As of today, we have launched the first episode of The American Garage. I guess you could say this is our debut. As you can see, the first project is the restoration of a David Bradley garden tractor. You can find the first episode under Season 1. Here at the Garage, we are completely excited about the debut of the show, and we hope that you enjoy it- but not only that, but we hope that you feel inspired to pick up a project of your own. Look around you- there are potential projects everywhere!
So let’s talk a little more about project selection- personally, I want to do projects that I find exciting. But, if that were it then I think I would have missed the point. I wouldn’t want to pick projects solely on the basis of whether or not I find it exciting. I select projects that also have a high value. Things that better my life or the life of others. I don’t know about you, but when I build something for someone else it has much more value in the end and is much more gratifying. So, if I wanted to build- say- a hot rod, then it was so perfect that I didn’t want anyone to ride in it or even touch it, then I really did not better anyone- including myself. Contrast that with building a boat, and then taking all my friends for a ride and teaching them to drive the boat- now everyone gets to enjoy it, and others get inspired, and go get their own boat. Then we have incredible water balloon fights and we all get to be better friends.
So why a garden tractor? Well, as a kid growing up in Northern Illinois, we had a John Deere 110 tractor to mow the grass and tend the garden. We raised probably 80% of our food in the garden, and grew up healthy and strong. My family wasn’t trying to ‘make a statement’ or be ‘purist’ or anything like that. How do you feed 6 hungry kids on a teacher’s salary? You get inventive. So we all planted and weeded and hoed and watered and harvested. There was a great satisfaction in the whole process. Today, even the best choices in the grocery store are many times tainted by too many demands. Stuff gets picked too soon so it can make it to the store, or chemicals are used to make it ripen faster, or preserve it until we pick it off the shelf. Some things are hybridized to the point they no longer have the same nutritional value of their original ancestors, and other things are genetically modified to grow faster, or some other quality that the modifiers are looking for. Are all these things bad? Well, I don’t think so- but it is starting to look unrecognizable from what food used to be before we started handling and modifying it like we have in the last 50 years. The other reason for me is that I started observing what happened after Hurricane Ike in Houston a couple of years ago. The grocery store went completely bare in just a few short days. You know something? Not one bit of all that food was locally grown. Whatever happens or can happen to stop the flow of semi trucks to the grocers is the thing that can cripple us both individually and as a nation. So, growing a garden will reduce my dependency on infrastructures that may not always be there, and the food will more then likely be way better for me. Plus, the exercise of getting in the garden is good for my body as well. So, I chose to build a garden tractor. Raising food is not really a hobby for me- it is something I consider a part of life that just needs to happen- like brushing my teeth or cleaning the house. I would like to see an America where we all have some kind of garden again, sharing and trading our different produce. And when a hurricane or natural disaster comes along, we shrug our shoulders, look into the pantry at our reserves, and say- “Things will be alright. Let’s put everything back together.” Enjoy Episode 1, and join us for the entire process of restoring the David Bradley.