Thursday, February 12, 2015

Treasure in the oddest places

Bricks. We has them.
I wrote last August about paying attention to the resource opportunities around you:
As I drive the back roads, I see natural gas wells bobbing up and down among the cattle.  I see limestone quarries beside the highways. The cobblestone back streets tell me that many nearby cities once hosted clay brick-making operations. So that potential at least still exists. Perhaps your area has gravel, sand, sandstone, oil, timber, granite, iron.  Whatever it was it can possibly be again, so pay attention to it.
I am utterly guilty of ignoring my own advice. It's not that I don't know where the resources are in my county.  I actually didn't know where the resources were on my own property.

Literally 100 yards from the kitchen where I'm typing stands - mostly - my wood barn.  It's not a barn made of wood but rather a squat, square brick building that until the day before yesterday protected my woodpile. After serving the better part of a century as a shop, chicken house, and who knows what else, its roof has partially fallen in and recently its walls have started to bow to the point that I'm less concerned about it being airtight than I am about it remaining upright.  So I asked a neighbor of mine who is presently looking for work to knock it down and haul it away.*

I assumed that it was made of the same crappy blocks that I have in abundance here: light, thin, and with more hole than brick. They are crap, and I have piles of them lying about. The building is similarly a piece of crap. Why would it not be made of them?

However, when the first wall came down I discovered that it was actually built of recycled, 19th century street brick.  In fact, it's built of two layers of such brick, each piece properly inscribed as quality bricks are, plastered together with a cheap-ass cement that chips off cleanly when you whack it and sometimes when you don't.

One can find these particular decorative bricks for sale in town for about a buck apiece.  I now have literally thousands of them** and will spend a significant number of hours this spring and summer recovering capital that can be applied to a building project or three to be named later***.

The point here is not that I'm luckier than I am clueless, but that opportunities to accumulate capital are everywhere. And they will still be there, no matter what happens, for those who can see potential in the bowed walls of an old, neglected chicken barn when everyone else sees only decay and collapse.

* cash, like fences, makes good neighbors.
** the 'haul it away' part of the job has been cancelled.
*** I've always wanted a coal-fired bread oven.


  1. "You wanna think something, why don't you think the roof back up on that barn"...

    Cap'n Woodrow F Call, Texas Ranger

  2. I hate to be a naysayers, but I was with L.D., and the good Cap'n.

    Then again, I understand choices and variables not at my disposal. Still, with you starting it and giving it as is, and L.D. tossing in, might as well place my bet and take my chances. :p

  3. I hate to be a naysayer...

    Ha! Lies.