Woodworking, Rural Home Invaders and Coyotes

Dale is doing more with wood than stacking it these days


We had an interesting weekend at Our Little House.

Dale is getting into woodworking, so we spent part of the weekend going to the Big Box hardware stores where he could find the tools he needed to start a project he’s been yearning to do since we moved.

He’s wanted to build a utility table for the deck, one I could use as a potting table and that we could also use when we’re cooking outdoors.

He received some money and gift cards for Christmas, so he purchased some woodworking tools and went to work.

And he did an awesome job, although he didn’t want me to take any photos of it. He built it out of old pallets he had stored from our move, so it isn’t very pretty, but it is sturdy and functional.

A hobby for eventual retirement? Definitely.

A potential source of second income? If he continues on this track, most definitely. I hope he maintains his interest.

It was certainly great seeing him so content working in his garage on Sunday and then rushing home from work Monday night to get back at his table.

Now a couple of random thoughts from some recent posts here at Living Large.

I came home for a late lunch from The Belle Writer’s Studio the other day and turned on the television.

Dr. Phil had a young teen mother on from Oklahoma who had shot and killed an intruder in her rural home on New Year’s Eve (I think she said she lives on 2,000 acres of land).

Evidently, these men, who were ranch hands to the land owner, had been stalking her since learning her husband was hospitalized in December for cancer (he died on December 25th).

The young mother of a 3-month old boy reportedly asked the 911 operator if she could kill the man if he managed to break through her door, which she tried to barricade with a sofa. The operator told the teen that she could not tell her to do that, but she “needed to do whatever to protect herself and her child.”

The man was found with a knife in his hand when police finally arrived.

The whole incident made me feel even more vulnerable here, especially after the creepy incident here a few weeks ago.

It also made me glad that this young girl knew how to use a gun. I shudder to think what would have happened to her and maybe her child, had this drug crazed (his accomplice, who ran after the shooting, said they were looking for drugs) idiot had not encountered the wrong end of a 12-gage…….

On Saturday, just days after writing about the dangers posed by coyotes to our pets, I saw my first one in the daylight. Dale and I were driving up to Branson for a day out when we saw the dog-like creature lope across the road. We both knew immediately it wasn’t an average domestic dog because of the way it was running.

We stopped and it stood for us for a couple of minutes in the field near the road where we could observe him.

Truly a magnificent sight. It made me appreciate even more their place in the natural world.

Do  you or your husband have a hobby that may turn out to be a source of second income in retirement? Or, how do you feel about the young woman who shot an intruder who broke through her door and was advancing with a knife? Do you have guns or believe in having them?

You may also like...

30 Responses

  1. Kim says:

    On woodworking (to change the primary subject!): I’ve been inspired by ana-white.com (woodworking women’s website, heavy on built-ins and high-end imitation pieces on the cheap) and actually asked my husband if he’d mind if I took a woodworking class at the local community college.

    His look of horror was hilarious. True, I do not have time at this phase of our life to add a time-consuming, money-costing, mess-making hobby. (Especially one that steals his workbench in the basement.)

    But give me ten years or so. If we still haven’t become rich enough to hire carpenters at will, I’ll be installing built-in bookcases all over this stinkin’ house. Talk about a practical hobby!

    • Kerri says:

      That’s a great thing to look forward to, Kim! Dale is really getting into this and it is a bit expensive, but as long as he’s not sitting in front of the television, I’m happy! 🙂

  2. Jane Boursaw says:

    Oh yeah, I totally would have gunned that guy down. Good for her! I’ve long wanted to buy a gun and learn how to use it. Maybe that’ll be MY retirement hobby.

  3. Cal Olson says:

    C’mon, Dale – we want to see the result! It may not be pretty (in your eyes!) but it’ll inspire those of us who LONG to make some sawdust ourselves. (but our wives know how we do with tools – *shudder*)

    On the gun thread, I’m not a fan of senseless violence, but I know I’d do whatever is necessary to protect my beloved. I think I’d try something like an AirSoft rifle first – perhaps being pelted with a barage of those would turn an intruder away. Or perhaps wishful thinking on my part. Then my sweetie could club them with a hammer or something… 😀

    • Kerri says:

      I think I will post a picture next week anyway, Cal. 😉

      I wrote a story once on those AirSoft guns, it’s my understanding that those really aren’t meant to hurt, they’re even less painful than the paintball ones. I had a baseball bat I kept at one time. Like Dale said, someone would probably wrangle it from me and use it on me.

  4. What a scary experience for that mother. Thankfully, so far I haven’t had to deal with anything like that. My husband has had to while living in Mexico, but he was able to use his size to scare the guy away (who had a knife on him). Somehow, I don’t think that would work for me…

  5. I don’t have a gun, am basically anti-gun, but, believe me, would buy one and use it if necessary. You can call me a hypocrite, I guess.

    • Kerri says:

      Hmm, I don’t think anyone, or at least anyone I know, considers themselves “pro-gun,” but it is a tool I think many of us feel we need for survival. I don’t see that as being hypocritical.

  6. Alexandra says:

    My husband also works with wood, and it puts him in a really serene place, so I’m glad to hear about Dale. As to intruders, I’m in the city this month and next. I wanted him to come with me, but he feels our house needs a presence. I’m not sure what he could do if there were an intruder, as I’m against guns & violence, but he tells me there have been several phone calls, as if someone were trying to figure out whether anyone was home. Now that’s creepy, too. What is this world coming to?

    • Kerri says:

      Yes, I imagine that woodworking puts our guys in the same place we’re at when we are writing, Alexandra. Oh, my, that is creepy about the calls. Tell Sven to be careful and take care of himself while he’s alone!

  7. Mo says:

    With the economy in shambles there are a lot of tradesmen selling quality tools for pennies on the dollar. If I was in the market I’d be looking there especially for stationary tools. In the last two years 50% of the tradesmen I regularly use have gone under. On the last concrete pour I did three of the seven had lost their homes. We’ve managed so far but have sold some of our equipment during the lean months just to keep the doors open. Its the new reality in the construction trades.

    I enjoy the Coyotes, especially their night time serenades. They are very hard on the local domestic cat population, all of my cat owning neighbors have lost at least one to them. They’ve taken a few dogs too. My 75 pound Lab tangled with one once and lost even though the coyote was half her size. If I hadn’t been there I’m certain the coyote could have killed her.

    On the gun issue one thing that is rarely reported on is that it doesn’t always need to be fired to deter or stop crime. I’ve witnessed this twice in my life. The first time was as a small boy playing in my grandmothers front yard, a woman jumped out of a car trying to escape from a man who was beating her. He caught her at the end of the driveway and the beating continued. Seconds later my Grandmother emerged from the house with a rifle and the attacker (scum) immediately desisted and fled. The other incident happened to a terminally ill neighbor who had what was probably a drug addict pounding on the door. When the door gave way my neighbor was inside pointing his 45 caliber pistol which caused the perpetrator to instantly re-evaluate and flee. Though the police were called before the door was open, they didn’t arrive for another 20 minutes. This was in Seattle and not in a bad part of town either…

    Moral of the stories, “when seconds count, the police are only minutes away” and “nothing says go away louder than the muzzle end of a 45.”

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks for weighing in, Mo, good hearing from you again! Good tips on getting equipment on the cheap. It’s sad when people have to sell their stuff just to survive, but that is the reality of the “new” economy, I’m afraid. I stepped out on the deck the other night and heard the coyotes whooping it up across the cove, it is a cool sound, but one I find a little unnerving in the dark, especially when I’m hoofing it the 20 yards or so from the writer’s studio. As for guns, I agree. Most people will retreat at the sight of one, as did the accomplice in the OK incident, when he heard the shot.

  8. Mat says:

    I actually come from a very long line of very talented woodworkers–on both sides of the family. In fact, I’m told that you can still find Sadinski cabinetry in the Tzar’s Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. My grandfather had an amazing woodshop in his basement and I have very fond memories of watching him build things down there. When my grandmother passes along, I’ll be receiving some of his more elaborate work. Most of his pieces I have are very practical and very 60s. Which is pretty cool.
    The wife and I have built a few things here and there–nothing very polished, but perfect for our needs and empowering us in the process. And it’s that bit of craftsmanship–that pride in your work of actually MAKING something; that’s the important part that I wish more people could experience these days. The book “Shop Work as Soulcraft” (a VERY difficult read, IMO) laments the way people now buy what they used to make and hire someone to repair what they used to fix themselves. One of the things I love about the small house movement is the DIY attitude that my wife and I share. I can’t tell you how validating it is to see people who make their own windows or build their own cabinets.
    I once told my wife: I can’t give birth to a baby…but damnit, I can give birth to a house!

    • ginny short says:

      My husband is already retired, and has been building things all his life. He can do most anything with his hands.

      We both have concealed handgun licenses.

    • kerri says:

      You were very lucky to have your grandfather as an influence in building things with your hands. Dale is very proud of his table and it is now sitting on the covered front porch holding our firewood for now and water. It looks really good there. I told him last night he should keep it up and make potting tables to sell.

  9. Karen604 says:

    I strongly believe that everyone has a right to defend their person and property. Unfortunately the laws in our country are often vague or subject to wild interpretation.
    The population density seems to make a difference in the attitude of this defense. When I moved from MA to TX the most surprising thing to me was the pickups with gun racks that held multiple guns most times.

  10. Vicki says:

    After commenting on your last post about this, I think that you, Kerri, are familar to where I live, in a drug filled trailer park, and the incident I had. I am armed, and would of shot the intruder when the time was right if he jumped into the kitchen window. Yes, I have had weapons training and hunting from my dad, who is a retired cop. And yes, I would of gone to jail for it too.
    I find that people anymore, especially the drug fueled trash that we have here in our community, do not care whether they hurt you or not, they are just after more drugs, or money to fuel the need, and will stop at nothing to get it, period. Enough said. It entirely depends on where you live, where I live, its meth city. I feel I am more important than the drug trash. You cannot change these drug addicts, nor trust them.

    • Kerri says:

      We have a large meth problem here too, Vicki, but it is largely unseen. I feel sorry for people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, but you’re right, many of them can be dangerous.

  11. NoPotCooking says:

    I heard about that shooting. I can’t imagine how scary it must have been. I don’t think I have something I am good enough at that I could make into a job really, other than what I already do!

    • kerri says:

      I agree, the shooting must have been horrible. I’m not a Dr. Phil fan, but he did say he was going to get her some counseling as she was already showing signs of PTSD (can’t sleep, afraid to be alone, etc..) You’re like me, writing is our second career to fall back on! 😉

  12. Heather says:

    I am in the process of reviving a couple of old hobbies to see if they can become sustainable income. One is photography. I really enjoy it and used to do it for a little income and as a favor to friends until I just got too busy with a full time job, full time school, and two teenagers. The other is soap making and by extension laundry soap making. I am figuring up what it costs me to make and hopefully I can start an Etsy store selling my soaps and make a good income off of something I already make and enjoy making. Fingers crossed!

  13. Olivia says:

    The gun question issue differs greatly depending on where you live, I think. As a Canadian I doubt that the average Canuck has a gun in his or her possession. I can honestly say that I have never even seen a real gun and the very thought of a gun terrifies me. Of course, the thought of an intruder terrifies me as well – I just hope my little part of the world stays safe. The only people I know of who own guns are hunters and where I live the only things to hunt are ducks and geese. It seems to me that America is more of a gun culture altho, sadly, it is creeping into some of our larger cities – all illegal guns, of course.

    I am always leery of making comments like these because I find that Americans are so protective of their right to bear arms that I come off sounding like a “pinko Commie” – which all we Canadians are anyway 🙂 – or so these people tell me or some other wing nut. It’s just that I come from a different culture so I cannot understand guns and, to be honest, I hope that I never have to.

    • Heather says:

      You know, I think it is wonderful that some countries are able to keep the culture of violence under better control and not be as infiltrated with guns as we are. I do know how to shoot and shoot well and I live in a home with access to guns. I would not hesitate to use them to protect myself or my children, but I wish I didn’t ever have to think about it.

      • kerri says:

        Olivia, Completely understand that culture. Our German and Australian daughters had also never seen a real gun before they came to live with us. I have friends here in the States who are very against guns. But the sad reality is that I believe we need them to protect ourselves, especially here in the country. I would feel absolutely terrified here without access to a gun, not just because of the fear of a rural home invasion (If you read that story of the woman in OK, she was on the phone with 911 operators for 20 minutes and the sherrif’s dept. still hadn’t showed – that’s what it would be like here), but because of wild animals. But I also feel that people should be trained properly to handle firearms if they are going to own them. My husband has only taken a gun out once in preparation for self defense and that is when that kid, high on drugs, came through our front door in the middle of the night. Still, Dale was trained well enough not to just shoot. Although the kid was huge (well over 6 ft.) and looked pretty menancing. It would have been terrible for Dale if he would have had to shoot, he is such a gentle soul, I really don’t know if he could have lived with himself. I do hope your corner of the world stays safe too, Olivia. I completely agree with Heather.