Garbage & the Duck Pail

Approximate Reading Time: 3 minutes

This morning I woke up to the sounds of the dogs barking and the magpies squawking. When I looked out the window I saw that something had torn open a garbage bag and scattered the contents all over the place where we park our cars.

This is not a common occurrence and it took a little while to figure out what happened. It highlights one of the many ways in which rural life differs from urban life.

We’ve lived where we do for nearly 20 years and for most of that time we had NO garbage pick-up. That meant that EVERYTHING we threw out had to be taken to its final resting place by us – usually via a special trip (to the dump or to recycling). One time recently we even hired one of those ‘take your junk away for you’ companies. They brought out a 5-ton truck, which we filled in a matter of an hour or so. It cost us $600.00. For garbage.

Several years ago we came across an enterprising man who bought a garbage truck and then offered to come around to acreages like ours and pick up our garbage for a fee. He comes every two weeks. You’d be amazed how much that seems like a luxury. I am so grateful to this man, I give him semi-regular bonuses (made out to him personally of course) to let him know it is a big deal to us. I know he’s not getting rich doing this but I hope he continues to be willing to do it.

We have a container where we can place our garbage bags (which is ~4X4X6), but sometimes we end up with more garbage than will fit and end up leaving some sitting beside the bin rather than in it. Normally, this is not an issue and I am fairly careful to make sure I put the bags containing unhatched eggs, cooked bones, and so-on INSIDE the bin. This is mostly so that my own dogs don’t get into it.

The bag we left outside last night was from our Canada Day party. I treated it as I would any other bag that came from the kitchen, but it was different. Now, this is not meant in any way as a criticism of any of our guests – they were all very conscientious about putting their garbage in the bags.

So what was different about the garbage THIS time? Urban people and rural people seem to have a different view on what constitutes garbage.

People who live in the city routinely put edible things in the garbage and, as it turns out, we routinely don’t. All the food, melon rinds, etc. that were left on people’s plates got put in the garbage. Naturally.

Well, it’s actually not so natural. What WE do with all that left over stuff is FEED IT TO SOMEONE ELSE. All of our ‘food-garbage’ (with the exception of  cooked bones) goes in a pail (known around here as the Duck Pail). The contents of the Duck Pail (veggie cuttings, peels, bread crusts, plate scrapings, moldy bread, you name it) get taken out to the ‘yard’ every few days and simply emptied on the ground. Then the birds and the dogs take what they want. Much of it ends up getting recycled as meat & eggs. We typically don’t feed meat to the birds (feeding leftover chicken soup to the chickens is just WRONG if you ask me) so that often goes out to the dogs right away, leaving mostly non-meat stuff in the Duck Pail.

The thought that went through my head when I looked out on the driveway and saw all those melon rinds was MAN! Look at all that wasted food! The next thought was to make a mental note to tell our guests about the Duck Pail next time.

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