Monday, March 26, 2012

A glimpse of a lovely family

Monday, when I was waiting nervously for Mya's new owners to arrive, I noticed the heavy, blue-enameled cast iron sink I'd bought through craigslist last fall for $15.  This was to become a garden sink, a place to wash my produce before bringing it into the house.  It would have no faucet or drain, it would just be a sink mounted on some bits of sturdy wood with a hose nearby, and possibly a pail underneath to catch the waste water so it could be used to water the nearby gardens.

If designed with counters, it could also be used as a potting bench and would be very useful on days when we processed roosters for the freezer.  I could even wash Biscuit, our rescued poodle mix, in it when he rolls delightedly in something foul....or something fowl.  Like guinea poo.

But there it sat, like so much trash, next to one of the stacks of firewood, waiting for me to figure out how to frame it in a way that would support its great weight while still being somewhat portable.  Then it hit me.  The man who bought Mya was retired from a job in construction.  He could tell me how to configure the boards to make it work.  I'd ask him.

Although he was very focused on showing his wife and two teenage granddaughters their new goat, he paused when I asked him about the sink.  His answer was more questions....what did I want to do with it, where would I put it, and what wood did I have to frame it with.  I showed him two pressure treated 2x4's and said I could also scrounge up a couple of 4x4x8 fence posts, and could certainly buy a few other things if needed....if they didn't cost too much.

He said something to the granddaughters and they both disappeared, heading back to the truck.  I looked questioningly at the wife, who said he was going to get his tools.  What???  Yes, he was going to put it together for me right then and there.  And he did.

In about 20 minutes.  It was amazing.
While I explained goat care to one of the granddaughters, the other helped grandpa.  He moved so quickly it was hard to take pictures!  They worked together like a well-practiced team, barely any audible instructions being passed between the elder and the youngster.  Grandma helped and watched with obvious pride.
He used the four pieces of wood I provided along with some screws from his truck, using all the wood.  There was only one small piece of fence post left over.  No waste.  Amazing.
Measure twice, cut once!
They built it upside down then flipped it over.  Note the look on grandma's face.  This was so great to be witness to....especially since I was so conflicted and heart broken about Mya leaving with strangers.  After watching this incredible.....and FAST....project being completed, I was 100% assured that Mya was going home to the best retirement possible and would be well cared for and loved.  That may sound can the building of a simply outdoor sink make me think Mya would be loved?  It is hard to describe in words.  The love these people had for each other and the cooperative spirit was so obvious that I felt drawn into it while they worked.  Mya was one fortunate goat.

This is what I ended up with when the entire thing was flipped over:
I just need to add boards for the counters, and my friend and colleague, Vicky, is having new stairs and porches built on her three story multi-family home....I'll get some composite scraps which will be perfect for this.

Ed (the genius behind my new garden sink) had asked to buy six hens from me as well as Mya.  He went home with a half dozen free hens, and I feel I got the better end of the deal.  He still does some jobs even though retired, and I hope he is still willing to come to our house when we are ready to have the windows replaced, gutters put back up, and repairs made to the barn and coop.

I can't wait to use this sink, and will think of this family and their love for each other each and every time I use it......Thank you!!!


  1. It is heartwarming to hear about great people like these. Thanks for sharing!

  2. That's just sooo cool!! I love stories about people working together.

    We found 2 sinks, both double bowls. One had a tall back splash and 1 deep bowl and I'd found it on Freecycle years ago. The other we found at a tag sale, along the road, marked free. It had 2 side boards on it:

    Here, the mosquitoes are so bad, working outside is not feasible. So I had DH build a washing area in the old toy shed with the sink with the deep bowl. So I do veggie washing, etc. there.

    The other sink went into the butchershop. It's a much cleaner, bug free area for processing all our meat.

    Both have temporary water, provided by a hose. The butchershop's hose is dedicated to it. Being inside meant we had to do rudimentary plumbing. In the butcher shop that didn't happen for a couple years. But it now has a drainpipe to outside and a hot water tank (not shown in picture).

    We used old countertops from our kitchen renos for the butchershop. I found a small piece of counter on Craigslist for the toy shed sink. But as they are made with particle board, they would not last outside.

    Maybe you could find a bit of Corian countertop, for the side boards? If you are going to be doing meat on them, being able to clean them well could be a good idea.

    That will be 1 useful bit of infrastructure!

  3. Love the sink. What a great job. Next time you need some wood for a project get some pallets. Lot's of places will give them to you for free. I read an article on Mother Earth News where a guy made his shed entirely from free pallets. He was even able to save most of the nails and reuse them. Also if you are having a hard time finding something for the counters, if you can't find free, try Home Depot. You would have to go in the back. People special order stuff then don't use it and bring it back. Home Depot marks the price down quite a bit to get rid of stuff. The people that bought my house put in granite counter tops this way. You get it for less than half the price.

  4. Thanks for all the great tips! I am always eying piles of pallets with envy. Can't fit them in my car, though!