Monday, February 3, 2014

Talking Trash

Oh, get your minds outta da gutter!

Barb Polan and I have been emailing back and forth about garbage and composting. For us it's difficult if not impossible to get the garbage from the house to the rolling bins, and out to the road for pick up. Okay, it can be done in a thousand and one baby steps along the way. A week's worth of garbage takes a week to get it to the road.

It's one of those things most of us really don't talk about. Another adaptability failure issue but we keep trying to adapt to succeed. It's just that success in this case isn't without some major issues. I wonder how Rebecca does it? Hey Rebecca! Chime in.

I guess I could put all my noncompostable garbage in those little plastic grocery bags and carry them to my dumpster one at a time. But that still leaves rolling the dumpster to the road. I don't know about your front yard, but mine is uneven with plenty of pine tree and oak roots to trip me up with a rolling slant. It isn't a smooth paved surface like the picture. I wish!

For anyone that has read my blog for over a year, you know I'm a survivalist, planning on living off-the-grid, and become self sufficient. I even wrote one book in a possible series of how tos.

Funny things happen to well-made plans. I had a stroke leaving me partially paralyzed on my dominant side. I'm having to relearn and adapt every thing I know how to do. I still compost, and as of last year I started gardening again. I'm an avid recycler too.

Bet you want to know how I get the compostables to the composters, don't you. I mean I'm one handed and walk with a cane so no free hand to push and pull with, right?





One small bungee cord around the handle of the wagon and another around my waist. Okay, it's more like two bungee cords around my waist. I'll walk where I want to go pulling the wagon behind me.  I actually use cardboard to make the sides higher. But I keep in mind the weight I am trying to pull. It varies to a max of ten pounds plus the weight of the wagon.  Eventually I may Jerry-rig a harness for the German Shepherds to do the pulling, but they are still pups yet.

Originally my compost bins looked like this...
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out this system would be almost impossible for me to turn properly let alone get the compost out without hurting myself post stroke.

So I graduated to this...I can just walk by it a couple times a day and give it a spin.  Yes I built it myself from plans on the internet. The guy in Home Depot was nice enough to cut all my lumber and the pipe works for me. I used screws, and nuts and bolts to put it together. What would have been a couple hour project in the old days, took me two weeks to build it. I put the handle on the side for when it gets too full and the barrels get heavy. 
No, these are not mine. Just some pics I pulled off off Google. But you get the idea. My set up is similar. I built two double compost barrel set ups in about two months. Between the chickens, Guinea pig and rabbits added to my home organic waste I could have probably gotten away with just one set up except for the amount of yard trash like leaves and cut grass.

I mentioned that I'm going to try square foot gardening this year. Since I set up my raised, really raised beds last year it made sense to me. I started to set seeds four weeks ago but the Arctic Blast hit and then hit us again giving us below freezing temperatures so I'm glad I didn't. 

I bought some cedar fence planks to enclose my bag garden beds from last year. I still plan
Yes that's old Mel himself.
on using my milk crates to raise them. I figure four 4x4 gardening plots would be a good start. One 4x4 set on the ground for corn and later for a bunny/chicken friendly grass/clover/hay mix for their grazing pleasure.

Nod to Mel, creator of the Square Foot Gardening method. My exception is that my frames will be 18" deep where his are only 6".  I believe in deep rooting my plants. Also I've been thinking of potatoes sweet and Yukons in 2x2 boxes that build up. It all depends on what I can get finished with in time. While "normal" people may accomplish the building time in a matter of hours, for me it takes days. But that's okay because I'm doing it.

So I plan again for the upcoming Spring and gardening. Life is all about changes and adjustments. It's all in how you view it. Stuff will always happen to change your circumstances, but living is what you do with them. You can sit back and gripe or adapt to live through it making the best outcome for your circumstances.

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. What a great idea! I've been wanting to do composting but didn't really know how to get started. I have one of those blue barrels. Now I just need to get hubby to build the frame!

  2. Sara,
    If you look at youtube there are tons of videos for the how to. Here lately I get confused with written instructions so videos mean more to me than the other.

    Why does the hubby have to build it? I built mine. You can too.

  3. I'm proud of you! I know I could do it, but so far, I just haven't. So much for being self-sufficient. ;-)

  4. Hi Jo, part of my plan would be to actually get a composter for near my back stoop. What we have now is a compost heap: we (by that, I mean Tom, but I think I could) turn it over right next to itself, then move the wire surround. But, with Tom, there's no need for me to deal with it. If I HAD to do it myself, I'd change things. Actually, I'd like to change it now because I suspect coyotes are grazing from the heap. Just more work for Tom, though, which I hate to do.

  5. Aren't you creative? Where there's a will there is a way.
    I remember seeing this show where the woman was in a wheel chair and crew came in and built gardens for her at a level where she could reach. It was pretty cool.

  6. Zan Marie, thanks!

    Barb- the only problem with keeping it closer to the house is that it would be farther than my coop or rabbitry. The bigger load demands proximity. It also needs to be in sun for heat and that isn't my back stoop with cherry trees and gardenias overshadowing it. Do it yourself. Why bother Tom? I did.

    Alex- I couldn't get that lucky! Creative? Huh yeah, I'm a writer. I just want my all my planning to see the light of day or the best I can do.

  7. So many ideas.. Even my mother asked me to save this to look closer at the gardening ideas. Great post, so much creativity.

  8. Thank you Sheena-kay. Keep in mind that even before my stroke I gardened organically for 30 years. In the past 15 years my garden grew to 1/4 of an acre before my stroke.

    Making something from nothing or re purposing things has always been a love of mine. So when I saw these detergent barrels sitting on a loading dock, I asked if I could have the empties.

  9. You are a crazy lady! I mean it as a compliment ;)

    I was pretty environmentally-aware before my stroke--composting, recyclying, bought veggies from a CSA, etc. Not anymore :(


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