Access Is More Important Than Ownership

This one goes out to my boy, Rick Estes, in the 603! Along with being the world’s best ZZ Top impersonator…

… Rick has taught me much, like how to mix concrete in a tub and how to jack up a 220 year-old house in order to replace the sills. But perhaps the most important thing that Rick ever taught me was this:
“Access is more important than ownership.” This is how he explained it to me the first time: “I don’t have a washing machine at the moment, but I have dirty laundry and friends that own washing machines. Those same friends invite me over for dinner on occasion. I bring a bottle of wine and a basket of dirty clothes. By the time we are finished with drinks and nibbles, the load is through the wash. By the time we’ve finished dinner the dryer has run.” 
I appreciate Rick’s words of wisdom, and I also appreciated that as my nearest neighbor in rural New Hampshire, he was much better provisioned than I was regarding: hot and cold water; mains power; power tools. (I was able to use his own advice against him!) Which brings me to the most recent application of Rick’s advice. 

This Hitachi table saw belongs to my friend Peter who lives at the Quaker Settlement on the other side of town.

I had to rip some long pieces of oak on a 45 degree angle for our hearth surround…

… but could not manage to hold the line with my circular saw. So I mounted up…

… and headed to the woodworking shop at the Settlement…

… where woodworking projects include making coffins. Those crazy Quakers!

At any rate, the bicycle ride took me about 30 minutes each way, I chatted with Peter for 20 minutes, I chatted with Mandy for 5 minutes, Enna for 10 minutes and various other greetings. The actual cuts took less than 5 minutes. So after two hours and change, I was back home and ready to finish the hearth. 

In the years since I left my 38 acre farm in New Hampshire, I have often thought about and used Rick’s advice. To those living in a modern Western consumerist culture, Rick’s mantra runs against almost everything we’re told by politicians and the media. But their messages of unregulated consumption often lead to personal debt and planetary debt. The Eco-Thrifty approach to renovation (and life) aims to be lighter on the wallet and lighter on the planet while remaining heavy on purpose, fulfillment, happiness, and surfing.

Chur, Estwing

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