Monday, January 19, 2015

books to go

Recently boxes and bags of books were loaded into the back of my truck.

Several people had expressed the need to shed stuff without going into a landfill.

We dropped the books off at The Book Thing. Only open on Saturday and Sunday, The Book Thing takes all books. Textbooks, novels, how to, kids they take it all.

We were not the only ones who dropped off books this week!

The books are sorted through and then shelved, by category.

And then anyone who wants books can take all they want. For free.

Years ago I was there getting a couple books. A woman in line with me had a big box of books she was carrying out. 

She told me she was taking the books to the prison, where the inmates would take the books apart, split into chapters, and pass around to read until the paper itself fell apart.

Since then we have always taken books there. Free books seem like a good idea.

The building is at an odd angle with the front door facing away from the one way street.

And the sign is not exactly high visibility.

The parking lot was completely full. The streets had cars parked on either side, full up. 

Young men with volunteer stickers affixed to their sweatshirts unloaded the books we had gathered and brought along.

Keeping stuff out of the trash, out of the landfill. My favorite.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

a tremendous support

We feed our pigs table scraps, restaurant prep waste, stale bread and outdated milk.

I attended a professional workshop recently on hog raising. Timelines were expressed on raising hogs that I could not comprehend: just a few months from piglet to bacon. Its kinda reassuring that our pigs can't bulk up that quickly. The professional implied that our slow growing, sod busting, scrap eating pigs might not be the most effective way to sustain a farm. Hmm. Maybe. But it sure is delicious!

I visit several locations weekly and load the food that would usually go into a dumpster into the back of my truck. And bring it to the farm where the pigs get it.

The people who arrange these transactions are folks who have, in their food serving careers, seen tons of perfectly fine food go into dumpsters to be hauled to landfills. Bothersome to pitch perfectly fine food. And somehow we have met up and now keep plenty of stuff out of local landfills.

One of our food bypass advocates made a request about a year ago. For one thing: a Barred Rock laying hen.

A pretty breed of bird, with the black and white pattern. Shown here with Rhode Island Reds.

Last year at this time we had a flock of almost ready to lay hens. We pulled one out, and off the bird went to a new home. The home of one of these great farm supporter, one that helps keep food out of the landfill.

And then, a few months passed. No eggs. And the bird started crowing. It had a big beautiful comb and oversized wattles. Our "we can't thank you enough for all you do for our farm" bird was a flop. No eggs from that bird!

The request has been made again. Could I bring a hen to this generous soul? 

This year, I believe we will scout out the biggest, healthiest looking bird just like we did last year. And then take the bird right next to it. And hope that this one produces actual and not annoyed neighbors!

Friday, January 9, 2015

each is different

We have a lot of dogs now. One hardly qualifies as a dog anymore: old, feeble, going deaf and blind, its all she can do to eat, go outside briefly, then back to sleep.

But Jasmine. Traded two chickens and a dozen eggs for her in a parking lot in Lancaster. They said she was a Jack Russell. She is not. At all.

She lives to chase things. Not to hurt them, but just to nip at heels and get things where she wants them. She has the heaviest, thickest coat of any of our dogs. She's the one who burned her fur but not her skin. And makes Claire sneeze, even though Claire is really allergic to cats and not any of our other dogs.

The school bus drives in front of our house most days. Mid-afternoon. If Jasmine sees the bus driving towards her she does her best to chase it down. At 3:15pm today she was quietly sitting, all be herself, in the front yard. In the sun, next to the tree, with ears up and an intense gaze up the road. I'm certain she has figured out how to tell time, and when that bus will zoom past she will run, at top speed, along the fence line trying to catch it.

None of the other dogs do this. While Chaz is barking every time a firecracker pops, Jasmine snoozes. When Luna is barking and fighting with the pigs over a stale loaf of bread, Jasmine is quietly ignoring her.

She is the most content dog I've ever known. Happy to see everyone. Rarely barks. Always looks like she's smiling. Not picky about anything. Not destructive. 

But if you are a big yellow school bus, watch out. She has learned to tell time and she is waiting to give chase.


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