"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What Comes Around Goes Around

The project:
A circle of deeds that began with a pile of wood diverted from the dump to appreciative ranchers, and ended with a pile of horse manure in my front yard and a clean trailer returned.

Just over an hour to complete the cycle (plus 20 minutes drive time).

Why bother?
Throughout the weekend and early portion of this week I watched as a "neighbor" down the street filled a trailer with an amazing array of wood as he renovated his backyard, tore down and built a new fence and who knows what other home improvement projects. These weren't rotted scraps, but the remaining 4- to 6-foot segments of 2x4s, some 4x4s, six or eight SHEETS of press board and ply wood from projects new and not so very old, I'd guess.

Yesterday evening I stopped by and asked this stranger if the trailer was dump bound. Sure enough! It seemed like such a waste to me! The girls and I have been riding horses on a ranch where there's always something that needs to be built or repaired. These dump-bound scraps would do the trick.

I explained the situation and asked if I could tow the trailer out to share the goods. After overcoming his astonishment, he was more than happy to turn over the trailer and its contents to me for the morning.

This morning, while throwing and stacking the wood alongside the tack shed, it occurred to me the trailer would be perfect for hauling manure back home. (It's tough to do that in a minivan, and our sandy garden was in desperate need of fertilization - there's plenty of that with so many horses on hand there.) I pulled the trailer alongside our own Bandini mountain and within minutes was ready to head for home where I spread the goodies throughout the garden, then swept out the trailer before returning it, empty and clean, to the grateful wood donor.

No dump fee for him.
Free wood for the ranch.
Free manure for me.
Less material tossed in our landfill.

Worth it?
Are you kidding me! It was worth it just to get the wood for someone else, and to keep the usable stuff out of the landfill! It doesn't make sense to continue buying NEW wood at THESE prices when these NEW bits will do the trick and then some. Saved friends and a neighbor some cash, saved some space in the landfill for REAL trash.

The pile o' poop for my own garden was just a bonus.

Photo courtesy Joi under Creative Commons License.

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