Leftovers, Lagniappe and La-Z-Boys

((Why did I named the article this, I don’t know. It was all I could come up with. Sorry.))

Although this article is NOT about leftovers at the dinner table, it could be. The title is based on the terms that I learned growing up. My family was from central Louisiana but I was raised in south Louisiana. This is similar to having your family from England and raising you in France. Most people do not understand the different cultures and their respective prejudices found in Louisiana. As a result of growing up (family) in one culture and living (and educated) in another I learned words from both.

For me, leftovers referred to anything that was left after all the uses for it were exhausted. Some people might call them scaps, trash, junk, throwaways when they refer to some item, usually other than food. Yes, there were meat scraps or food scraps but also scraps of wood or scraps metal. But all these terms were lumped together by the old cajuns that I knew when they referred to anything that was not valuable to them. Let me name a few examples of the leftovers I love to find.

1.) I look for piles of old woodto use to build outbuilding, cabins or even a house. Also, why people abandon perfectly good houses and let them

Your next house waiting to be built!

slowly deteriorate into nothingness is beyond me, but they do. Usually an inquiry or two into the wood will yield positive results. As I have mentioned in the past I have been paid to haul the wood off or to tear down a house. I have had people stop and offer to buy all the wood I could salvage from such houses. Sometimes I sell and sometimes I don’t depending on the plans I have for the wood.

2.) Fireplaces standing alone in a field or pasture. Once again, it usually only takes one or two quick inquiries with the neighbors. I have for almost 50 years salvaged bricks from fireplaces. I was paid 5 cents per brick when I was a kid and would load them onto my bicycle and haul them to town. You may laugh now but I could usually make $2.00 in silver coins per run on my bike and several runs a day. Now, stop and look how much it takes in Federal Reserve Notes to buy that same $2.00 in silver coin. That means as a kid I was making $60.00/trip in today’s money. Not bad for an eight or nine year old kid. The only difference now is I can get @ $1.00/brick or more if they are the heavy clay firebricks from inside the chimney. I can take down on chimney a day (I’ve gotten slower but more efficient in the intervening years) and haul all the bricks in my 1 ton pick-up truck. Each chimney running about 4-500 bricks and you can do the math.

3.) This leftover is for all you gardeners. Many times you will see line crews trimming trees for power line companies. I stop and talk to the crew foreman and offer to let them dump their trimmings on my property for free. I used the chips for mulch in my garden. This helps keep down weeds and when the soil is overly wet it allows us to work in the garden without making a mess in the mud.  Also, they will usually ask if it is okay to dump large tree trunks and of course I tell them YES. These tree trunks I cut and split and burn in my wood stove or heater. Then, if the trees are oak, hickory, pecan (which is common in this area) you can sell this wood for $150-200/cord. (Some people ask more, and get it, for theirs.) I just like to move it quickly.

4.) Metal items from old houses that you tear down are now a booming business. I salvage old cast iron sinks from the kitchen and bathrooms and also the claw foot tubs. (Look at the bottom of the tub and it will tell you the date it was cast.) If you clean these tubs up and refinish them if you need to, you can get $500-1,200/each. It is easy to get $75-100/each for cast iron 2-basin kitchen sinks. Don’t throw out those porcelin light fixtures or switches because they can be very valuable.

These are just a few ideas you can use to build your refuge and make a little money in the process. I want to repeat what I have said in other articles. I have used this strategy to stay off the radar economically, and build 5 of my own houses.

Lagniappe on the other hand, is a small gift or freebie, kind of like buying a dozen donuts and getting the 13th one free or getting the donut holes for free. It can be anything that is freely given, even a piece of information in the form of a TIP.

Tip # 1.) In planning your bug-out-bag (B.O.B.) it is often difficult to find enough room to pack things. Try to find items that have multiple uses. Case in point: Oatmeal. Sounds crazy, huh? Not really. Your BOB should support you for 72 hours and that includes food and water. But if you combine the two it saves on room and saves on weight. Add one cup of oatmeal per gallon of drinking water and let it set overnight if you can. Sometimes it isn’t possible but it still works and if you are carrying the mixture in your pack it will get thoroughly mixed. Oatmeal forms a colloid with water. This makes it more readily usable by the body. While drinking the water also swallow some of the oatmeal. This will keep you from getting overly hungry, especially on hot, long walks or hikes. It has a cooling effect as well. Never throw the oatmeal out. Place in in a pot or pan and cook it, added to soups or stews to thicken them and, believe it or not you can cook it with an MRE heater. USE ONLY WHOLE OATMEAL, not the microwave junk. There is God knows what added to the microwave stuff. Now, you can grind the oatmeal, store it in a Zip-Lock bag and keep it in the freezer until you nee it.  You can add this to your water like above, or sprinkle it dry into your boots or shoes to absorb sweat and moisture, use is as a body powder and even wash your head and face with it DRY. It works well to absorb oils from your skin that cause odors and skin problems. NOTE: If you have a hydration bladder this will not work in it. Carry a separate container like a 2-liter soda bottle and mix the oatmeal with the water that way. Speaking of hydration bladders…

Tip # 2.) This is a simple trick to make an emergency hydration system. A.) Use a 2 or 3 liter soda bottle and drill or poke a hole in the lid and run a clear plastic tube to within 1/2″ of the bottom. Seal around the tube in the cap with clear silicone and let it dry. Measure the distance needed to reach from your pack, while on your back, to your mouth. Cut the plastic tubing at desired length. B.) Remove the plastic bladder from a 5-liter box of your favorite wine. If it is not your favorite at least it is cheap. Now there are two ways of doing this. First, similar to above, run the plastic tubing to within 1/2″ of the bottom when filled with water then seal around the tubing with clear silicone, or, Second, simply insert the tubing into the opening with the petcock closed. Seal around the tubing and let dry. To fill, open the petcock and using a small funnel that I bought at the dollar store to inflate the empty bladder with water. (Squeeze all the air out first.) The first way you insert the bladder into your pack with the petcock toward the top of the pack. On the second way, you insert into your pack petcock down. Also, I found an old pair of jeans, cut the leg off and made a covering for the bladder just to increase its life. Theoretically it only has to last for 72 hours but in practice I have one that has lasted for 4 years. Also, I find the First method better than the second as far as holding up under rough use. But this is a temporary fix not permanent.

Tip # 3.) If you have small children that you want to train to hike and travel quickly in an emergency start using emergency foods around your house on a regular basis. That way, when you have to bug out you won’t have to fight with kids to eat something new since it will already be a part of their diet.

Tip # 4.) Purchase a small trifold backpacking shovel. (One from Harbor Freight will work.) On the face of the shovel will be four edges, two on top and one on each side. Sharpen all four sides. The top two can be used for trenching or digging and the side two can be used in a manner similar to a hatchet to cut and split. My wife, Von, carries her favorite tool which is the old German entrenching tool which has a nice hardwood handle. The handle doesn’t fold and she doesn’t care. Somehow, the one I carried in Southeast Asia turned up in Southeast Texas and so I use it. I have replaced the handle 4 times but the shovel itself is still going strong.

Now for the La-Z-Boy part. This is probably your favorite part, right? What i should say is La-Z-boys need not apply. I guess you are asking what does this have to do with survival, world events or World War III? My answers is hardly anything. I honestly do not feel that I have to convince anyone who comes to Codgerville that there is something dreadfully wrong with what is happening in the world today. Remember 4/24? We could be 4 months or 24 months away from the whole system crashing at our feet. There are so many really talented men and women on the airwaves and internet, who are sounding the alarm about what is happening. Hopefully, you are listening.

And, to tell you the truth, there are probably much better websites to go to in order to get hardcore survival facts and tips. I have been asked numerous times to write a survival handbook and I even sat down to the computer, once, with that as my goal. I even had a working title, “Surviving the Obamanation of Desolation” but it seemed a bit corny. I had one person who wanted to finance the whole project and my publisher was agreeable but it was like trying on shoes. If they don’t feel right, don’t buy them. So I dropped it. But there are some really good survival books on the market and you can use them to build up your survival library.

In my article MENAGERIE I asked you to give me some feedback and many of you did. I want to thank all of you that participated in that. But the feedback has helped me understand what it is I want to do here at Codgerville. I don’t want you to make survival plans for Coronal Mass Ejections, Electro Magnetic Pulses, World War III, Civil War II, political collapse, societal collapse, economic collapse or martial law. I want you to change your lifestyle so that no matter what happens, any of the above or all of the above, you and your family will be sufficiently prepared mentally, physically, emotionally and economically so that you will be able to survive, come what may.

See, if you buy gold and silver, some guns and ammunition and even some storable food but continue to be dependent on the self destructive lifestyle that is promulgated day and night on every type of media there is, you haven’t accomplished much. The next time someone thinks up another emergency for you to be afraid of, you will then have to take their recommended steps to survive their new emergency. But if you live a DYNAMIC lifestyle you will empower yourself to handle any emergency because you will have taken on a mantle of self-confidence, self-sufficiency and self-determination that will enable you to survive regardless of the latest hype, fear mongering and TV induced insanity.

What is a DYNAMIC lifestyle? When Alfred Nobel invented dynamite he searched for a word that would encapsulate the many uses of his invention. He chose dynamite, based in two root words dunamis and dunasthai. Dunamis means “POWER” and dunasthai means “TO BE ABLE”. Now, are you beginning to see why I call it a DYNAMIC lifestyle? All of a sudden you become ENABLED, a POWERFUL person. You have the power of self determination in your life. Does this sound scary or appealing?

Actually, it can be both. For people who have been blown to and fro by the winds of modern economics it is, probably, very scary. If you are a millionaire and you feel you can afford whatever you want, this lifestyle sounds pretty silly, I am sure. And, if you are poor this lifestyle probably sounds unreal or unreachable. But for the poor person, who has to scramble each and every day just to feed and clothe their family this lifestyle is more readily obtainable for you than it is for the millionaire.

The only tools you need to start with are your mind and hands. A fertile imagination helps because it will be the source of your inspiration to create or build.

Let me begin by telling of my experience moving back to Texas in 2004.

Numerous 6 panel and French doors waiting for the next construction project. Yours? Or a rental property?

Neither Von nor I had a J-O-B. We immediately found a house that we could “live-in” if we repaired the house. This we did. In the process I began asking if people needed help with farm work and received more work than I could handle. In my spare time I scrounged for wood and other building materials while we were looking for land.

Next, I went to the local taxing authority, the school board, and asked if they had any struck-off property. (Struck-off property is property than has gone through the entire tax sale process and no one purchased it.) We found 4 lots that filled the bill and made an offer. The offers were accepted but we did not build our house on any of these lots. First they were in town and we like the country. Granted our town is only 750 people and you could argue it is still the country but we don’t want people living on any side of us and that is hard to do in town. These lots were reserved for rent houses. This would help generate additional income and provide housing in an area that is still short of rental housing.

So, in my travels I looked for land that was not only not being lived on but appeared run down on the edge of town. I found a piece that fit my description, located the owner and asked if the land was for sale. No, but they might sell me a piece of the land in the back since they didn’t use it for anything. (This shocked me because the land didn’t looked like it had been used for anything in years.) I made an offer to purchse 2.5 acres if the owner would “tote the note”. We paid off the land in under two years and began construction of our new home.

I know what some of you are thinking. Okay, yeah, but that is not the American way. You have to have a 30 year mortgage. Your house is too small. Why do you need 2.5 acres instead of using a lot? Sure, it worked this time but that was a unique situation. It won’t work here.

If this was my first time I might agree with you. And, if it were my second time I would probably agree I was indeed lucky both times. Now, if it was just my third time I would begin to think that maybe I had found something that might work. But it was my sixth time. I cannot believe that after my sixth time doing something that it is just a fluke.

Yeah, but you have all kinds of experience in construction. I am a ________ and I can’t do that. Yes, you can. I have taught young people to

Alex after his AHA! moment.

reproduce the same results in their own lives. Some of these young people knew less about construction than my dog does when they started. I have let them help me when I build something so they can then see how to build their own. While we were putting the roof on our “new” house, which we hope to complete in the summer, my grandson asked, “Grandpa, I can build my own home now right?” Yes, Of course you can, why? “Because if you will teach me to buy the land I can build my own home and have a place to live on my own.”

Has he done it yet? No, he hasn’t. He graduates high school in June and then plans on moving back to Louisiana to go to college and build his home there.

One niece, who has helped me many times, has become so inspired she

This property is available and can be had at a bargain basement price. A 500s.f. house that can be fixed up to live in while you build your new house setting on 1/2+ acre of country land. Price? About $2,500.00

is actively seeking land. When she gets the land we will do a “barn raising” and have her house built in under a week. At 27 she will have a home with a nice piece of land paid for without a 30 year note. Will it be a mansion? For her, yes! But in actuality it will be small and cozy about 600 square feet. She is also trying to buy city lots so she can build rental houses to generate additional income.

Young people are waking up and realizing they do not want to be slaves of the system and the best way to avoid that is to take your destiny into your own hands. You can build wealth with your own two hands. You can network and your friends, associates and family can each help each other build your own homes and all of you get out from under your mortgage. Remember, the word mortgage is two old French words that literally mean Death + Pledge. Doesn’t sound like an inviting prospect because now you can die while trying to pay a mortgage and never truly own your own home. Yuk!

You and your spouse live in a home 2000 to 2,500 s.f. You have one or two kids. Both of you will work for a combination of 60 years to pay for that

My electric meter. Actually, my third electric meter on this site. It appears that I do not use enough electricity and the electric company just knows it is because of a defective meter. Hmmm?

home. Why can’t you start small, the way people used to, own your home and if you need a larger home because of more kids, build another and rent the one you are in? Now, here is my next question to you: how much money will you need to make if you do not have a mortgage? If you don’t have an electricity bill? No water, sewer or garbage bill? If mama stays home with the kids you no longer have a daycare bill, a huge gasoline bill, lower insurance costs both homeowner’s and automobile. Do you see where I am going with this?

Codger, you just say all this because you have a unique lifestyle. NO, I say all this because I was a government paid consultant with a very comfortable six figure income that didn’t buy me anything, including happiness. Now, I am in the high 4 figure income bracket and very, very happy.  We have to rethink the American dream (paradigm). Do you want to work yourself to death for a banker or do you want satisfaction, contentment, pride in ownership or pride in accomplishment? The decision is yours.

My nephew Brandon helping to secure the piers and beams of our latest house. Take note of the 10" tall stack of wood in the upper left hand area.

You can do this if you are 16 or 60. It is possible for you to take control of you life and fate but you cannot do it with a banker telling you what to do each and every day of your life. I know the word PARADIGm gets used a lot these days but I want to introduce you to the NEXT PARADIGM. A future where people tire of working for masters who wear three piece suits and make millions of dollars a year because they can bundle your mortgage. The next paradigm is where we all work to build a better future for ourselves, our friends, our children and our grandchildren and we do it by changing our perception of the American Dream.

Good luck and God bless you in 2012!

3 thoughts on “Leftovers, Lagniappe and La-Z-Boys

  1. Excellent post! I am working on my own version of this as we speak. In only one year, I am on phase 2 of my 4 step plan to get out from under ‘the system’. I expect it to take another year. I am on the poverty end of the financial world so indeed, ANYone can do this with a little creativity and a LOT of determination and spirit!

  2. bottom line: how do do you pay for major medical expenses?

    i’m not referring to GP docs or county hospitals…this is bypass, bone marrow, etc.
    also, this is about major money: $10,000 to start. how far away (in miles/minutes) is the
    nearest accredited trauma hospital when the helicopter can’t fly due to bad weather?
    how many qualified surgeons are On Staff to work on “what ails ya”? you see, we live
    in a town of ~33K. this has been a life-saver in terms of being really, really close to a
    big-time hospital complex (22 drive-time minutes. yes, i timed it. twice.) so, i’m jealous
    of you being able to live where you do. my family can’t. we require Superior medical
    care due to my aging in-laws and other considerations, and we pay for it as most
    people do…a combo of insurance/gov.assistance/out of pocket/etc…NO barter.

    • Hi John,
      Since I am a Vietnam veteran the government gives me health but no pension or disability. I receive a small stipend each month because of a BS medal I received while in the military. It buys beans and bacon and that is about all. I do not have social security, disability or any kind of pension since 1.) it is against my faith, 2.) I have a military ID number but do not have a social security number so I can never draw social security (it is against our faith to have a number to buy, sell or do business.) 3.) I have had two heart attacks in the nountains and never sought health care. It would have been impossible anyway. 4.) Believe it or not, many doctors will accept barter. My family physician often accepted meats, eggs, vegetables or fruits in lieu of cash. Unfortunately he passed away recently. There is another here in town that will do the same and even a dentist that is willing to accept barter. Most people never ask. (Also many attorneys will accept barter, believe it our not. I once wired a guest house and garage/shop and in return the attorney accepted my demands that he act as co-council in my lawsuit against the IRS. I won!) Barter goes a long way but most people never ask. The craziest piece of barter, and i have had some doozies, was whan I accurized some weapons for a police department in exchange for dropping a speeding ticket. This went well but the chief was so impressed he asked me to teach his officers to shoot better. The ticket was dropped and i received a letter of appreciation from the department.

      Is it for everyone, maybe not. But have they tried? Quien sabe?

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