I'm excited to share ideas on how to live a more self-sufficient life-style. I guess you could say that being self-reliant and finding deals is as much a hobby for me as it is a life-style. It gives me a thrill, a sense of peace and satisfaction, and it's in my bloodline!
My grandpa was the epitome of frugality. He saved every useful scrap and part and nut and screw. They were all neatly organized in shops and sheds on his ranch. His garage walls are a museum piece. Anything he needed, he could put together or build. My dad is the very same. He and my brother can build, fix or figure out just about anything you can imagine!
Grandpa had a favorite hat. It was a basic gray felt farmer hat. He wore it just about every day, whether he was welding, haying, running his sawmill or just puttering. As it got older, it started to wear thin where the brim and crown meet. A hole finally wore through and he got needle and thread and sewed it shut. It just kept wearing out and he kept sewing it shut. After a while, he took the stapler to it! I remember seeing it hanging on the hat hooks behind the ranch house kitchen door. It was stained with sweat and dirt and had staples scattered around the brim holding it together. Funny thing is, Grampa had plenty of money and could have afforded a new felt hat any time he wanted one. But there ain't no sense in throwing away a hat that's still perfectly functional! So he didn't. He really didn't care what the hat looked like. He just wanted to keep the rain and snow off his head and the sun out of his eyes, and that hat certainly did the job!
One day Grampa was in a jean store, wearing his favorite hat. The store owner spotted it on his head and recognizing what a tale it had to tell, made Grampa an offer. He had never intended to part with it, but what the heck, it had certainly had a lot of good use, and he wasn't one to pass up an opportunity. The owner bought it right off his head and displayed it on his wall where it could represent a richly lived life to all those savvy enough to appreciate it. It was a true American classic! A priceless representation of the self-reliant, hard-working, American heritage I was fortunate enough to come from.
My brother spotted the hat in there some time later, and after Grampa passed away, my sister-in-law coaxed the store owner into selling it to her. She wrapped it up and gave it to my brother, who worked with Grandpa his whole life, as a Birthday present. I consider it a true family treasure.