ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY:   Reused, remade, recycled

© Another Day in the Country

Marion County has it’s recycling operation back — a little different, easier, and available. Good for you, county commissioners.

For us, in the outback of Ramona, without available recycling options; I’d started to put those recyclables back in the trash to be collected once a week. However, once having become aware of all that waste going into bin, there was this pang of regret every time. Here I was just throwing this reuseable thing away! “Oh, look at many cans I just threw away making chili!”

When we discovered that recycling was back and we could bring our reuseables into town — we rejoiced. How convenient! So, once again the boxes, the cans, the jars, the containers are saved for repurposing and I can look at the smaller and smaller bag of discardables going into a landfill somewhere.

This got me thinking about all the ways that something no longer suitable for its original purpose could be refitted to a new purpose.

My Aunt Bertha, third daughter in the A.G. Schubert line-up of nine kids, was a skilled seamstress. According to my mother, who was number seven of the Schubert siblings, she was also a fashion designer — someone who knew the latest look, the sharpest hair-do. She had this artistic flair!

By the time my mother was high-school age, her older sister was married, living in Ramona (vs. living in the country) so my mother often stayed in town overnight to help her sister with caring for her two youngsters. Furthermore, she was closer to school.

In turn, Bertha saw to it that Martha had suitable, even fashionable, outfits for school. Bertha made them out of reused suits and dresses. My mother loved these clothes! She was pleased and something old became something new. I like that kind of recycling — the generations past, took it for granted. If not a youngster’s clothes, suits, and dresses became quilts. If not quilts, then rags — no paper towels or Swiffers for them!

For me, this repurposing kind of recycling has become a habit — almost an obsession. You can’t just toss it. Old sheets become paint cloths to cover the floor, if nothing else, and, this year, they became ground cover in the garden, over which I applied mulch. They worked like a charm and if the chickens ruffled up the hay, the old sheets didn’t come to the surface and blow away like the newspapers I usually use.

The St. Luke Auxiliary Shoppe in town is a wonderful place for recycling. I remember when Judy Reno and friends dreamed up that idea for assisting the hospital, and what a wonderful resource it has become. It’s so much easier to clean out the closet and give away all those unused, outgrown, outfits when you know that they can be put to good use by someone else. Something you no longer use suddenly becomes someone else’s treasure!

Magazines seem to multiply at my house. I try to keep up, reading them as they come in the mail but sometimes that stack of unread reading material can get pretty high — depending on the level of activity between these four walls.

“Guess what’s going to recycling,” I mumbled, sorting through the magazines.

And then I got a bright idea. At the health club where I exercise, there’s a magazine rack and I noticed yesterday that it was looking pretty sparse.

“I’ll take these magazines to the club to share — they’re still current!”

For many years, I’ve had the luxury of having a massage table in my house. The sheets that I use on that table eventually become so oil-stained, no matter how much hot water and detergent you apply, that they have to be thrown away.

“What could I do with them?”

Ripped into squares, one of those sheets becomes a year’s worth of dust cloths and you don’t need any spray products to put on the furniture! Aha! I love finding ways to reuse things.

Like our ancestors before us, who knew the real value of an old flannel shirt, let’s not take for granted the wealth at our finger tips. Don’t throw that away, recycle it for something to be used on another day in the country.

 

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