Either Make Do or Do Without

Up here in Maine we have an old saying, “Up in Maine ya eitha make do or do without.  Ayuh.”  (Said with a thick Downeast accent.)

Most of you have probably heard that same saying in one form or another, but it illustrates a good point about being an “Independent Yankee.”  If you’re working on a lobster boat ten miles off shore near a small island and your motor dies you’d better have a way to fix it before your boat goes aground.  Yes, this happened to me while I lobstered with my brother-in-law for a summer.

The idea is to get creative with what you have to fill a need.  Did you break your axe handle?  No problem, grab a nice piece of hickory and carve one for yourself.  There’s usually a way to rig something up to get it working no matter what it is.

Mrs Jarhead has a nephew who likes to stop by occasionally.  This young guy doesn’t have a high school diploma and isn’t the best educated or the most well read guy around, but what I like about him is his attitude.  Despite a tough childhood he’s always upbeat.  He’s always got some kind of project cooking and it seems he has very little money to fund it with, but he’ll come up with some way to get it working.  He recently cobbled together a pickup truck that had been stuck in someone’s back field for years.  He pulled it out and somehow got it running.  Some of the mechanical stuff he did would likely make a safety officer blanche, but he got it going and was as proud as could be.

He’s a good guy who’s a self proclaimed Redneck, but when he says it there’s a note of pride there.

If/when TSHTF that’s the kind of attitude we’ll need.  Chances are good you won’t be able to stop by the local parts store, but if you’re trying to fix a pickup truck or an old tractor you just might be able to use some parts from the old jalopy parked out back with a few “modifications.”

How do you get started with something like this if you don’t have any experience?  Don’t be afraid to look under the hood of your vehicle.  Start by changing your own oil and filter then move on to air filters and other types of basic maintenance.  Change your own tire.  Ask someone who can fix something to show you how.  You’d be surprised at how often people are willing to teach you something new.

This doesn’t just apply to mechanical things either.  Try your hand at basic plumbing, or carpentry, or wood cutting, or whatever might help you gain a little independence from your fellow man.  You may not be the best at it and your work may not be the prettiest, but if it gets the job done then you’ve gained skill and saved money.  Not a bad trade off at all.  Be aware that there may be zoning requirements in your area and you might want to check into those when you start your project.

Whether it be Yankee Ingenuity or Redneck Repairs learning to do some of those repairs yourself can’t hurt.

Do you do your own repairs?

-Jarhead Survivor