WASTE FOR SOME, GOLD FOR OTHERS
One of the interesting things about living an alternative life is that you come to value things that society in general considers worthless. The other day, as we were coming home we saw many piles of wood chips that a road crew had left on the side of our road only 1/2 kilometer from our homestead. A lot of trees have fallen in the past three months because of the extreme weather that we’ve had over the winter. Apparently the County sent out a crew not to just cut the logs but to chip them! It is a sign of our times when those in charge of these things decide to blast this precious resource with an expensive, wasteful gas powered, machine in order to deal with it. They left the chips at the side of the road on top of the snow filling the drainage ditches. When the snow melts those chips would be carried down the hill in the rush of water from the spring thaw and clog the stream. Why not instead, of cut the logs into smaller logs for people to pick up as firewood or to compost? This is a waste of public money when everyday we are confronted with cuts in the education and health care system. But we know a valuable natural resource when we see it. We will use these chips in many ways; as covering material for our 5 gallon toilet bucket, in the garden’s walkways to prevent the weed from growing and as bedding material on the floor of the chicken coop.
It took us 15 trips with our small car and trailer, to pick up and carry all these chips home! I called our local Home Hardware store, to check out how much wood shaving/wood chip cost at their store . A 10 liter bundle cost $4.69. In other words, we gathered, in about 8 hours, around 300 bundles of wood chips, for a value of $1,200.00. Of course, if we had bought a truckload of the same amount of woodchips, it would have cost less than buying small bundles. We would probably have paid between $300 and $500. We would have had to work 20 hours at $15.00/hr. in order to buy these chips, that is if we find the work and doing what? Spending all day inside in front of a computer? Or, we can say that we made between $15 to $60 per hour, considering that we were two people. Not bad for a day’s worth of work, outdoors, under no pressure but our own.