Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Compost Savings

One of the things I have learned over time is that none of us are perfect and every once in a while I make a boo boo. This was a small one, at least in my mind, the other guy might disagree.

I have been raking the lawn lately which naturally leads to having big green garbage bags filled with what gets taken off the lawn.

We are not allowed to put yard waste in the garbage so every homeowner has to figure out what to do with the stuff. Being a guy who is always looking for an easier and lower cost way to solve these kind of problems...I of course looked around to see what the neighbours were doing.

I saw a few guys take their wheel barrows down to the ocean and just dump it. I wouldn't do that even if I could. I also heard that some people drive to the dump, a long way from home. At least a cost of $5 for a round trip by car. Here and there I noticed that neighbourhoods had established unofficial dump sites in nearby wooded areas. We have a lot of forest around here. Now that seemed to me to be a reasonable trade off.

I ride a mountain bike every day rain or shine for the enjoyment and exercise. As it happens, one of closest unofficial composting sites was close to home and happened to be at the beginning of one of my frequent biking routes. I do large loops, many of which take me through trails in the forest and along the ocean. Most recently, I have been taking my bags, one at a time, and emptying them at the start of my daily bike ride. I was feeling satisfied that i was saving a few bucks and to fight global warming by not using my car for this job.

The other day I took a bag with me, parked the bike on the sidewalk and walked to the back of the lot to spread my grass and moss bits. Some people had dumped their stuff too close to the sidewalk for my liking and I always made it a point to walk 100 feet or so in, well back and next to the bush so things are out of sight. I also made a point of spreading things around rather than leave an obvious pile.

So there I am, hunched over, just opening the bag when I here..."Excuse Me Sir" from somewhere behind me. I stand up and look for the voice. I see a guy across the street in front of one of the newly built homes, pointing toward my bike. My first thought is that my bike has fallen over or that there is some interesting wildlife behind me. We have bears and cougars nearby. I look and think...the bike looks OK and I can't see anything else. I'm wondering...What on earth is he pointing at? I raise my arms to indicate that I had no idea what he meant and he then said..."The Sign".

I then noticed the backside of a sign that I walked past after parking the bike. Now it was starting to dawn on me. Sometimes, I'm a little slow. I have always been that way even when I was young. I dutifully took my bag of contraband and walked back to check out that sign. As I feared, it said.. "No Refuse Dumping". I raised my arms in disbelief and said, loud enough that he could hear me, "What ya no....a new sign!" Now to be fair here, it was a very small sign and it was mounted on a pole about 10 feet high. It's not in your face as you walk past it. I know it is a feeble excuse but it is my only defense. Clearly I was caught read handed- no doubt about it.

So I put my green bag of lawn bits back on the bike and calmly headed down the road. I didn't miss a beat because I knew plenty of other spots where I could spread the compost without interference. As the houses were built over the last year or so, I guess someone didn't like the idea of people using the site as a compost area and convinced the city to put up a sign. Now the guy was very polite about it all.

I don't know about you but sometimes things remind me of a song. For a good part of my bike ride that day this song was playing in my head.

"Sign, Sign, everywhere a sign, Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind, Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign."- Five Man Electrical Band

1 comment:

nancy said...

What a fun post! You came face to face with "The Man!" Good luck in the search for alternative composting sites.