“Why hire someone if we can do it ourselves?” My Grandparents asked my Mom and I. For years my Grandpa has been rebelling against the thought of hiring someone to chase away various animals or even to move their furniture to the loft (My Grandparents, both several years over seventy, decided to defy gravity by using ropes to lift the furniture themselves!)
Grandpa has been engaged in a creative war against the pests found near my Grandparent’s lake house for years. When Carpenter bees drilled holes in his car shed and their house, Grandpa created plugs out of wood scraps in his shop and dragged out his ladder to fill each one. Grandpa staged what he called a “bird roasting” when a Heron moved to the attic of their boat slip. The Heron dropped ginormous white presents all over their dock until Grandpa decided that he had had enough. Heron-one, Grandpa-zero. He hooked up several wires and configured them to make random annoying noises throughout the night. Grandpa-one, heron-one. Heron proceeded to ignore the noises through several nights and Grandpa observed that his other attempts had little affect. Grandpa went back to his shop and with my Grandma’s help (she is an excellent seamstress) he made a scarecrow from a few scraps and hung it in hopes that the wind would blow and it would scare the heron away. Grandpa-two, heron-two. The next day my Grandpa found the scarecrow on the deck covered with an extra large, white, sticky present from the Heron. Grandpa never saw the Heron again.
Grandpa said the most challenged project he ever attempted against nature was creating “caps” for several large bulbs that help guide the pathway from their house to the lake. The light globes had been gradually cracked from acorns falling on their skulls for years on end. Grandpa realized that the globes where rarely made now and were $69 a piece. He decided to try to patch them. Grandpa said he searched his shop for an appropriate patch and tried carpet, but could not find anything that was just right. He finally tried the old inner tube of one of his tires and discovered that it would stretch over the top. He then created a stand out of some old scraps of wood so that he could comfortably work on his globes. He painted it with stuff dry and put chorckin (?) stretched over with four wires so that there would be no wrinkles in the final product. Finally he painted his finished product white and sprayed a water repellant sealant over top. Every holiday when we gather as a family I look down at the globes and it is impossible to tell which ones have hats and which do not.
Grandpa loved to fish, but he also enjoyed the restful atmosphere. One day he decided to create a “fish catcher” so that he could take a nap while the fish where flung into a pile beside him. To my knowledge he is the only one I have ever known to invent such a contraption. This was also more efficient because he could have three fish rods in the water instead of just one. He demonstrated his technique with the fish catcher in our front yard. First he showed what it was like to cast the rod into the water by casting it into our little green bush. He showed me how he had spring loaded the rod and reel so a trigger would respond and catch the fish once the line was taunt and fling the fish into a pile beside him. I stood to near to the green bush- and it was a close call, but I thankfully escaped the fish’s fate.