Something From Nothing Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

Ego wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:55 pm
The tenant left only one cabinet but it is one of the expensive Ikea pieces (I believe this goes for $399 new). Listed on Craigslist for $95.
We sold the Ikea piece yesterday to a woman who was afraid to come on her own so she hired a guy with a truck who paid cash and hauled it away.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

The Salvation Army has been taking donations recently and a few days ago they re-opened their auction. Today I rode past on my regular bike ride and there waiting in line in front of the auction were four of my regular suppliers. I gave them my phone number and told them to let me know if they find anything interesting. The auction security guard and I are friends. He confided that they are not even bothering to sort out the good stuff. They just dump it in giant rolling bins. Most are selling for $5-15. If I had a truck and more storage space...

jacob
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by jacob »

The guys we bought our sofa from was running their business out of a bunch of public storage units. I think they had 3 or 4. Perhaps that's a way to scale up? It's also very easy to scale down again that way. Bike trailers come big enough to haul a fridge as long as you're not going [too much] downhill.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

Yeah, I've considered it. Truth be told, I am debating the pluses and minuses of selling on a larger scale. Ideally I'd get only the in-demand items I can markup significantly. If I go large scale I'd get a lot of crap I'd have to haul around to sell at the swap meet. Since my supplier friends have been accumulating things for a while now from garage sales and curbside, I believe I am going to have a windfall of the good stuff when the swap meet reopens. I'm not sure if I will have more or less competition since some of my previous competitors don't have any money due to the closure but other newly unemployed people may be entering the market. Also, the price of used vans has not gone down as expected. At least not yet. Time will tell.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

Sold a Blendtec with 1670 cycles on it. I can't remember what I paid for it but it wasn't much. I had it listed for a few months. The guy who bought it burned his old one out with all the unexpected cooking he is doing.

Image

Mrs. Ego just finished calculating our expenses for April. $611.00 or $305.50 per person.

I've got someone coming tonight to buy a pair of crampons for $55.

mooretrees
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by mooretrees »

I haven't read this whole thread, but I think from the last few pages it needs to be renamed "Ego's something from nothing log."

jacob
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by jacob »

We've been having a hard time finding flour tortillas lately. (I hate corn tortillas.) I've also been bothered by the ~10+ item long list of ingredients of commercially processed tortillas, so I finally made my own press out of a couple of scrapwood pieces (2x2 and 2x4 with a 5/8 dowel for the hinges). Seeing as this was my last pieces of wood, I had to be very creative in sizing the design and where to cut. This will press up to about 6.75x6.75 sq.in.

Image

Alphaville
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Alphaville »

wow, that press looks impressive. will it work the same with an elastic dough as it does with inelastic masa? very curious to see results.

my mother in law makes flour tortillas by hand. and i mean by hand, not with a rolling pin: she starts with a small disc that she stretches with her fingers and then rotates, rotates, rotates. she’ll be telling a story and the tortilla materializes in front of your eyes.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

I'm no Ego but over the weekend I found 15 very large and well built folding tomato cages in good shape. I will give away the other cages I just found that I mentioned in an earlier post and the ones I already had.

I also found a few cinder blocks that I may have a use for. If not they can go back on the curb.

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C40
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by C40 »

I have a small fascination with the concept of just picking things up off the ground.

It started when I was living in my van and my aunt, trying to be helpful, suggested that I purchase some kind of expandable grill. I tried thanking her and also explaining that I have my cooking sorted out ok already using a single-burner propane stove, and that if/when I ever want to grill outside, all I need to do is find a stick on the ground that I can use to hold the steak or whatever. And I had some clarity that I guess I hadn't put in words before - there's no need to buy contraptions to accomplish something when I can accomplish it by picking something up from the ground.

So I've taken that (very obvious and simple) though and built it into one of my strategies of life. I'll try to list some of the specific things one can pick up, and some ways that I utilize myself.

Very simple tasks:
- Use rocks to level my van when parking to camp.
- Collecting dead wood for firewood (note - only in areas where this has little/no impact - so, not ever in a desert)

Some that have income potential:
- Collecting plant foods - mushrooms($$$ potential), berries, other edible plants
- Collecting plants with some other value (medicinal, herbs, etc.)
- Collecting small animals that you can just grab. (Ex - "Crawdaddies, catfish, etc...)
- Finding and selling 'whale vomit' (very low likelihood but extremely high $ if found)
- Picking up rocks, crystals, gems, etc. (When I lived in Tucson and saw the popularity of these at the yearly Gem and Mineral show, I wished that I had learned about these things and picked them up while I was out camping and walking around all over the western US and seeing interesting looking rocks that I'd pick up for a little while, but then discard thinking "yeah this looks kind of cool, but what the hell am I gonna do with this?"
- Picking up horn sheds (I met a guy who did this as his only source of income while living and traveling in a camp trailer)
- Picking up old trash that now has value as ~antiques. The other day I saw a video on Youtube that a guy made while walking around an area that was used as a trash dump many years ago. He was collecting old glass bottles and telling about how much he can sell them for on ebay.

Most of the above would be done outside of cities and require special skills. There is potential inside cities as well.
- Picking up things left as trash
- Dumpster diving
- Getting free things on freecycle, facebook marketplace, from people who tell you they're getting rid of something


A couple that happened recently while I was in Portland:
1 - While driving along with my friends, we saw a "Free firewood" sign. I convinced my friend to turn the car around, and we found a whole bunch of pieces of a tree - all cut, but not split. We loaded up his SUV packed full of them, and then I split it all the next day. It was probably like half a cord of wood. I enjoyed the splitting.
2 - My friend often commutes to work on bicycle, and not using an electric bike/motorcycle.. He's adopted my "just pick it up" mindset and he started collecting scrap metal from the road. He varies his routes in order to clean out many different roads. For a while, when he got home each day, he would excitedly show me his haul of scraps. He's also weigh it. There's very little money in doing this, but he enjoyed it, and he was cleaning up roads of scraps that damage tires.

George the original one
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by George the original one »

C40 wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 10:20 pm
- Picking up horn sheds (I met a guy who did this as his only source of income while living and traveling in a camp trailer)
With elk swarming all over the surrounding forest, you'd think I'd find more elk horn, but I've only found one in the 8 years I've owned this house. It was lying right there in the lawn. I think the ferns & forest must hide antlers quite well.

davtheram12
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by davtheram12 »

Finally got approval from my DW to start hunting for treasures again. She was worried I was going to inadvertently bring home COVID-19 from a contaminated item. I scored! Within a week I managed to find a nearly new Magic Chef 10.1 cu. ft. refrigerator in white. I haven't been able to test it yet but it looks promising. I also found a BlueAir Classic 403 air purifier. After a cleaning and inspecting of the inner workings, it fired right up without a problem.

I've also been doing a lot of urban foraging with a fruit picker I found a couple years ago. First night I picked oranges, lemons, kumquats, guavas and tangerines. I had my backpack, running gear, headlamp and fruit picker in hand. I decided the best course of action was running between my destinations. I had much for fun than I expected! People were giving me some comical looks but I felt like a persistence hunter. Granted, I wasn't hunting for meat but my imagination let me believe it :lol:

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C40
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by C40 »

George the original one wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 9:36 am
With elk swarming all over the surrounding forest, you'd think I'd find more elk horn, but I've only found one in the 8 years I've owned this house. It was lying right there in the lawn. I think the ferns & forest must hide antlers quite well.
Yes, the guy explained to me that it takes specific work to find them. He learned about when different types of animals shed and where they go around that time. I think he said it's usually near lakes. Then he'd scout using satellite maps to find areas like that, and plan his travel route so he'd be in the right areas during the right weeks/months. I remembering him mention having to walk though thick brush sometimes.
Last edited by C40 on Thu May 07, 2020 4:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

theanimal
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by theanimal »

The same is the case up here regarding sheds. I think last I heard the going rate is $9/lb. I've hiked across a couple ridges in the past few years that were littered with hundreds of sheds. I might consider doing it. There's a part of me that feels weird about it. I'm not sure why because if I killed a caribou I'd be willing to sell those antlers, but something about picking them up feels different.

On that note, antlers in velvet go for a much higher value due to higher perceived value due to cultural importance in places like China. I had a neighbor who sold a small individual antler in velvet (maybe 3-5 lbs 2 ft max in length) for $125.

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C40
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by C40 »

Interesting that you feel weird about picking them up.

They don't have any/much benefit for other plants/animals/soil, do they? So, what is the problem with taking them?

You pick berries.. fish salmon.. hunt other animals,.. etc. Those are much more intensive (the killing). This is just picking up something they've discarded.
Last edited by C40 on Thu May 07, 2020 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

theanimal
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by theanimal »

It is somewhat contradictory. My foundation in the outdoors with NOLS had an emphasis on Leave No Trace principles. The idea of leaving things where you found them and not disturbing/changing too much of the environment. I think that's where this feeling stems from. Taking antlers wouldn't be changing too much considering that they'll always be out there and that it's only this year's antlers that are valuable (at least for up here). So that means almost all the recent antlers would just be sitting up on the ground and nobody would notice they were gone besides myself. I think I'll try it once the snow melts off up in the high country.

jacob
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by jacob »

Likely weathering the antlers sends calcium back into the ground where it came from to complete the loop.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Yeah, but the system is open to acid rain which is the primary anthropogenic cause of limitation of calcium availability in Northern forests. So, maybe trade the forest some boiled chicken bones or egg shells for the antlers and only use the money earned to buy stuff not produced in coal burning factories.

davtheram12
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by davtheram12 »

Went on a long bike ride over the Memorial Day weekend and scored more trash treasures. Found a 2003 Sony DCRTRV350 camcorder with all of the accessories in near mint condition. I'm really glad I found this since my father still has all of his original home videos on the same DV tape format. I'll be able to reformat all of his videos and give him a great Father's Day gift :P

Also found 2 ultralight fishing rods with attached reels, 2 medium fishing rods with one attached reel, a tackle box full of new and lightly used equipment and a small US army mechanic tool bag in olive green. The bag looks to be from WW2.

sky
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by sky »

I drove past a house with a pile of junk and a "free" sign on it and saw an interesting table. It was dirty and stained but I could see it was quality woodwork. Picked it up, took it home and washed it well with a rag and hot soapy water. It cleaned up very well. I put some lemon oil on it to brighten it up and it looks used but in excellent condition. It is this table: https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/table ... f_4934123/

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