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A day in the life of Mr. Frugal – Short Story - Chapter 1

A day in the life of Mr. Frugal – Short Story

Rodney awoke to the sound of the wind up clock. Its alarm was buzzing while sitting on the steel filing cabinet beside the bed and displayed the current time of 5:30AM. The sun was not even up yet and a small 3 watt LED light burned from the light fixture in the hallway. He rolled out of bed clicking the button on the clock to silence the alarm. He picked up the clock and began to wind it up.

Rodney preferred the little wind up clock. It took only a few seconds to wind it up, it lasted the whole day and it required no electricity. He sat the clock back on the filing cabinet he used for a night stand that sat beside the bed. Rodney then picked up the windup flashlight and wound it for about 45 seconds. After that Rodney turned the one LED light on and looked around his bedroom.

He slipped on his work out shorts and headed for the “living room”. The Sheepherder wood/cook stove was cold now. The fire had died out during the night. Rodney cleaned the ashes from the stove and put them into the 5 gallon bucket. The ashes would be added to the compost bin.

Rodney reached into the utility cabinet and took out a pinch of dryer lint for tinder and a piece of fat lighter for kindling. He then started a fire with discarded lighter he had found. It was out of gas but it would continue to spark as long as the flint held out. The collection of pecan limbs that he had picked up yesterday from the back yard fueled the fire. The stove would allow him to cook his food and would provide heat for the small home.

It was getting a little colder but the physical training this morning would warm him up as the fire sprung to life again. He climbed on the stationary bike, flipped the switch to allow the capacitor to charge and began to pump. Within a few seconds the alternator connected to the bicycle had began to spin and charge the capacitor. The bicycle had no other resistance on it than the very small amount that the normal course of fiction gave. His legs easily pumped the needed speed through the bike. After a few more seconds the capacitor was charged and he turned on the small laptop computer.

Another minute rolled around while the computer booted up. Then Rodney launched his connection to his cell phone and started browsing on the web on his computer using the cellular wireless connection. It was his one luxury that he afforded. The laptop was running smoothly as Rodney checked his emails and looked at several free news web sites. After about 20 minutes he needed a break. He shutdown the laptop and slowed the pedals to a stop.

He walked to his kitchen to the refrigerator and filled a small glass of water squeezing a bit of lemon juice into the glass for a little flavor. He drunk the half of a glass down and walked back to the other end of the small home. He added a few more bits of wood to the fire in the stove and as the fire started to grow he quickly walked to the bedroom. Rodney put on his clothes from the day before so he could do his morning chores without messing up new clothes. He came back to the kitchen and stoked the fire. Rodney slipped on his boots and went outside carrying the bucket of ashes from the stove to get his morning chores out of the way.

It was November 19th and there was a fall chill in the air as the sun came up over the trees to the East. He breathed in the rural clean air and look around his farm. It was a small farm in comparison to others, but his 32 acres were already paid off and every spare dime he had went to better it in every way he could.

He first went to the utility shed located next to the barn. There was the custom Listeroid generator that powered the farm. Rodney set the handle, rotated it around till he got up some speed, flipped the switch and the engine sputtered to life. Within a few moments 13.5 killowatts of power was available to the farm while the engine lightly sipped at the fuel supply. Rodeny saw the couple of outside lights come on. He knew that the refrigerator and freezer would begin cooling back down over the next hour while he ran the genset. He looked forward to having a solar array at the farm so he would not have to waste the fuel. In this way the farm woke up each day.

Rodney visited his barn and started milking the three Guernsey cows. It had gotten a little cold and wet last night and Rodney had brought the three cows into the barn. After the milking the cows, they were released into the field. This weekend, the third and final cow would be joined with a bull from the farm down the road. The studding service cost some labor, but it would be worth it. He was hoping to barter one of the calves for a solar panel he had been eying in an alternative energy catalogue. The next would be bartered for two unrelated calves. The last would make its permanent home would be Rodney’s freezer. It would be good to have steak on the menu again.

He took the milk inside the screened in back porch. It was cool enough to be fine there till he delivered it later to the dairy far down the road. After he checked the fire, Rodney added another small bit of wood to the fire then back outside. He wanted to check the level of the rain barrels after last nights rain.

The two sets of four fifty gallon rain barrels were connected to the gutters of the house and the barn. As the first filled up it started passing the water to the next barrel and so on till the water spilled out the overflow drain on the last barrel. Over night all 8 of the rain barrels were now filled. It had not rained in two weeks and these rain barrels had provided the water to water the garden with without wasting the water from the well. Rodney had bartered for the last of the barrels with the local farmer’s co-op with two fat lighter stumps from the wooded area on his land. Maybe when things got more profitable he would try to build or buy an underground cistern to house several thousands of gallons worth.

Rodney picked up the 10 cubic foot contractor’s wheelbarrow (that was given to Rodney as payment for three days work from a contractor in town) and a flat nosed poly handled shovel from the barn. He scooped up the cow droppings from the barn floor. Rodney then headed to the compost bin and dumped the wheelbarrow’s contents into the pile.

After cleaning his hands and tools with water from the water hose near the barn. He filled up a water bucket to water the rabbits and chickens. He also brought a scoop full of ground up corn that he had prepared over the summer. It was coarsely ground up with a grain meal and then stored in 5 gallon buckets. The corn was placed into the chicken coop and the 6 chickens returned the favor with three eggs for the morning.

Rodney then walked through the garden and picked a carrot, radish and onion he thought he might add to breakfast that morning. The rabbit pin was located near the barn to block most of the colder air and directly over a worm bin where Rodney had been raising the worms to sell. He brought the worms once a week to the convenience store down the road where they sold them for Rodney. He snapped off the green parts of the gifts from the garden and dropped the green tops, along with a small scoop of rabbit feed, into the rabbit pin.

Rodney walked back inside cold from the brisk morning. He went to the kitchen that had warmed up finally. He then put some water into a small stainless steel boiler and then some homemade grits were placed into the water. A pinch of salt and pepper were added as well. Rodney washed the garden vegetables off and chomped on the young radish, carrot and onion while he waited for the water to boil.

He sat in his used Lazy-boy recliner looking over the list of stuff to do while in town. The list was written on a handmade notepad made from the back of sheets of junk mail stapled together. The recliner was found on trash day in sitting on the side of the road in the neighborhood 4 miles from his land. Rodney used his 1981 Chevy LUV diesel pickup to retrieve it and after a bit of cleanup and a handmade replacement handle was made it was good as could be.

Rodney finished off the breakfast and then cleaned all of the dishes immediately. After grabbing some clean clothes and a towel, he then headed to the shower. First he used the toilet and then reached into the shower to retrieve the five gallon bucket full of used bath water. He poured the majority of the bucket into the toilet which caused it to flush without using any of the water in the tank.

The bucket was placed back into the shower and then the water was turned on with the handle turned to hot. As he waited the minute that it took to bring the hot water through the pipes, the water was flowing out of the bottom spout and was being caught by the bucket. While he took his shower, Rodney placed one foot into the bucket. Water would run across his skin and (then due to the surface tension of the water) would stick to his skin as it ran down and wind up caught in the bucket. In the 5 minutes he took for his shower, the bucket had almost refilled.

He dressed quickly. He had several errands to run and “jobs” to do today. Rodney packed a small lunch and placed it into his backpack. He loaded the truck with the items that he would need for the day and then turned off the generator. Within another minute he was locking the front gate after him and heading to his first stop at the convenience store down the road.

It was called simply Sam’s Store or “Sam’s” by most folk. Sam Covington was the owner and he and his family ran the store throughout the year. Rodney parked the Chevy Luv next to the store and took a medium sized box into the store.

“Rodney!!” yelled Sam from the back of the store.

“Hey Sam,” Rodney said as he waved back. While Sam was thirty years Rodney senior, he hated being called Mister Covington. He was simply Sam and anything else always furrowed his brow. “I stopped by for some fuel. If that is ok?”

“Any time son. Let’s look at the books and see how much I owe you.” Sam walked to the front of the store to the counter and reached for a simple ledger. “Let’s see. We have sold a few of the little wooden figurines and the little wooden rubber band guns. Sorry the worms aren’t selling good right now. When are you gonna get me another one of those rocking chairs? I could sell 5 of those right now for $50 each easy.”

Rodney smiled, “That is ok. Definitely not good weather for fishing. I should be finished with one this weekend. I am about out of stain though.”

“I can order some for you.” Sam looked at the ledger closer and said, “$14 sold this week. Minus the 25% to me for the sale that brings your grand total to $59.38 credit on the books.”

“Great. I will need $12 in gas and another $20 in diesel for my cans.”

“No problem sir. Just pull around to the pumps. I will right it off of your ledger,” Sam wrote an entry in the book and Rodney initialed beside the entry. Then Sam noticed the box. “Whatcha got in there?”

Rodney smiled, “Well, I was gonna ask if you thought someone might like it.” He pulled out of the box a medium sized door wreath designed for Christmas and trimmed in red and gold ribbons.

“Well, not my cup of tea, but I bet the misses would like it. You want to try to sell it on consignment like the rest?”

“Yes, sir. Twenty dollars?”

“Aww Rodney. I think twenty five at least. Let’s start there and we can always come down from there, if it doesn’t sell.” Sam wrote another entry in the ledger for receipt of the wreath and Rodney initialed beside it too. After filling up the cans, Rodney was again on his way down the other 10 miles toward town.
 

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Pursuing freedom.
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Nice start. I have thought about that type of frugal living, but my daughter probably wouldn't take too kindly to it...LOL
 

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I've actually been putting some thought to using the water that does get wasted warming up the shower. Do that for a few weeks though and I'd be pretty stocked with water thats for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've actually been putting some thought to using the water that does get wasted warming up the shower. Do that for a few weeks though and I'd be pretty stocked with water thats for sure.
I actually tried this. The amount of water that is wasted at my house while waiting for the warm water to come is about 1.5 gallons per shower. There are 3 people in my house taking showers. So that is 4.5 gallons a day of clean water PER DAY :eek::eek: that can be captured and poured into the garden or (splash with a little plain bleach) stored as drinking water.

Now if you do the "put one foot in the bucket while taking a shower" thing. I filled up the entire 5 gallon bucket in one shower. I used it to flush the toilet twice with that 5 gallons. The water does contain soap and shampoo (that runs off of your body) so it is not "clean" water but it doesn't matter if you are using it to flush the toilet.

I know that it is weird, but try it. It is a pretty good trick that you might use in the future.;)
 
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