Not having enough money in the budget can get a bit aggrieving to a farmer. Since all too often the cost of something is more than we can afford, the Country Boy has gotten into the habit of saving what I would call nothing but bits and pieces of junk. There are days when I see all these piles I think he needs to clean up and get rid of that I almost want to scream. And then I get my comeuppance.

As you have previously read, we recently got quite a few new chickens – 11 of which were meat birds. To begin with, we stored them in troughs. Meat birds grow very quickly, so it wasn’t long before they outgrew their first home, and had to be moved into something else. The only cage we had was really too small too, but we didn’t have much choice. Randy deliberated the situation for a bit, and then decided to make the new cage temporary – but didn’t really know what to do. And then Ayn came by, and offered to let us use an old chicken tractor she had. She eventually built more that were bigger and a bit sturdier, but this one was the first she made. It was a bit rickety, but Randy studied it and finally decided to head home and build one of our own.

The Country Boy amazes me. Within a few hours, he had designed the tractor, determined the necessary supplies and had gone through all of his stashes to see if he had what was needed. He then began to measure, cut, fit, nail, screw, adjust, stretch and staple. I did help some, but I was mostly Ms. Holden Fetchit, one of my most prominent roles on the farm. It took a couple of days – mainly due to several distractions and other obligations, but last night he finally finished. And I have to admit – it is very well done. The best part? It honestly did not cost us one red cent.

One of the very basic tenets of self-reliance is to do as much as possible with as little expenditure as possible. In general, most of us are too easily swayed by the convenience of a nearby store, and too disgusted at the thought of piles of ‘junk’ hanging around our home. But since moving to the farm, I’ve realized just how hard we have to work for what little money we earn, and I am quickly re-thinking those junk piles. In doing a bit of research, I found that purchasing a ready-made chicken tractor can cost anywhere from $230 to over $1,000+, not including shipping. The price does not include assembly in some, so there is some of your precious time involved, which if you are like us, is the same as money.

Is there something you’ve been wanting for a while, but just don’t have the money to get it? You may want to try ‘shopping’ around in a few boxes or junk piles around the house and see if you can’t just make it yourself. Or, do like the Country Boy has done in the past – he ‘shops’ in a neighbor’s junk pile, and then allows them to come ‘shop’ in his. It’s a win/win situation for both Randy, the neighbor and both of their checkbooks.

Have you ever pulled together a project for little to no money using the Junk Pile method? Let us know what you created! I’m always looking for new ideas. And who knows? I may have just the thing you need for your next project. And I’ll let you know what we’re lacking for our next one!