Something From Nothing Log

What skills to learn, what tools to get
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.

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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/

Frita
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Frita »

We wanted to extend our gutter system on the corner of our house. The hardware store’s price for new material was $15.99 plus tax. While walking we found the materials on the curb for free. My spouse simply cut off the dented portion on the end and boom, problem solved!

jacob
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by jacob »

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DW's colleague gave me her old iPhone5. I made a cover for it pretty much designing as I went along.

Non-trivial details: The volume control buttons work. It's just dowels pressing on the actual buttons on the phone. I glued to a strip of paper on the inside end to keep them from falling out. The phone is a tight fit but to keep it from falling out, I had to put some wood on top to hold it. To make it removable, I covered the pieces---both the "leaves" and the covered part of the frame---with masking tape and then I superglued the masking tape together. This makes the joint nearly invisible. You can pry it off, but you'd have to repeat the gluing with new tape to reinstall.

I have no idea how protective this actually is, but I like it better than the silicone cover it replaced. Design-wise I'd change a few things. In particular, I'd make the power button at the top similar to the volume buttons. I'd also make the leaves thinner.

So Tyler9000 ... do I have a future in the design business?

nomadscientist
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by nomadscientist »

Make an Etsy storefront before someone copies this.

horsewoman
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by horsewoman »

:lol: ... Which is the fastest way to get your designs copied (@nomadscientist)

ertyu
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by ertyu »

Someone had thrown out

1. The stuffing of 2 old couch cushions (some kind of synthetic "wool"). There was 2 small couch cushion's worth of this. I took it, washed it, dried it, picked the clumps apart to make it fluffy, and stuffed it into a second hand store pillow case (15 euro cents, final sale day) which I had also washed. Ta-daa, I now have a pillow.

2. Someone had thrown out an old mattress. Someone else had already cut it through and taken the thicker piece of memory foam inside. The top piexe of foam, about half an inch thick and sewn to the top fabric with swirly patterns, was still there. I tore it off fully and took it home. I will cut it up in pieces, wash those pieces, and put them in more second hand store pillowcases (need to go buy). This will become padding for the seats of the benches in the kitchen (2 pieces of foam per bench to make it thicker), which are currently board with a tiny piece of upholstery fabric on them and are thus digging into my ass like whoa.

I think I will have more of the material left. If separated from the top fabric (need to unpick the stitches), the foam can also be used with some jeans fabric (jeans also found at the trash container and washed) to make a laptop sleeve (my MacBook had a plastic protective cover that snapped on, but it broke). I need to buy thread and needle. And scissors.

The rest of the foam can be cut up into tiny pieces and mixed with the remainder of the synthetic wool to stuff one more pillow.

These are my first actual something from nothing ERE projects and I am really proud of how I plan to repurpose these materials.

3. Idk if this counts, but someone had also thrown out a 2 or 2.5 galon bucket which used to contain feta cheese. I took this, washed it, and took a shower from it today (half filled with cold water, half-filled with 1 electric kettleful of boiled water. Didn't "make" anything, rather repurposed.

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Ego
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Re: Something From Nothing Log

Post by Ego »

One of my trashpicker friends showed up with a big box of vinyl records. He sold them to me for $5.

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I posted them on offerup for $50 with this one photo and the name of a few of the artists. Got a response the next day. Before responding back I checked out the guy's offerup page and saw that he had listed a rowing machine last year for $175 but had never sold it. He lived in a rough part of town which makes it hard to sell stuff and his photos were terrible so I offered to make an even trade, the records for the rowing machine. To my surprise he agreed and offered to bring the machine to me in his truck. Turns out he works for a moving company and one of the customers gave him the machine so he got a something from nothing out of it. It was filthy and the computer didn't work but I figured for a $5 investment I couldn't go wrong. He was thrilled, I was thrilled..... goal achieved.

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I cleaned it up, replaced the corroded batteries in the computer then searched the model online and found that during the Covid fitness boom they are selling for absurd price which left me with the classical_Liberal deodorant problem. So I listed the machine on offerup and sold it for $400 in an hour.

Lots of tenants moving recently so lots of trash finds sold on offerup or craigslist.

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Found a Leatherman Charge Titanium at the swap meet this morning for $20. I will be selling my heavy Leatherman Surge

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