This was our postage stamp-sized front yard on Saturday. Michael and I thought it was pretty. But I was concerned that neighbors would report it as a hazard. The flowers weeds were over a foot tall and harboring who knows what furry little beings. Something had to be done, and I was not ready to pull it up and start our veggie garden.
I decided to just mow the weeds and leave some green. But we don’t own a lawn mower. Remembering my success with the Craigslist crockpot, I once again subscribed to a Craigslist search, this time for “push mower.” But after several weeks without success, I decided to just go ahead and buy a new one. Michael, bless his conscientiously frugal heart, talked me out of it. “Beth,” he said, “How often do we ever have to mow? You’re going to buy a mower for the one time a year when we actually have rain and the plants grow by themselves?”
He was right. Still, I didn’t want to pull up the weeds and leave a yard full of bare dirt to dry out and look like crap. And then I remembered my own post from October of 2007: Learning to Share (and Borrow). I’d written all about tool lending libraries but had not as yet needed to use ours. This was a great opportunity!
The Temescal Tool Library is part of the Oakland Public Library System. It’s one of many tool libraries in the world. (Check out the list at Local Tools to find one near you.) Here are some of Temescal’s offerings:
The guy in the photos is the library’s Ty Yurgelevit, who showed me all the tools available and explained that broken tools are repaired right there at the library. But being short of hours and staff, they don’t have time to fix everything that comes in broken, so please be careful with the items you borrow!
Anyway, I wheeled the little push mower home (yes, I was on foot!) and mowed those weeds into submission — for free. In a week or so, I’ll pull some of them up and start a new veggie garden, hopefully sooner and with more success than last year’s. But like I whined in yesterday’s post, I’m not so very domestically-inclined. These projects are always a big deal for me and miraculous when they turn out right. So, we’ll see what happens.
For a comprehensive list of other alternatives for borrowing or buying secondhand, check out Green Bean’s recent post on The Green Phonebooth Blog. To her list, I would add tool libraries and car-sharing. (We belong to Zip Car.)
What are ways that you avoid buying new stuff?