No 569



We certainly live in a mobile society today. There are millions of people who live in mobile homes and there are millions of others who travel across the country, across the world and all points in between. There are also thousands of folks who spend their working lifetime in one area and plan to retire somewhere else.
I had a chance encounter with one of these people several months ago that has prompted me to provide a new service that may be of some interest to you. First, just a little bit of background information.
In 1993, my wife and I made the decision to construct a landscape timber home where we presently live near Conway, Ark. It turned out far better than we ever dreamed and we were able, within a year of moving in, to have it paid for and not have a house payment. To be sure, a house constructed from landscape timbers is non-traditional and certainly not for everyone. One of the main reasons is because it is labor intensive and requires a good deal of physical labor. However, because the timbers are relatively light, most any person can carry them to the spot where they need to be nailed in place.
Several months after moving in, I decided to write a column about our landscape timber home and gave a good number of the details. I also offered to send a set of basic instructions and a few photographs, if any reader would send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope. At the time, my wife Viola said we would get about a dozen requests. I quit counting when it got to be 1,000. There was far more interest in this type of non-traditional house than I ever dreamed. Then I began to get requests from areas of the country where this column does not run, and I began to wonder why.
I soon learned that Google had picked up my column, posted it on their site, and anyone who typed in the words "landscape timber home" would have this original column pop up in a New York minute. In fact, I just checked this site, and would you believe the very first listing was my original column. Now, along comes a reader who makes a suggestion that makes a lot of sense and I have followed through on it. Please don't overlook this point. There are vast numbers of people who get great ideas every day, but they seldom, if ever, follow through on them.
In an e-mail to me, here is what this reader, whose name is Irv, says: "I live in Arizona but have 45 acres north of Lenoir, N.C., and plan to retire there in five or 10 years. I enjoy your column in the Lenoir News-Topic. You should have your bright young Web Designer, Robyn Green, convert your plans for a Landscape Timber Home to a PDF and post it on your Web site. That would save you the cost of printing and handling and allow your readers to instantly download the plans."
In subsequent conversations, I told Irv about our Conway Bookcase Project and he made another suggestion. He said, "Why not allow any interested person to download your instructions and photos, free of charge, and if they feel they have been of value make a contribution to your bookcase project or buy copies of your book." Since we use only volunteers and no tax money or government grants, this made a lot of sense. To fund this important project, we receive donations and I give 100 percent of the profits from the sale of my book "Learning, Earning & Giving Back."
In case you don't know, what we are doing by building bookcases for children in low-income families, giving them a "starter set" of books and reading to them each week, is "Building A New Generation of Readers."
While we would invite your help, there is absolutely no charge for the instructions that have been greatly expanded, and my good friend, Dennis Schick, came to our home and made some great new photos that we have also included. You can view this information at by clicking the link, Landscape Timber Home.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")