Other People’s Garbage

My friend Ullie, who has horses (which sounds grand, but she’s paupersville), left me a couple of bags of spoiled hay. She knew I’d love it. Earlier this year she gifted me (god I hate that word – I only like words I grew up with when the only meaning of gifted was “smart”) with a bag o’ nicely aged horse manure. My daughter and son-in-law give me bags of leaves from the giant red maple in their yard. Before the new Green Bin thing here, I used to go around town collecting people’s bags of lawn clippings (checking their lawns first – only scrappy lawns make it; green weed-free lawns are to be hurriedly passed by). My own Green Bin is usually empty unless I’ve recently done a reconnaissance of the yard and have blackberry cuttings. Most everything else goes in the compost.

Years ago, back East, a friend and I used to troll the streets of the nicer neighborhoods the night before garbage collection. Always goodies. A death or other house-clearing was a bonanza. On the weekend we sold the stuff at a flea market. I also haunted several country dumps. Furnished my house and got much of my building materials that way.

The dump nearest my previous home got its act together (shortage of burial ground was the cause) and built a shelter for the furniture and building supplies, and a Free Store for all the other stuff – clothes, books, dishes, toys, whatever. Loved it. Me and everyone else. Community social club. I did my volunteer hours there (FIRST CHOICE!) God I miss it.

Here I look forward every spring to what I call Curb Day, formal name Trash to Treasures. People put out their unwanted stuff and drive around town collecting everybody else’s. The rest of the year you can often find some furniture or whatever out on the curb – everyday is informal Curb Day.

If I’m desperate, I will go to garage sales or thrift stores, though the exchange of $ kinda goes against the grain… Was poor much of my life and, while fairly ‘comfortable’ now, old habits die hard.

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