Posted in Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Goals, Home, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Spirit, Walking & Wandering

Saturday chores

This could have been recycled
This could have been recycled

And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use.  And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried: “Look at this Godawful mess.”

~ Art Buchwald, 1970


On Saturdays, when the weather is nice and we haven’t declared it a Beach Day, M and I spend time on clean-up duty here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.  Today is so nice that we were tempted to hit the beach, but neither M nor I had any desire to get in the car.  The trip to the Bogs and back involved a lot of car time, as did yesterday’s running of the errands.  Because everything is Far Away, errands and shopping involve quite a bit of drive time.

It's not blue ice
It’s not blue ice

M revved up the Massey-Ferguson tractor this morning to help with a big clean-up job.  In the backyard, covered in thickets, we discovered a mini landfill of household trash.  Black plastic garbage bags were heaped there, and we thought it was just the usual everyday waste.  M started dragging it out with the tractor, and discovered there was more to it than the usual everyday rubbish.

Battered and rusted

As it turns out, there we cans of paint in and/or under some of those bags.  It’s a beautiful blue shade of paint, and might have looked nice in the house if they ever used it.  There were no blues on the walls or ceilings when we moved in.  Everything was in earth tones, mostly browns, oranges, and some reds.

Hanging out with the other trash
Hanging out with the other trash

As you can see, some of the paint ended up on the ground.  We did the best we could to sop up some of it.  The rest will have to wear away.

Frying pan.  I think we've found nearly a whole set of pots and pans by now.  Perhaps two sets.
Frying pan. I think we’ve found nearly a whole set of pots and pans by now. Perhaps two sets.

This afternoon we worked on dredging out the trash from under the deck.  It’s a project we put off.  We have a deadline now.  Shortly after the first of the year, another big renovation project will be started, and that involves the deck.  I’ll tell you more about it once it’s underway.

Part of the waste land.
Part of the waste land.

U.S. consumers and industry dispose of enough aluminum to rebuild the commercial air fleet every three months; enough iron and steel to continuously supply all automakers; enough glass to fill New York’s World Trade Center every two weeks.

~ Environmental Defense Fund advertisement, Christian Science Monitor, 1990

This is what plastic bags look like when they've aged outside.
This is what plastic bags look like when they’ve aged outside.

And so, the clean-up continues.  We still have tons of trash to pick up.  Because of that, we have decided we need to create a small dump area of our own.  It’s too expensive to have someone else pick it up and haul it away.  The cost in labor and landfill fees is high.  We’ve picked out a space where we hope none of the garbage will find its way into the ditches and creek.  Once we have it filled in with trash, we’ll cover it with nature’s discards, and then leave it for the thickets and trees to grow up and around it.  This way, it will all be in one place, and the next owner of this property might have the time and/or money to have it hauled away to the landfill.


That’s about it from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch for today.  Thank you for stopping by.  If you’d like to volunteer to help with the clean-up, we’ll be glad to accept, and will offer you food, drink, and friendship in return.

Take out
Take out

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Sometimes we find something we can use.
Sometimes we find something we can use, even if it is beat up a bit.

We must not be forced to explore the universe in search of a new home because we have made the Earth inhospitable, even uninhabitable.  For if we do not solve the environmental and related social problems that beset us on Earth — pollution, toxic contamination, resource depletion, prejudice, poverty, hunger — those problems will surely accompany us to other worlds.

~ Donald G. Kaufman and Cecilia M. Franz, Biosphere 2000: Protecting Our Global Environment, 1996



Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

26 thoughts on “Saturday chores

  1. Discouraging a bit. People used to drive by and dump trash out on the farm/along the road. What do they think happens to it all? Out of their life and into anothers’. We buried stuff – away from water sources (no recycling then).
    The mess is strangely beautiful when photographed – in real life, not so.
    New project? Hmmmm….


    1. I think that may be what was going on here, PhilosopherMouse. Although the previous owners did leave a lot of trash, I think some of it is older and may have been dumped when this was still a farm. I thought the same thing about the photos making the trash look oddly beautiful. It’s different on the screen than it is when I’m picking it up.


  2. We had a bit of acreage before we downsized. And we had it next to even more family property. Interesting….those who did not own our property felt no qualms about dumping trash and pieces of their own homes on our property. It was very disheartening. 😦 We would discover these piles as we walked for pleasure. Only to be displeasured at the trash others discarded.

    I love your quotes.


  3. Ugh…well, there’s an advantage to having it all in one place…someday you might have a little more carted away…and you’ll be able to tell the next owners exactly where you put it (and show them the photos!)… Maybe someday, LONG years from now, it’ll be some anthropologist’s treasure trove…
    But probably not.


    1. Probably not, Marie. There’s nothing particularly interesting in this trash. I keep hoping we’ll come upon a treasure of some kind as a reward for all our hard work. You never know. I hear tell there used to be pirates in these parts… 😉


  4. Mother Earth must be thankful to have you and M acting as stewards in that particular corner of the world. Yes, it’s discouraging and annoying to think about the trash in terms of what previous owners did/didn’t do, but when we frame this situation from the perspective of the earth itself, I’m sure the sun must be shining down on you, breathing a huge sigh of relief! “Finally, Robin and M are here!” 🙂


  5. I agree with the comment above… Mother Earth must be thanking you in droves right now. As sad as it is that some humans can’t seem to stop themselves on this matter, thank goodness there are those who try to help. I always carry a bag along my hikes to pick up whatever trash I can (and I know others who do the same) — because it can cause such harm to animals, especially the scattered and broken glass.

    Thanks so much for highlighting the topic in such an insightful and lovely way. Truly beautiful quotes.


  6. So sorry you have to deal with this, and the ignorance, stupidity, and sheer laziness that others decided to leave behind. While the photos are very interesting, this whole sort of thing just makes me angry. I’m not an angry person mind you, but some things just stick in my crawl and littering is one of them. I fail to understand what kind of awful human beings do these sorts of things. I’m a very accepting and tolerant person, but when people KNOW what they are doing is not the right thing, is damaging, etc… that tolerant and accepting person in me seems to disappear, as does a part of my human kindness for my fellow man. These people that do such things are the worst kinds of people to me, right up there with common criminals of all types. I have in my past confronted those who I have caught perpetrating such acts, and more often than not people apologised and put their rubbish in the correct place. A couple of times though, they were indignant and nasty, which resulted in very unkind words and threats, which ultimately led to me reporting them to law enforcement with proof of breaking the littering laws. I once even was at a nature preserve looking at a very large turtle and a 12 year old boy walks right up, pours mountain dew on its head and drops the bottle in the water on it. I pretty much lost it on the mother, ans she went to get the father who was very confrontational. By that time though police had arrived, and I was with a crowd of others who saw this happen. They were issued a 1,000 dollar fine, and banned from the preserve permanently.

    I have patience for lots of things, and understand that some don’t know better and that we all make mistakes, however mistakes are to be learned from. I get tired of seeing people do this, and I also get tired of so called “oudoor people” visiting what should be protected pristine lands, and leaving shit behind for me to haul out and throw away myself. If I had my way, the penalties for littering, illegal dumping….etc would be 100 times worse than what they are now and would include jail time. Unfortunately, as tolerant and accepting as I like to believe I am, I just simply do not wish to share this planet with some of them. People that do these kinds of things are one of those kinds. Another thing is to have meticulous property inspections, and when property changes hands if it is not cleaned up by the prior owner to certain standards, then the sale does not go through, OR the prior owner is charged to clean it up and fined. I suppose a system like that is just a pipe dream though. Anyway, enough of my “angry” rant. I wish you all the best in the clean up. If I was anywhere near by I would offer my help! At least you got some interesting photos out of it.


    1. Hi KJ. I’ve been considering your rant, and understand your anger. It angers me at times, too. It makes me sad, too, that people care so little for the earth that they’ll just throw their trash out the car or truck window.

      My husband and I did make a mistake when we bought this property in that we put in the offer (and hence, into the contract) that we would clean up the outside. We had no idea how bad it was, or how much trash was involved. We thought it would be a simple matter of cleaning out a couple of areas. It’s a lesson learned (to look more carefully, perhaps, so at least we’ll know exactly what we’re getting in to). None of this excuses those who dumped their trash all over the property. It’s a mentality here, a way of living, to “let nature take care of it.” I am surprised to find there are still people who think that way, who don’t know that nature can’t handle it all. And I am grateful that there are people who do know better, and who are willing to do the right thing, and who are willing to clean up after those who don’t know better or don’t care enough to know better.

      Thanks for stopping by and having your say. I appreciate your thoughts on the matter. 🙂


      1. Hey there Robin! Sorry for such the delay in responding. I just wanted to stop in and say thank you. I also hope you did not take my comments as directed towards you, as they were not. I hope that you can get this issue remedied without too much physical and / or financial impact. I also hope that through your blog, and our discussion, that we can at least have an impact on just 1 other person to change their way of thinking and / or living, and they will think before they litter or otherwise improperly discard something. Think about where it goes, where it ends up, and what impact it could potentially have on other people, animals, lives, the environment, and our mother earth. Keep up the great work! 🙂 KJ


        1. No problem, KJ. I know how busy life can be. And no worries about me taking your comment personally. I could tell you weren’t directing it towards me. Hopefully what you wrote will happen and at least one other person will change and stop the littering. 🙂


Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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