I have to do these things when Spouse is not around. It reminds him too much of his father, a good-natured man who has no problem poking, prodding, and asking questions of complete strangers. Can't have that, quelle embarrassment! If we're together, I'll warn him ahead of time, "go elsewhere for a minute, as I'm about to do something embarrassing, okay?" and he'll go.

So: there's a commercial building under construction on the commute to/from work, about 15 minutes from the house. Just looking at the amount of wood in the scrap piles while driving past made my mouth water. Finally had the time to stop by yesterday and do That Embarrassing Thing I Do. "Is it okay if I take some of this scrap lumber?" "Ask the general manager."... "Hi, I'm in the process of building a chicken coop and just can't see buying new wood for it. Would it be okay to salvage some of your scrap?" "Sure, help yourself! Another guy came buy earlier in the week, salvaging as well." Booyah! Score!

I was able to get large pieces of outdoor-quality sheet plywood, short and long pressure-treated posts, the usual 2x4's, some large trim pieces, some really nice solid wood 2x12 pieces (should make terrific guestroom & outdoor side tables), and bestest of all: two small roof trusses, just the right size for the coop. There was plenty more I could have picked up, but something inside said "eh, don't be greedy, leave some for others." I packed everything into the trusty Subaru, and made my way home.

[Still need to obtain for the new & improved coop: second hand windows & door, more hardware cloth, and an actual plan.]

This was only my second time salvaging scrap lumber, but it's clear that an in-car toolkit should be put together to help in case I run into such bounty again. I already have bungee cords, netting and rope. Thinking I'll need to add gloves, claw hammer, pry/wonder bar, staplegun (so I can staple a red flag over the longest piece of salvage sticking out the back), fix-a-flat in case I run over a nail... anything else? Being this embarrassing could become a successful side career!

[p.s. Spouse isn't mortally embarrassed by his dad or me, but the forthrightness with strangers does make him a little squeamish. On the other hand, he sure did admire the haul, and wondered why I didn't get more lumber while it was available.]


  1. Having just been to a class where we built an over-the-top chicken coop and learnt how to do trusses, etc, I'm sure I could help you put something together. Though I do have to say, your current coop is pretty nice.

  2. oh, God, another one. You and my husband should compare notes. He has no shame when it comes to scrounging. He could talk the Pope out of his funny hat, if necessary. Looks like you got some good stuff, there, kiddo. Rock on.

  3. Oh heck yeah! I would make sure I go by there all the time!

    You may even find an anniversary gift for spouse...who knows!

  4. One man's trash is another man's treasure. It is incredible the way we waste in America.

    By gathering the usable scrap lumber, you made the world a little greener.

    The whole idea is on the Plus side for everyone. My motto is use anything that can possibly be reused, supply the recycling centers with as little as possible.

    Recycling ourselves, is just plain smart.

  5. Too cool! The chickens won't care if it's pretty. Although, I'm sure ya'll will make it beautiful for your girls, and they will love it!

  6. Jeez - spousal embarassment must be endemic, mine too. Good on ya for asking. One tip I've used for scrounging construction sites, since we have to insulate everything, is to ask for the "roll-ends" of tyvek housewrap. They usually aren't in the dumpster cause after the clients pay so much for tyvek, they get cranky if they see the rollend in the trash, but contractors using have rollends stashed somewhere, and usually with a fair bit of tyvek left over, enough to wrap a coop. say.

  7. lol... familiar situations are always extra funny... good thing I can laugh at myself!
    So, it helps to ask them to step away? I'll try to remember this next time I am about to be embarrassing!

  8. @Chance: nice advice WRT the Tyvek, will remember to ask next time. That'd be a fantastic score.

    @Natalie: advance warning seems to work well for us, couldn't hurt to try with your beloved!

    @Joy: thanks for the compliment, I'll be sure to pass it on to Spouse! Technically, it has enough room for all the chickens (approx 3sq ft for each), but the way the coop is configured makes for a squeeze.


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