Sunday, October 25, 2009

New Life...Old Materials

Five points to the first reader who correctly determines the origin of the concrete block pictured below:

Ding ding ding! You're right---that block with the brown paint originally belonged to one of the brown cabins at Camp Lutherlyn.

One of the many benefits of Fred's job at Lutherlyn is the permission he is given to scavenge for materials. The grounds crew does not waste anything---even during demolition. Sometimes whole pieces of buildings can be reused, such at the two cabin roofs that were used to make the original roof at Terra Dei. At other times, materials are taken apart and set aside for unknown future use. Sometimes items are stored for years and years...

In this case, I needed concrete block for my girls' new strawbale coop. There were a number of options I had considered for the foundation: rubble trench, a poured concrete footer, or dry-laid concrete block. Anyone who knows us knows that reusing (as in, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) is near and dear to our hearts. But, following a close second is a sincere desire not to pay for things that can be acquired for free! I really didn't want to put much money into this project, having just finished building our house. With taking down so many of the original block cabins in the last few years, we immediately thought of checking with P to see if any were available. P quickly gave Fred the go-ahead, and we set about hauling block.

(Actually, there was no "we" in the hauling of the block. Thanks to my dad and his Durango, we had all the block we could ask for in two days.)

Thanks to our friends at Lutherlyn, the foundation for our new coop is just about complete. We were pleased to be able to reuse block that still had a lot of life left in them. (As an added bonus, that spot behind the shop is just a little less crowded...)

Another side benefit of reusing block, I learned a new skill. Fred showed me how to use a small sledge and a chisel to remove old mortar. Let me tell you, I thought a lot about the phrase, "A chip off the old block!"

Now, to find a free door...


  1. haha! From the looks of it, you're quite a chip off ye ole block :)

  2. I can't help but wonder if those blocks might have been from a cabin that I stayed in at some point during a summer week of camp at Lutherlyn!!