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From preps to porch swings

It’s funny. You guys probably came here originally for lib-anarchism, Attitude, practical talk, and good rants. Maybe you stayed for Mad DIY construction projects. But this week I’m talking to you about stuffed sheepdogs and porch swings.

Are you still here?

Might as well get the porch swing out of the way, then go say something Meaningful afterward.

I’ve been wanting a porch swing for years. Coveting a porch swing. But I thought I’d never get one. I couldn’t justify the cost of buying new. But I had very specific requirements — all having to do with the NorthWET climate. Even here, most swings sold in the stores have more in common with parisols than umbrellas.

With the need for a swing to sit outside over the winter and dry itself out pronto after a summer sprinkle, I figured, “Too specific. Even my garage sale-fu must fail at this.” For years, it did.

Then in December, far from garage-sale season, I found that contractor’s moving sale I’ve mentioned before. The sale from which I bought all those moldings and half a bucket of mud. Also an enormous DeWalt drill bit set for $1.00 which, even though only 3/4 complete probably has 50 items.

But the main thing I found was that porch swing. A client had given it to him in bad condition. He sanded it down and put rust-resistant paint on it. In one of my favorite colors. Then he made a permanent wooden seat plus spent $90 on decent cushions for summer.

It was in the category of “more than I set out to spend this morning.” And I was so unprepared for it. But you do not turn away from garage sale-fu.

For $75, delivered, it was mine. I had to stuff a $30 deposit into their hands and promise the rest upon arrival.

Only thing is, the guy never bought or created a canopy. There’s a canopy frame, sanded and painted, but he and his wife were using it as a laundry line. So eventually I have to figure out something.


Annnnywhooo …

This weekend has been sunny. Nippy. But both sunny and dry. I saw daffodils yesterday. In bloom. There is distant hope of spring.

I took Ava out and introduced her to the swing, which was dry for the first time since I got it.

She jumped right up on it and didn’t seem startled by the sway. So I had her sit and I slowly started rocking.

She was dubious at first, but I petted her and told her I’d stop or let her jump off any time. She understood my meaning. I could see her relaxing into the motion.

Then … even a little bliss. Sun shining down. Mom paying attention. Back and forth, back and forth. The bliss would last a few seconds, then the direction or pace of swing would change and she was out of the zone, physically wobbling, and uneasy again.

The problem was that she insisted on sitting sideways, facing me. No amount of persuasion would convince her to sit face-forward to align herself with the motion of the swing. Had she done so, I expect she’d have been a happy, happy girl. As is, she was off-balance and not doing as well as she could have. Her mini-meditations were jolted abruptly away.

Later, I tried to get her to pose in the swing for that picture. But without me, she wasn’t havin’ it.


Now I guess I’m expected to say something long about here. something Deep. Maybe an observation on “getting sideways with life and how to get straight with it again.” That seems to fit. I might say it yet, though you guys hardly need it.

Maybe I should also say something about stopping to smell the roses. Yeah, that would be original.

Possibly I should apologize for filling your blog time with insubstantial dribblings.

I should probably end with, “Next time: Tacticool Tactics for Operating Operationally in Your Squad of Operators.” Or “Next time: 10 EZ Ways to Cook the Weevils You Find In Your Inadequately Stored Mac & Cheese After the Apocalypse.” How ’bout “Next time: Dazzlingly Written Rage Over Something in the World That I’m Not Going to Do a Single Thing About”?

Um … nope.

Sometimes things speak for themselves. Like sharing spots of sunshine with a well-loved friend on a well-built, fu-powered porch swing on a winter’s day. They speak up and say, “Remember why life’s worth living.”


  1. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty February 12, 2018 2:47 am

    I’m here. 🙂 Not much to say. I had one of those porch swing deals long ago. My two boys loved it especially, and we had a lot of fun on that porch. Fond memories.

  2. Ron Johnson
    Ron Johnson February 12, 2018 4:14 am

    Still reading. Not much time to comment. What happens with the FedGov is important, but so are porch swings. The one I gave my wife hasn’t gotten much use. Maybe the wooded nook was the wrong place for it. I think I need to drag it up to where the bird feeders are so we can watch the finches, sparrows, and Downeys. The wife doesn’t like to be hot, or cold, or bitten by bugs, so outdoor swings in the Northwoods are problematic.

  3. Shel
    Shel February 12, 2018 5:16 am

    Ava clearly is focused on you and not on the swing. I believe she has her priorities straight. There may well be some survival instinct kicking in. If she has to move quickly, she sure can’t do it on a swing.

    I don’t know much of anything about house construction or decoration, so I don’t have much to offer in the way of comments. I did think, though, that Ava’s presence made the bedroom picture complete. And the house transformation is remarkable at the least.

    And I intermittently get burned out on the heavy stuff.

  4. Pat
    Pat February 12, 2018 5:39 am

    “And I intermittently get burned out on the heavy stuff.”

    Same here, and increasingly so. Plus, I’ve been hermit-ically inclined lately. I do check in fairly frequently, just don’t take time to respond while busy with other things.

    I like that porch swing. It might be a tarp could be designed to work temporarily.

  5. Joel
    Joel February 12, 2018 6:12 am

    🙂 Amen. While Battling Against The Man and Raging, Raging Against Leviathan, don’t forget to take a moment from time to time to remember why life is important. If a porch swing is your thing, work toward acquiring a good one.

    Remember the wisdom of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers: “While you’re out there smashing the state, don’t forget to keep a smile on your lips and a song in your heart!”

  6. Thomas L. Knapp
    Thomas L. Knapp February 12, 2018 7:20 am

    “Are you still here?”

    You betcha. Your remodeling/rebuilding and garage sale adventures are my favorites. You write libertarian stuff real good, but I can’t swing a cat around the Internet without hitting more libertarian stuff than I’ll ever find time to read. The other stuff is what gets me to MAKE time to read your blog.

  7. fred
    fred February 12, 2018 7:55 am

    Hey,we need variety.While i like to be informed of worldly things,i also like to just be little ole me.
    We have that swing,the wood slats idea is very good.Our dogs also arent excited to sit on it,but love being right next to us as we swing.
    Your musings about content,it all works,you are spot on. 🙂

    Our responses doesnt mean lack of interest,some things,as others note,I just dont have the knowledge to really reply to it intelligently,and to do so looks like stupid rambling when i try,so i dont.

  8. Mike
    Mike February 12, 2018 8:09 am

    Originally I followed your blog after getting hooked on Hardyville, now I like it for the mixture of rants and relaxed comments. Oh the rants are fine but these days I tend to not get too worked up over things I can’t influence. These days I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t want to be Don Quixote anymore, tilting at windmills hurts me more than the windmills.

    I looked at the porch swing and my first though was oh perfect, I now have porch swing envy. Don’t worry too much about the awning, you can always pick up some canvas, waterproof it and make one later. For now just enjoy what you have.

  9. fred
    fred February 12, 2018 8:25 am

    Our local eagles hatched baby 1 yesterday,baby 2 is hatching today.Its cold,windy and rainy and they just sit on that nest.Watching them on the eggs in the snow,its not easy being Eagle parents.daddy just brought in what I think is a bird to feed them…they are constantly moving sticks around to improve nest.She is a beauty btw.Unsure if this is their first hatch or not.

  10. Bob
    Bob February 12, 2018 8:39 am

    Been reading you since my WebTV days in the mid-90’s I don’t always relate or identify with your messages, but they’re always thought-provoking, if not intertaining.

  11. ellendra
    ellendra February 12, 2018 9:45 am

    “Or “Next time: 10 EZ Ways to Cook the Weevils You Find In Your Inadequately Stored Mac & Cheese After the Apocalypse.” ”

    LOL! I actually did cook up some bug-infested stuff last fall. My chickens loved it.

  12. Zendo Deb
    Zendo Deb February 12, 2018 10:31 am

    What to do about an awning?–AND–Tips?keywords=awning

    I know it is a lost art, but that is mostly why you can get machines for cheap. I pays to get a machine that can take the larger “industrial” needles. (They are usually professional – though Sailrite, Rex, Reliable and a few other brands can take the larger needles) You need them for the larger awning threads.

  13. Claire
    Claire February 12, 2018 11:00 am

    Thanks, Zendo Deb. I will probably have to make my own awning — and it just happens I have a tough old Pfaff sewing machine from the mid ’50s.

    The contractor suggested that I simply bolt a sheet of 1/4-inch plywood to the canopy frame. Now that would be nice & water resistant — until a wind picked it up and it turned into a sail. So fabric and homemade it’ll be.

  14. Claire
    Claire February 12, 2018 1:52 pm

    And thank you all. I don’t know why I feel I should apologize for the “softer” content of the blog. When I read Joel’s blog (and several others) I always like the posts about daily life at least as much as anything else. I like writing those mundane posts, too. So … well, just thanks.

  15. ~Qjay
    ~Qjay February 12, 2018 3:26 pm

    One recommendation I have for your awning, at least if you want to enjoy it in rain, as well as shine, is make it foldable.
    Set it up to be “twice the size it needs to be” (but use real measurements), and like a bonnet or an airman’s cap, be able to wrap around you and prevent the worst of the weather from getting in when you want to “rock out” even if it’s raining.
    A nice warm jacket and some toe warmers with your lap puppy oughta do the trick.
    Just my thought, and what we wanted with ours, but no cover.

  16. Comrade X
    Comrade X February 13, 2018 10:32 am

    The first thing I see with this swing is something that appears to be made heavy duty to last. I also see a bunch of time to bend the pipe and put this together. A decent paint job too.

    A really great deal for what it cost IMHO!!!

  17. Claire
    Claire February 13, 2018 10:37 am

    Thanks, Comrade X. Yes. Heavy-duty. I forgot to mention that. This is no cheapie little swing that’s going to fall over or bend in the first wind. Very heavy and solid. And indeed a bargain at $75. You ought to see the cushions, too. Like new and designed to shed water.

  18. John
    John February 13, 2018 1:16 pm

    Life is many parts.

    “Possibly I should apologize for filling your blog time with insubstantial dribblings.”
    But, probably not.

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