ham’n’egg sandwiches, but lurking in the back of my mind is the fear I may wake up one morning and say to myself, “Self, I do not like fried ham’n’egg sandwiches anymore,” and oh crap, then what?
Well, “Then what,” is the defining thingy of tinkering. I learned to do this from Grampa Jim. You sit in your lawnchair and, “Reconnoiter.” This is like free association or brainstorming, but not so demanding. You sit there, look around at things, drink your sodie pop, and think about what needs done next. If I was Alexander the Great and this was north Africa, what would I do Then you filter that down to correlate with your ambition level. Commence to putter until you feel like taking a break. Head for that same lawnchair and repeat. This is how I got dozens of chickens and bunnies, a big garden, ad infinitum. Sometimes my husband gets caught up in this, building a bunny tractor or realizing some other daydream dreamt up in the lawnchair, but I notice he’s been very busy this summer with his own tinkering on his cars and guns. Good for him. Good for both of us. I’m proud we have worked so hard to reduce our carbon footprint.