Disston, Craftsman, Stanley: In Defense of Old Tools

Hey, readers. Today I’m going to ramble sentimentally about saws for a bit before getting down to business–specifically, how to go about de-rusting and restoring the kind of old hand tool you can pick up at a garage sale or thrift shop for a couple quarters.

Feel free to scroll all the way down to “Resuscitating an Old Hand Tool” if you want the how-to.


Read more →

When Your Kid’s in the Hospital (Or, They Call it an Emergency Fund for a Reason)

“You’re looking at $500 for a co-pay. Cash or credit?” asked the ER orderly, a young woman with a pierced septum who didn’t look much older than the 11th and 12th graders I teach.

My stomach, already knotted up into a tangled mess, tightened. Two feet away, my five-month-old daughter was fighting to breathe as two nurses tried to stick an IV into her tiny, dehydrated body again and again and again without success. I felt sick, everything spinning with vertigo, the acrid smell of the ER clawing into my nostrils.

“Sorry! She’s got so much baby fat that it’s hard to find a good vein!” one of them joked.

I didn’t laugh.

I did, however, give the orderly my credit card, wondering how things had gotten so bad, so fast.

childandbeach Read more →

Thrifthounds Link Roundup #3

From the surprisingly interesting history of the currency tracking site Where’s George?… to CSU’s guide to rescuing storm-damaged trees…. to a dude writing 42 different companies for free stuff, here are some thrifty links we’re loving this week.

dog meetup
Read more →

A Cheapskate Hoop House for Colorado Gardening, Year-Round

Want to trick out that raised bed so you can grow stuff year-round? Even through a brutal Colorado Front Range winter?

You could airbrush some killer flames on it.

Or you could drop a few hundred dollars on a custom cloche that looks like a leftover prop from The Lord of the Rings.

Or you might have 25 bucks.

That was enough for me to put together a hoop house– a cozy little plant sauna–to extend the growing season by several months.

Read more →