01 August 2011

Unconventional Recycling

Nature relies heavily on recycling the old to produce the new.  Just think about composting manure or the cycle of water from ground to cloud then back to the ground again.  I even learned the other day that there are vultures in Africa called Lammergeiers that eat bones.  Nature wastes nothing!  While we've got the manure thing covered with our myriads of animals, recycling for us typically goes beyond just returning our tin cans or stringing together our milk jugs to take to the nearest recycling station.
We have a once stately old barn that was beyond our ability to repair when we bought our house.  The small holes in the roof became gaping holes in the roof and it ruined the wood beneath as rain and snow leaked in.  Still, it would have been a shame to waste such beautiful wood.  So we didn't.
 The horses still needed somewhere to get out of the wind and cold and since the barn wasn't an option, Jack did what he does best and built them a shelter using a majority of wood and siding taken from the barn.
That doesn't mean they always use it, but it's there in case they do want to.
We also used pieces of barn in our house.  With a little planing, sanding and varnish, the barn wood made beautiful shelves to compliment the former exterior siding of the original house.
All 40 of our hens and the rooster Derek were "recycled."  First they were production hens, then used for West Nile detection by ISU, then were retired to our home to keep the bug population in check and produce waaaaay more eggs than we could ever eat.  Thank goodness we had lots of people to share with.  Also, while they were around, I never felt bad tossing out any stale food.  They'd gobble it right up and turn it into those delicious, hearty eggs.

Our tree limbs come in handy too.  If we're not dragging them over to the bonfire pit, sometimes they serve other purposes.  I was feeling a bit adventurous the other day and used a fallen log as a jump.


 Granted, it was barely a ten inch jump but Stoney is getting old and I'm losing my nerve...it was plenty big for us!  We're out of practice!

Then it made a lovely bench for an impromptu photo of Jack and our daughters.

My point is that there are tons of ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.  Granted it may take more time or energy on our part but more often than not, it saves on money and waste.  We still do some conventional-type recycling (Iowa is one of the states that pays per can to recycle which is pretty good motivation to at least take your cans back!) but most of our "recycling" is of a different nature.  Waste not, want not, right?!

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