Sunday, May 2, 2010

Reuse Reduce Recycle

Recycling is sure important today. Like most of you, I really try the best that I can do to recycle. I have a special basket for plastics and glass; a special place for cans; we keep all scrap wood to reuse for fencing and any normal farm usage; we save all our empty plant containers to give back to our plant suppliers; we reuse garden hoses that break, cut them up and put them where we only need short hoses, even have a very short hose that goes into our dog's water dish; Frank uses my empty laundry detergent bottles to store his used tractor oil and takes it to the recycling location and the list goes on at Windmill Farm.

But the best and latest Reuse, Reduce and Recycle project here has been our new sorting shed. The story is worth telling because it is pretty fantastic, so please read on.

For 33 years we lived and worked in Nevada City, Nevada County, California. We built an adobe house, the only 2nd one in Nevada County in 1973. In 1975, we built a car port using very good strong and large lumber supports and we used it until we sold our house in 2003. The new owners didn't like the carport, so after buying our place, a year or so later, asked a mutual friend, Joe to tear down the carport and they built a new structure. Joe carefully tore down the carport, the aluminum roof and all the large beams and had it stored behind their garage. After a few years, the new owners decided to move to Arizona and sold our old house to someone else. Before escrow could close, all items had to be removed from the property. The owners asked Joe to burn them but before he did, he asked Frank, if he thought he could use the wood for something and Frank had just the project!!!

Frank had wanted to build me a sorting shed, a place to take my produce right from the field into a cool and shaded place to clean, wash and sort out vegetables and fruits. Most farmers who sell their produce, use them. He built the shed using all the same lumber, beams, roofing materials from our old, 1975 car port. Frank had built the carport in 1975 and rebuilt the same carport in 2010!! The lumber still has the same paint that I had painted, who knows when and is basically installed in the same shape and dimensions as the old carport. Talk about coming back home!

But that isn't the best part of the reusing, recycling, story. In our same 1973 Nevada City house, the new owners did not like our light fixture that hung over the kitchen stove. And they wanted to change out the ceiling fan that hung in the entry way with 16' ceilings. They had asked Joe to take the items down and to hang up their replacements, which he did. Since Joe ( who always lived in Nevada County) moved to Gridley sometime after we moved here too, on his way home from doing that job, he asked us if we could use the fan and light fixtures (also purchased in the 1970s and used by us for 30+ years). Frank said yes, and they have been stored in our garage for about 2 years waiting for a new usage. Well guess where they went? The light fixture now hangs over my sink in the sorting shed at Windmill Farm. And the 30+ year old fan and light now hangs and works in the shed also. The light was brass so Frank spray painted it black and revamped the fan to make sure it was working well.

And there is more!!! A friend knew of a person who's barn had blown down in last years winds. He had the corrugated tin available that Frank wanted to use for the shed sides, so Frank picked up sheets of the old and used tin, and installed it on 2 sides of the shed.And the last part of this recycle, reuse, reduce story is about the sink. I needed a sink with counter space in the sorting area. While shopping at the local Mac's hardware store, they had a commercial, restaurant sink that I saw and asked about it. It wasn't for sale but they gave me the name of a restaurant and grocery used equipment store located in Knight's Landing. Frank and I decided to go one raining day last week and found the most fabulous, used, 2 sink, 10 foot long stainless steel sink at a fabulous price, along with some used metal shelving that I am using in my refrigeration unit.

Frank installed the sink, put the corrugated metal all behind it, finished up the last of the details in the sorting shed and it is ready to go when the produce is ready!!! Walking into the sorting shed is like walking back into time for Frank and I, an ultimate recycling project. Boy, if walls could talk--

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