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DIY Projects, Work Bees, & No Cavities! November 9, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Humor.

Donald-DuckaIn letters written during his retirement, my grandfather shared tales of “work bees” (think Quilting Bees, not Spelling Bees) as well as many DIY projects.

As any handy-man knows, some projects require a bit of figuring, hunting, muttering, and Yankee ingenuity:

* 1/14/62 ~ “Tomorrow I think I will start a piping job in the kitchen.  I have the pipe and fittings. It is just a case of being ambitious enough to start tearing things to pieces.

I went on a work bee Wednesday evening.  We had a lot of folding wood chairs given us.  We glued up and repaired 21 chairs.”

* 10/15/62 ~ “I have done some work on the kitchen since you were up.  I worked 2 weeks on it.  I understand it looks better.

We had a bee and put in the cement floor in the Legion House yesterday. Expect to have another work bee next week end. They want to get it fixed up before cold weather sets in for good. And deer hunting.

3D-Ape* 3/27/67 ~ “I just got a problem solved so I can relax long enough to write.  I installed a baseboard heater under the windows in the living room with a wall thermostat to install over the desk, away from the direct heat. I wired it up and turned it on. There was a flash and it threw the breaker in the box. So I began to figure, hunt, trace wiring, and mutter to myself.

I decided I had wired it all right and it might be the wrong thermostat, or defective. This morning I got a replacement.  This afternoon I hooked it up and we are in business.  It works OK.  I had stayed awake a night or two trying to figure what I could have done which was wrong.”

* 1/24/72 ~ “The stoker had a bad spell of shearing ash shaft pins. I worked two days finding the trouble to be lax adjustment of the chain which carries out ash.  I readjusted it and it is functioning properly again.  It took two days, in grease, to find it and about ½ hour to fix it.  My know-how was bad, at first, as Ernest English would say.”

Mickey-Ta-DaaaPerhaps my favorite excerpt in the DIY category was his pronouncement at the end of this plumbing project:

* 5/21/60 ~ “I have been busy.  I decided to change the location of the tub and lavatory to get the piping away from the wall.  I did all of it but two joints which Hi did to show me how.  I turned on the water and “No Cavities!”  It did not leak.” 

Aah . . . that’s better! 


1. Rainee - November 9, 2014

He DID have quite a unique way of expressing things :-). It is great that he wrote these things down for future generations.

nrhatch - November 9, 2014

It’s fun to see his view of the world.

2. NancyTex - November 9, 2014

I should have organized a work bee when I was renovating the two bathrooms this summer. 🙂
“Many hands make light work.”

nrhatch - November 9, 2014

Sometimes. Other times: “too many cooks spoil the broth.” Or, in your case, “too many sledgehammers spoil the bath.” 😕

3. Pix Under the Oaks - November 9, 2014

I admire your Grandfather.. he is my hero. Any husband that can change the location of a tub and sink wins a special place in my heart! No Cavities! Ha! Would have loved to have met him.. 🙂

nrhatch - November 9, 2014

“No Cavities!” has been my favorite sound bite so far! He shared information on lots of other painting and DIY projects, but that phrase got a giggle.

4. Don - November 9, 2014

What can I say Nancy. They’re brilliant – all of them, but the last two win the prize for me, the second last taking a double prize. 🙂

nrhatch - November 9, 2014

Glad you got a kick out of them, Don.

I doubt he considered that anyone would be reading about his “No Cavities!” plumbing project half a century later.

5. Silver in the Barn - November 9, 2014

That’s just what makes these special, Nancy, hearing the everyday ruminations of a thoughtful and amusing man just reporting on life. A time capsule, really.

nrhatch - November 9, 2014

Thanks, Barbara. Excellent analogy ~> letters are like tiny time capsules (just like our thoughtful and amusing blog posts) filled with a myriad of minutia.

6. Jill Weatherholt - November 9, 2014

I love how he expresses himself, Nancy! He was indeed a busy bee. I love the “No Cavities” line…priceless! Thanks for sharing.

nrhatch - November 9, 2014

He was a busy bee ~ cutting timber for firewood or to sell, painting, work bees, adding insulation, planting trees, chasing deer around his hill during hunting season, gardening, picking the fruits of his labor for canning, reading, following politics (and the stock market), photography, fishing, etc.

And, of course, letter writing!

7. thecontentedcrafter - November 9, 2014

Wasn’t he a great man – capable, self effacing and funny!

nrhatch - November 9, 2014

Thanks, Pauline. I think so too! :mrgreen:

8. diannegray - November 9, 2014

They just don’t make them like they used to, Nancy. What a wonderful man he must have been 😀

nrhatch - November 10, 2014

He kept his wits about him . . . his sense of humor too. I adored our visits to Vermont to spend time with him.

9. Yolanda M. - November 10, 2014

what can I say that hasn’t been said before? what a wondeful man! great sense of humour, charming, tenacious AND a handyman! 10/15 and 5/21 cracked me up 😀

nrhatch - November 10, 2014

I keep thinking I need to wind up this series, but then I find another angle or aspect to share. “So on it goes.”

I agree with your picks ~ 10/15 has understated elegance. Instead of going on and on about how Margaret patted him on the back or loved the changes, a mere 5 words: “I understand it looks better.” :mrgreen:

10. jannatwrites - November 10, 2014

He seems like such a busy guy – I hope he found some time to relax!

nrhatch - November 10, 2014

He did a fair amount of reading ~ mostly non-fiction (biographies, business, politics, government, etc.). Another way he relaxed was to calculate his “capital gains.” He had a SMALL portfolio of stocks and he enjoyed adding too it and calculating whether he was UP or DOWN.

11. Three Well Beings - November 13, 2014

I have never heard the term “work bees” but what a great way to tackle a project or elicit help for one! There wasn’t a lot he couldn’t do, it seems to me. He was quite a handy man, too. I continue to be so impressed by both his personal versatility and his writing ability!

nrhatch - November 13, 2014

I love the idea of “work bees.”

I expect he writes well because he didn’t study under a pretentious English professor prone to reminding pupils that their prose is sadly lacking. 😛

12. Sun Temples and Druids | Spirit Lights The Way - June 17, 2015

[…] Observations on Dry Politics * Flying Squirrels & Other Silly Bits * Quaint Colloquialisms * DIY Projects, Work Bees, & No Cavities! * Until The Worm Turns * A Real Straight […]

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