The challenges of selectively frugal suburban living sometimes require unbridled innovation characterized by the marriage of digital and analog technologies. When SL correspondent Rich Roat’s 1972 Cub Cadet experienced a catastrophic power takeoff clutch failure in the face of encroaching onion grass and skunk cabbage, the UPS driver arrived just in time with a pre-ordered iPad.
The encroachment of suburbia has an increasingly adverse effect on indigenous flora and fauna. Deer often become expensive hood ornaments, wayward foxes cause latte-sloshing evasive maneuvers and groundhogs eat tender rhododendron buds. These and other events can be stressful to denizens from both ends of the food chain when the crush of the exurbs reaches into their natural habitat, leading to behavior that strays from the normal power, grace and wildness characterized by the remaining agrarian cornucopia.
Sweathog Living dedicates today’s practical lifestyle column to the strategic placement of a comforting butt shelf for a raccoon who has climbed 15 feet up a tree and wedged its head in a squirrel hole. Suburban scion Carlos Alejandro shows his expertise in conservatively compassionate animal husbandry with this delightful display of cunning carpentry.
Tomorrow: Removal of the raccoon.
On a warm winter’s day, there are not many better things than parking in the middle of Oregon Avenue in southeast Philly, hiking up your Eagles sweatpants and waiting in line for a Tony Luke’s roast pork with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone.
Contrary to popular belief, sweathog living sometimes requires extensive manual labor to make necessary repairs without hiring professional help or renting the proper equipment. Funds that would normally go toward such remedies are diverted toward expensive motorcycle valve adjustments, cases of full-synthetic multigrade motor oil and Montessori school tuition. We joined Rich Roat on a bright Sunday fall morning to experience the embodiment of adaptation, innovation and frustration that defines sweathog ingenuity. The project: Repair the shed roof where a 12-inch leader from semi-rotten invasive Norway maple cleaved a jagged hole through Lancaster county’s finest custom-extruded tin roofing panels.
First, a trip to the neighbor’s shed is necessary to procure some of the proper tools, including a questionable wood “chicken” ladder and a long length naturally fibered standard braid rope with several robust splices. After glueing and clamping an ominous longitudinal crack in the ladder, Rich used his best Rope Rescue for Firefighters rigging skills to strategically place not one but two clove hitches on the more stable rungs. With several tries and a rotator cuff injury, the rope is tossed over the peak and secured to the rear axle of a lawn tractor. The trusty Cub Cadet served as both an anchor and as a means to easily change the position of the chicken ladder, proving its role as a versatile and indispensable part of any sweathog’s tool repertoire.
Equipment and source list:
1971 IH Cub Cadet 129 Hydrostatic Lawn Tractor: Overgrown Lean-To Shed from Previous Homeowner
1952 Willys Pickup: Willys Overland Motor Company
16’ Fiberglass Extension Ladder: Scotts True Value Hardware
10’ Chicken Ladder: Neighbor’s Shed
50’ Sisal Tri-Braided Spliced Rope: Neighbor’s Shed
6 Slate Blue Steel Roof Panels: A. B. Martin Roofing Company
2 10’ Slate Blue Steel Ridge Caps: A. B. Martin Roofing Company