The joys of flexibility

We built a row of four sheds to store wood, but what else could they be used for?

This morning I’m exulting in multiple uses for the same thing. A few years ago we decided to tidy an awkward wedge of space behind our house. The idea was to store wood for the bakery oven, so it would be conveniently accessible, and dry. The first incarnation of the roof was not felicitous; too much leaking through slatted boards. So we invested in rubberised mats of the sort useful for livestock flooring: no more leaks and nice dry logs.

Over time, the row of sheds became storage places for stuff, as the demand for the bakery oven dwindled. Now we’re proposing to make use of the shed space for a different purpose: a winter shelter for a few sheep and a friendly goat! I’m hoping to install floor boards salvaged from a steel chicken barn we’d put up to protect our little flock from avian flu, before the wind blew it down. And then the wedge-shaped sheds should accommodate the ovine and caprine dwellers nicely, and maybe there’ll be space too for some small hay bales or straw for bedding. Amazing, isn’t it, what sort of flexible arrangements we can make with what we’ve got to play with.

Our investment in heat mats has served a variety of uses

On another front, but just as flexible, we’ve been bedevilled with slow sourdough ferments, which simply have not been able to grow into cultures that will rise in the oven into bread. Thank you energy crisis and cost-of-living! Suddenly we remembered the heat mats tucked away in another shed, the one for all the gardening components.

We’d bought the heat mats to germinate seeds in trays of compost, and they worked a real treat. Then we needed floor heat to bring on our new chicks just emerged from the incubator. Another time we needed to keep our demi-johns of hedgerow wine bubbling away while we slept in our cosy bed overnight with the heating off. Perfect! And also, just now, perfect for the sourdough culture.

Without the capacity to think flexibly, we’d be so much the poorer, up here on the high fellside. Instead, we accommodate and make do in a variety of ways with very useful initial investments.

When I think of this sort of utility, this capacity to use a thing in multiple ways, I have to smile to myself. Who would have thought that so many possibilities are actually within our grasp, just for the thinking of them?

One response to “The joys of flexibility”

  1. Larry, Today’s Joy has set me on a path of free association. It’s not Joy it’s me. As author please forbear. Kudos on multiple use thinking with the electric mats. It’s free association that lead me to think of one more use – humans staying warm. That caused me to think of the effect of electric blankets on me. That effect is having nightmares. 100% of the time. Ergo should I ever visit you in Scotland please don’t ask me to sleep on an electric mat to stay warm. 🤣🤪


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