You don't have to live on a farm to enjoy the benefits of a spacious rural mailbox; many suburban communities and outlying parts of sprawling cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego permit and even encourage them in these days of motorized mail routes.
If you already have a mailbox on a rotted wooden post or rusted steel support or if you want to install a new one, here's one way to go about it:
1-Dig out the old post or dig a hole for the new one. Make sure the location you pick is accessible to the letter carrier. You might ask the carrier when he or she makes the rounds; it will save a lot of effort. Soak the ground with a garden hose to make it easier to dig. Use a shovel or post-hole digger, if you have one or can borrow one. Go down about 18 inches.
2-Prepare the post or other support. The mailbox here, purchased at a building supply store, is supported by two individual steel posts to make a sturdier support. One is supposed to be enough, but two are much better. The supports came in basic black and were spray-painted white to match the mailbox.
3-Prepare a batch of concrete using a 90-pound bag of concrete mix and the proper amount of water, usually three quarts. A wheelbarrow or garden cart is an excellent place to mix the concrete. Caution! Make sure you get a concrete mix, not Portland cement or stucco mix. The brand name of a concrete mix will usually end in "-Crete."
4-Place the post in the hole, prop it up as straight as you can and shovel in the concrete, making sure the post is the right height. You should ask about the height at the same time you ask about the location, or a local post office can provide information. Tamp the concrete down around the post.
5-While the concrete is setting, level the support post or posts with a spirit level. If you don't have a level (and you should) use the one on a combination square. Do all the sides of the posts and the top, as well.
6-Install the mailbox. The installation shown here utilized a pine board cut to fit in a recess in the bottom of the mailbox. The board was painted, bolted to the support posts and the mailbox was placed over it. Several round-head wood screws were inserted through predrilled holes in the mailbox and screwed into the pine board.
I welcome suggestions from readers on their unusual solutions to mailbox installations. Please don't send any photos of the regular mailbox and the one next to it on a 12-foot post, for air mail!
"Planning Kitchen Remodeling" is the title of a 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday seminar conducted by Jo Davis and Ann Otto of Kitchen Decisions, Pasadena, at Cal State Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive. The $50 session will be held in Alhambra Room A of the University Union. The fee includes their 140-page kitchen Decisions handbook. Checks should be made payable to "Foundation, Cal State L.A." The class will explore individual needs and options in selecting appliances, cabinets, countertops, flooring, etc. Kitchen Decisions was the subject of the Nov. 7, 1982 Baldwin column and has been mentioned several times since; the partnership is also the subject of a full-page feature story in the May 21 issue of Family Circle magazine. Perhaps not coincidentally, this issue of Family Circle has articles on kitchen remodeling.