10 March 2011

Kicked to the Curb

This is what things were looking like this morning:



Last night we put out ten garbage cans/bags of yard matter for the city to take away. We've always planned to use all of our yard waste to make our own compost, and while we do have a couple of big piles brewing, there's no way we had the space to compost everything we've mowed, dug, or pulled out in the last couple of weeks, so it's nice to know the city will use it for the same green purpose.

But returning to the picture above...did you notice what's not there?

Before I even had a chance to call Habitat for Humanity, the fence pieces are gone! When I got home yesterday afternoon, an elderly gentleman was just walking back from our front door to his truck. It turned out that he wanted the pieces to reconstruct a chain link fence at his house down the street (where he has lived since 1967, by the way). He plans to remove the concrete bases with a sledgehammer, reuse the metal, and take the concrete out to his ranch as fill for a ditch he is trying to fill in. We were happy to load the posts and fencing into the truck for him and hear some of his wonderful stories about growing up in central Austin, when this neighborhood was still farm land.

We had put the pieces out at the curb hoping someone would take them to sell for scrap, so were thrilled that the fence (and even the concrete) was going to be given new life, and when we explained that the house was built with an eye toward recycling and energy-efficiency, he chuckled and told us about how his family was so poor that he and his brother grew up searching neighbors' trash for anything with metal in it that they could remove and sell. (It's nice that recycling has become so widespread -- not just for the poor, not just for hippies,....) He was also interested in the rest of the fence when we get to replacing the other panels, which was great news for us. He explained that,
if he makes it to Saturday, he'll be 88 years old...so I guess we better get on that fence in a hurry. (He also noted that he likes to find materials that he can reuse or turn into something, so he collects various things as he finds them, and he'll get to as many projects as he can.... I hope that, as I approach 90, I'll be equally at peace with, well, the deadline on my to-do list.)

So, with the fence pieces and a whole lot of yard waste gone, it's feeling a little more like a blank canvas. We have lots more to put into those lawn and leaf bags for pickup next week, and we need to attend to some other prep chores before our meeting with another landscaper on Monday (remove the crushed granite that has made up our front walkway since we moved in, plan out where our new walkway is going to go, figure out how we're going to deal with some grading issues, etc.). All in all, the ball is not only rolling but picking up speed.

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